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VOL. 123 | NO. 36 | Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cox Named to Glankler Brown Firm Management Committee

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Name: Kevin C. Cox
Position: Member
Firm: Glankler Brown PLLC
Basics: Cox recently was appointed to Glankler Brown's firm management committee.
Position: Member
Firm: Glankler Brown PLLC
Basics: Cox recently was appointed to Glankler Brown's firm management committee.

Kevin C. Cox has been named to the firm management committee of Glankler Brown PLLC.

Cox concentrates his practice in the areas of business transactions, estate planning, trust, probate, taxation and general business law. Cox has a bachelor's degree in corporate finance and a master of business administration degree, in addition to law and master of laws degrees.

He recently talked about the business of helping manage a law firm, a law practice built on businesses that change through acquisitions and sales and why courts run on calendars instead of clocks.

Q: Where did you attend undergraduate and law school?

A: Undergraduate was at the University of Alabama. Law school was at Memphis State University - the last graduating class at what was Memphis State. Then I got a master of laws, a post-graduate law degree comparable to an MBA, in tax from Washington University in St. Louis.

Q: What is the biggest challenge today in the area of business law?

A: I suppose it's trying to distinguish yourself from others in the field and trying to represent clients that are acquiring other businesses rather than selling their own. If your best clients are selling their businesses, which often happens when they reach retirement age and don't have a family member to pass the business off to, you sometimes lose a client when they sell. Sometimes you are able to maintain a local relationship with the buyer, particularly if the buyer is from out of town.

If you are on the acquisition side and your client is aggressively expanding, then you are expanding your practice just the same because each time they make another acquisition you are typically able to expand your practice and assist in each acquisition. We assist not only in acquisition but in tax planning and family transition and all aspects. Generally, our clients in the business area of this law firm are a small- to medium-sized family business.

Q: What is involved in firm management?

A: We have a system that is split into three groups of seniority of the partners. From each group is selected a representative in management. I happen to be in the youngest group. In my group we are represented by one member on the management committee. The middle group has two and the most senior group has three. Within that, the management committee selects a managing member. Then, generally, we have periodic meetings and address issues that the greater group of the firm doesn't want to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Q: What should people who don't practice law know about our legal system?

A: A business transaction or an estate planning matter or a probate matter generally takes a lot more time and effort than people recognize on the front end. Sometimes that time delay is frustrating to the client. Most of the delays aren't the result of attorneys but for some other reason. The attorney is the one uncovering the aspects that result in the delay. So, it's not necessarily our fault but we get blamed for a lot of the delays because we won't allow a transaction to proceed unless it's done properly. Often times, particularly in a transaction, we're blamed for holding up the transaction when in reality we just want to be sure our clients are represented properly. Most clients say that jokingly, but they always sort of tongue-in-cheek say, "We've got to get the attorneys involved, so there's going to be a big delay."

For example, on a probate matter people often are concerned about the delay that probate causes when actually it's typically the federal and state tax proceedings that cause the most delay in a typical large estate. It's not the fact that you have to go down to probate or that the Probate Court's involved. The Probate Court facilitates the process as much as anything. The delays come in the tax proceedings primarily. It's often a delay in state and federal tax departments reviewing the returns and things like that in larger estates. Other matters that typically can cause delay or complications in a probate matter are creditor claims or complicated business matters that the decedent may have been involved in.

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