Who We Are
Founded in 2001, Gadsden Schneider & Woodward LLP concentrates its practice in estate planning, trust and estate administration, trust and estate litigation, charitable gift planning and related areas of tax and personal and fiduciary law. The three founding partners, Chris Gadsden, Pam Schneider, and Steve Woodward were joined in 2006 by a fourth partner, Tracy Blake DeVlieger, with expertise in the trust and estate field. Two other attorneys, Judi Sprague, special counsel to the firm, and Ben Rodgers, associate, complete the current complement of the firm’s attorneys.
Gadsden Schneider & Woodward combines the sophisticated legal skills of a national or global law firm with the intimacy, informality and attentiveness to client needs that is characteristic of smaller firms. Our attributes include:
Experience and Extraordinary Expertise. The firm’s four partners average more than twenty-five years of experience in estate planning and fiduciary matters. Three are fellows of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Only a small handful of other Pennsylvania law firms can claim to have as many members of this prestigious organization in their ranks. Chris is a past chair of the Probate and Trust Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association, past co-chair of the National Conference of Lawyers and Corporate Fiduciaries and a former instructor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Pam is a past chair of the Section on Real Property, Probate and Trust Law of the American Bar Association, a past member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a nationally-known expert on federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes and is an adjunct professor in the Masters of Tax program at New York University’s School of Law. Steve is a co-author of the most highly regarded treatise on the Pennsylvania Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code. Tracy was Chair of the Estates and Trusts Department at her previous firm and is an active member of the Executive Committees of the Philadelphia Bar Association Section on Probate and Trust Law.
- Concentration of Practice Area. The strategic focus of a large multi-practice law firm may be directed to the needs of its larger departments, such as litigation and corporate finance. By contrast our firm focuses all of its energies in the areas of estate planning, trust and estate administration and litigation, charitable gift planning and related tax and fiduciary matters. Our lawyers are in regular contact with counterparts throughout the country and they stay abreast of all developments in the field.
- Direct Contact. Clients of Gadsden Schneider & Woodward work closely with one or more of the partners, who are directly responsible for the work. At times the partner may be assisted by an associate lawyer or paralegal, but the primary contact for the client will be the partner, unless the client requests otherwise.
- Innovative and Client-Focused. Most of our clients do not want to be handed a lengthy menu of estate planning techniques. They want their estate planning lawyer to listen carefully to their situation, sift through the available techniques and present to them the strategies that are suitable and appropriate for their needs. We pride ourselves on being good listeners who are not only knowledgeable about both the traditional and “cutting edge” approaches to estate planning but also extremely innovative in customizing those techniques to the particular circumstances of our clients. In estate planning, we believe that one size does not fit all.
- Independence. We provide totally independent legal advice. We do not sell products and we do not profit from referrals to other lawyers or other financial service professionals. Our independence assures that our recommendations to clients are based solely on their needs and interests. When our clients need an attorney in another practice area such as real estate or business law, we can provide referrals to other lawyers we know and trust. We have a broad range of choices for these referrals because we are not aligned with or tied to a specific firm. We are free to select the attorney who is best suited for our client’s needs in a particular situation.
- Responsiveness. The bureaucratic wheels of a large organization can sometimes grind slowly. We are not encumbered by a structure that requires excessive delegation or reassignment of tasks. We can act quickly and provide our clients with prompt service. We also emphasize frequent communication with a client about the progress we are making on his or her project.
- Long-term Relationships. In a large number of instances we have represented our clients or members of their family for many years. We enjoy these long-term, multi-generational relationships and we believe that our clients benefit from the continuity and familiarity that we can bring to their estate planning.