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Edward Beckwith says representing wealthy individuals and their families is like serving as their general counsel. As opposed to drafting a will or a traditional estate plan, Beckwith says he and his colleagues at Baker & Hostetler serve “a number of families that have matters ongoing continuously or on a regular basis so that we are involved in an advisory, if not a primary, role in a wide range of legal matters.” That involves, among other things, writing trusts, advising on tax issues, and arranging charitable gifts. Beckwith, 55, started working in trusts and estates as an associate at the D.C. office of what was then Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Kampelman. There, he worked with Patricia Roberts Harris, who soon left to become secretary of housing and urban development in President Jimmy Carter’s administration. That left Beckwith � just two and a half years after his 1974 graduation from Georgetown University Law Center � in charge of the firm’s trusts and estates practice in the District. After spending seven and a half years at Fried, Frank, Beckwith left the firm to join Baker & Hostetler’s D.C. office, where he is a partner. Baker & Hostetler had a fully developed national trusts and estates practice, Beckwith says. Beckwith appreciates the “multifaceted” components of trusts and estates, where “the facts and the law are constantly changing.” The tax codes change dramatically on a regular basis, he says, and his clients’ situations are always different. Beckwith’s colleagues in the field admire his expertise on the philanthropic side of estate planning. Advising and guiding clients who are new to philanthropy is particularly “gratifying,” Beckwith says. Beckwith has the ability to transform complex legal issues into “ways that mere mortals like me can understand,” says John Evans, a client, as well as president and CEO of Evans Telecommunications and founder of the John D. Evans Foundation. Evans, who is also a co-founder of C-SPAN and a resident of Key West, Fla., turned to Beckwith for estate planning, legal advice for the family, and the formation of a charitable organization. Evans and Beckwith have known each other since the 1980s. Beckwith, he says, has helped him handle his wealth in a variety of ways, including how to transfer assets to family members and his charitable foundation. “Ed helps me to think through the ethical as well as the responsible ways of being a good steward of the assets that have been entrusted to me in my lifetime,” Evans says. Beyond serving his clients, Beckwith is a fellow and regent of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He is a past chair of its Philanthropy Study Committee and of the Charitable Planning Exempt Organizations Committee, and the immediate past state chair for the District of Columbia. He regularly lectures continuing legal education classes in the trusts and estates area throughout the country. He founded and runs Georgetown University’s Advanced Estate Planning Institute, a two-day seminar for lawyers and allied professionals such as trust officers, accountants, financial planners, and insurance professionals. “Experience is certainly one of his greatest assets,” says Lawrence Center, the head of Georgetown’s continuing legal education programs.

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