For Jason Salomon, an attorney with the trusts estate and personal planning service team of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP, the kinetic needs of his clients and the challenges turned into opportunities keep him involved and excited on a daily basis.
“I enjoy that,” he said. “I like the interaction. It changes every day; no set of circumstances are ever the same and you’re closer to the client.”
The White Station High School graduate completed his undergraduate degree in engineering at Georgia Tech and worked in the Nashville office of EnSafe Inc. as an engineer for a year after graduation. His plans all along involved going back to law school to become an environmental attorney. He did attend the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, but, he said, “things change and I got into more of a general practice.”
While in law school, he had taken a great interest in his probate, and trust and estates classes. Upon graduating in 2000, his first job was with Gregory & Gregory, where he was able to do a good bit of probate work that led into estate planning.
From there, he worked with his own practice for a while, an experience that “was more of a roller coaster,” he said. “Some months are great and some months are horrible; there’s not a whole lot of consistency.”
For a more even keel, he joined Williams, McDaniel, Wolfe & Womack PC, which merged with Wyatt Tarrant in September.
“If you think about it, in the last four to five years, I’ve gone from being in an office of one to an office of 60 in a law firm of 200 attorneys,” he said. “It’s still the same practice, but it’s just a different setting and a different way of doing things.”
With the larger firm and more attorneys, the resources have grown as well, and there is advantage there for both Salomon and the clients. “There’s no comparison,” he said. “Under this one roof, I can walk into anybody’s door and ask them questions about bankruptcy, any kind of transaction, business law; the estate planning and the probate is just a part of what they do here.”
Tracing its history back to 1812, Wyatt Tarrant is one of the oldest and largest firms in the Southeast, with more than 200 attorneys in six offices throughout four states.
“If you think about it, in the last four to five years, I’ve gone from being in an office of one to an office of 60 in a law firm of 200 attorneys. It’s still the same practice.”
As the firm evolves, so does Salomon’s area of law, whether because of current legal and economic trends or the political landscape. Salomon’s days are full of keeping up to the minute with such changes and seeing that his clients’ needs are met with regard to such changes. He receives daily e-mails as to what is new in his field.
“It used to be that a lot of the estate planning was geared towards tax planning, inheritance and estate planning, and that was what led the charge, if you will,” Salomon said. “Nowadays, with the federal exemption being higher and the Tennessee inheritance tax is slowly going away, you don’t see as much focus on the inheritance tax or the death taxes. You see a lot of focus on family planning, a lot of focus on asset protection for bankruptcies, judgments, divorces – kind of holding the money and protecting it as long as possible. So I think you see a shift in the focus, perhaps, but it’s still a real viable area of the law.”
It’s an area of the law that keeps Salomon in constant contact with his clients. He enjoys meeting with young couples in the first stages of their careers and family who may need advice as they start out. “Keep it simple,” he tells them. “All they need is a basic estate plan; they don’t need a complex plan. … It’s important to have a basic will, have powers of attorney, health care powers.”
Salomon is married to Kayla, a social worker with Shelby County Schools, and has three children: Aaron, 14; Batya, 12; and Ahava, 9. He volunteers with organizations such as Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, the Boy Scouts of America and Temple Israel, and provides pro bono work through Memphis Area Legal Services.