Blank Rome Continues Growth in New York with Addition of Top Trusts and Estates Team
Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that Richard J. Miller, Jr. and Sean R. Weissbart have joined the Firm as Partners, along with additional professional staff, in its Tax, Benefits, and Private Client group. They are based in the Firm’s New York office, which relocated last week to 1271 Avenue of the Americas after 40 years in the Chrysler Building. The group joins from one of New York’s oldest law firms, Morris & McVeigh LLP, where Rich previously served as managing partner. Morris & McVeigh, which will wind down, was formed in 1862 under the name of Henry Lewis Morris. Originally, the firm was primarily engaged in managing the real estate interests of the Morris family, which owned large portions of Morrisania, and it also represented prominent New York families. It gradually enlarged its practice through the years, offering comprehensive legal services to individual and corporate clients, both foreign and domestic, and various nonprofit organizations and foundations.
Rich and Sean bring extensive experience in estate planning services, including probate and estate administration; trust administration; estate and trust litigation; nonprofit matters; matrimonial matters; and domestic and cross-border income, estate, and gift taxation.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rich, Sean, and the team to our Firm,” said Grant S. Palmer, Blank Rome’s Managing Partner and CEO. “They have built strong reputations as respected trusts and estates attorneys who clients turn to again and again. Rich and Sean bring tremendous depth to our team, and their arrival continues our substantial growth across our Firm’s offices and practices in 2019.”
“For years, Rich and Sean have been providing meticulous and tailored advice to clients in need of sophisticated tax and legal counsel,” stated Joseph T. Gulant, Co-Chair of Blank Rome’s Business Department. “Together, they bring valuable experience to not only our Tax, Benefits, and Private Client group, but also to our Business Department as a whole, offering tremendous legal talent across numerous growing practice areas.”
“Rich and Sean are a terrific addition to our national trusts and estates team,” added Lawrence S. Chane, Co-Chair of Blank Rome’s Tax, Benefits, and Private Client group, and head of the Firm’s Private Client team. “Their combined, extensive experience will further enhance our team’s top-tier counsel to clients on all aspects of estate planning, including business planning, estate and trust administration, and tax litigation, and allow us to further expand on our well-established service offerings and capabilities.”
Rich focuses his practice on trusts and estates planning, tax, and the administration, litigation, and representation of cultural institutions. His practice encompasses all matters of sophisticated wealth transfer tax planning and administration for individuals, families, and organizations. In addition to his practice, Rich is active in the legal community, frequently lecturing on tax and estate-related matters. He is a member of numerous bar associations and committees, including the Surrogate’s Court Advisory Committee, and has been an adjunct professor of law at Albany Law School as well as a member of the Judicial Screening Committee for the Third Department. He is also a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a nonprofit association of trusts and estates lawyers peer-elected to membership based upon contributions to the field of trusts and estates law.
Outside of his legal work, Rich is the President of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and an Advisory Director of the Metropolitan Opera. He also serves on numerous volunteer boards and organizations, including the Bagby Foundation for the Musical Arts, Inc., and the International Festival of Aix-en-Provence, and is a former Board Member of the Emma Willard School and the American Associates of the Royal Academy. In 1998, Rich was appointed Chairman of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center Corporation by Governor Pataki, and is a former Commissioner of the New York State Canal Recreationway Commission.
“Blank Rome has an extraordinary reputation, particularly in areas that will be of tremendous benefit to our clients, like matrimonial and family law, tax, and white collar defense,” said Rich. “In addition, it is exciting to see the Firm’s ongoing strategic expansion in New York and across the country. This growing national platform and deep bench of accomplished attorneys from coast to coast will help us expand our practices in significant ways.”
Sean practices in the areas of trusts and estates and tax-exempt organizations, with a focus on domestic and international estate planning, the administration of trusts and estates, and representation of beneficiaries and fiduciaries in contested matters in Surrogate's Court. He counsels tax-exempt organizations on matters ranging from formation and obtaining of tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service to complying with state and federal tax-exemption laws and the avoidance of excise taxes and the unrelated business income tax. He has also litigated against the Internal Revenue Service in the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Sean is also an adjunct professor of law at both New York University School of Law, where he teaches Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates, and Fordham University School of Law, where he teaches Trusts and Estates Drafting. Additionally, he is a regular faculty member of major trusts and estates conferences, including the Hawaii Tax Institute, the New York State Bar Association’s Spring and Fall Meetings, and the Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute. Sean publishes scholarly and practice-driven articles in leading journals, and is slated to co-author a law school textbook on Subchapter J of the Internal Revenue Code. He serves on the boards of various philanthropic organizations, including as General Counsel to the Ment'or BKB Foundation, an organization that sponsors the American team at the Bocuse d'Or (a biannual culinary competition in France), and as Chair of the “NextGen” Trusts and Estates Committee of the UJA Federation of New York. Sean has been awarded the "Justice Award" by MFY Legal Services for his contributions to pro bono legal services in New York City.
Since January 1, 2019, Blank Rome’s New York office has added Mitchell M. Brand and Harris J. Diamond as partners in the Finance, Restructuring, and Bankruptcy group; Michael Peskowitz and Lauren Scarantino as partners and Michael Denci as an associate in the Real Estate group; Jeffrey Cohen as a partner in the Corporate group; Mara Levin as a partner in the Labor and Employment group; and Rachel Cohn as an associate in the Corporate Litigation group.