Alessandro Apolito is the new partner in Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman’s trust and estate practice group. He focuses on estate planning, probate, trust and guardianship litigation, representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? My parents encouraged me to pursue more education after college. I took two years off after college to mature and determine if law school was really what I wanted. I worked in legal research and publishing in New York City. My interaction with lawyers, law librarians and the law solidified my desire to go to law school.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? Like many students interested in the law, I majored in political science and history. My undergraduate classes gave me an appreciation for the rule of law. I saw how important following and changing the law were to our history and society.
How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that? I primarily practice in the area of trusts and estates. When I started, like many associates, the practice area chose me when a former partner asked me to help him with his practice. I grew to love the planning portion of the work because I was able to add value to people without being in an adversarial situation. I later expanded my practice to probate, trust and guardianship litigation because there seemed to be a growing need.
What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar? Since I started in this practice area in 2014, the estate tax exclusion has increased every year, which has really given me the opportunity to help more clients.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law? Blended families without proper estate planning will continue to drive probate, trust and guardianship.
If I could change anything in the legal system, I would: Reduce the cost of litigation for clients. Litigation can be so expensive that it can actually prevent people from pursuing their rights.
What community service have you pursued and why that? Through my involvement with the Young Lawyers Section of the Jacksonville Bar Association, I have helped our organization benefit several charities in Northeast Florida. As chair of the Chili Cook-Off, we donated to Friends of Jacksonville Animals, Community Connections of Jacksonville, Anthony J. Stinson Association for Change and Rethreaded.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? While developing the skills to become a competent lawyer, make sure you are developing your own relationships with clients, lawyers and potential referral sources. These types of relationships will mean opportunities and independence later on in your career. Without these relationships, your mobility in this career could be limited.