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Billionaire sports franchise owners, pro athletes with multimillion-dollar contracts, and Fortune 500 executives have all turned to Holland & Knight partner Alban Salaman for their estate planning and administration needs. Salaman counts among his clients Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the Washington Capitals hockey team, as well as professional basketball player Dikembe Mutombo. For Brian Ourand, vice president of SFX Sports Group, a sport management company, one of Salaman’s virtues is his accessibility. “If I need something quickly, he’s never that far behind,” Ourand says. Salaman advises Ourand on his personal estate planning and represents several of SFX’s professional athlete clients. SFX manages the athletes’ business and financial affairs. Salaman understands the famous and wealthy clientele, Ourand says. “You’ve got to be low-key, professional, very private,” Ourand says. Other colleagues tout Salaman’s knowledge of the complicated tax law and his interaction with the firm’s clients. About 10 years ago, Ernst & Young tax partner Richard Larsen was impressed with a talk Salaman gave at a local bar association meeting. Since then, he has referred several of his clients to Salaman to take care of their estate planning. “The best thing I like about him is he can combine both the technical issues” with the practical part, which is relating to the client, Larsen says. Salaman, 54, says he prefers to think of his clients as practically family. “When I write letters to people, I think, ‘Will my parents understand this letter?’ “ Salaman graduated from Temple University School of Law and received his master’s of law in taxation at New York University School of Law in 1975. After law school, he taught tax law and estate planning to insurance agents at the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., and also worked as a staff attorney for the Internal Revenue Service. He ultimately was promoted to assistant branch chief in the Chief Counsel and Interpretative Division, which no longer exists. In 1983, he began a 10-year tenure at now-defunct Melrod, Redman & Gartlan in the District, where he started his estate planning practice. He then joined Holland & Knight, where he is currently chair of the firm’s mid-Atlantic region private wealth services practice. Salaman says the early days of his practice, when his clients were not celebrities or multimillionaires, provided good training for his now enviable client base. The wealthy and the not-so-wealthy have similar questions about their families’ welfare, Salaman says. The real differences surface with the number of planning opportunities available to the wealthier clients. There are more techniques available for them to save tax dollars, he says. Salaman is a member of the D.C. Estate Planning Council and sits on the board of directors for the local chapter of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, an Israeli charity that conducts medical and scientific research. Of all the benefits the work carries, Salaman says it is the close interaction with clients that endears him to the practice most. “It’s not a check-the-box practice,” he says. “It’s more of a taking-care-of-the-clients practice.”

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