This week, we’re excited to feature another law firm from the PracticePanther community – Great Lakes Family Probate & Estates! The firm is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and is owned by partners Kimberly Browning and Chrisitina Lejkowski. Great Lakes Family Probate & Estates prides itself on providing clear communication, prompt service and sound solutions for their clients’ legal matters. Clients have praised both Kimberly and Christina for their responsiveness, compassion, and proactiveness. 

About the Attorneys

Kimberly Browning focuses her practice on estate planning and elder law. She has assisted a variety of clients including trustees, beneficiaries, heirs, and more. Kimberly is passionate about building personal connections with her clients and providing pragmatic legal representation that is both cost effective and meets her clients individual goals. Kimberly has been a licensed attorney for 9 years and has over 20 years of experience in the legal industry. She was recently recognized as Best Lawyers “One to Watch” in 2021 and belongs to a variety of legal professional organizations in Michigan.

Christina Lejkowski has over a decade of experience providing legal representation in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration, and family law. She is known for being compassionate and a true advocate for her clients. Specifically, those clients with elder law, special needs law or asset protection matters. Christina was recognized as Super Lawyers Magazine, “Rising Star” 3 years in a row and is a member of a variety of legal professional organizations in Michigan. She has authored two publications for LACHES, an Oakland Bar Association publication. 

Why did you become a lawyer?

Kimberly: I have always loved the law. My father was a police officer and my mother a paralegal. We would discuss politics and the law regularly. I enjoy being challenged and the sense of accomplishment each day. Being an attorney requires problem solving, juggling multiple commitments and team management. The work is intellectually challenging and accomplishes a goal of providing insights and solutions to people’s problems. Practicing law is intrinsically rewarding.

Advice you would give to lawyers?

Christina: Although perceived as purely adversarial, the legal profession is actually composed of many truly kind-hearted individuals who are very willing to assist one another while advocating zealously for their clients. 

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received as a lawyer? 

Kimberly: I once worked for a lawyer who had been practicing estate planning for many years. Naturally he had his form trusts and powers of attorney documents. In reviewing these, I had suggested revisions. The senior lawyer would not permit any changes to his documents. He would say, “I’ve done it this way for 35 years and it works.” While taking the approach “if it isn’t broken, don’t change it” may be appropriate for the Coca-Cola formula, laws change frequently and lawyers should be progressive. Collaboration among lawyers promotes innovation, efficient processes and increased success. Additionally, without adaptation, lawyers will find themselves just servicing clients, not serving them. 

Looking back 5 years, what would you have told yourself?

Christina: You never know what the future has in store for you and your colleagues. Relationship building will truly pay off when the unforeseen and unpredictable pandemic arrives.  Your colleagues will be some of your greatest allies. Remain positive and appreciative for the relationships you have built and the experience you have acquired.

How has technology changed Great Lakes Family Probate & Estates and how you interact with your clients?

Kimberly & Christina: Great Lakes Family Probate & Estates has been a member of the PracticePanther community since 2020 and we’ve enjoyed the ease of use it has provided to manage our practice. We currently use PracticePanther to easily integrate our calendar, contacts, matters, billing and payment processing. 

The task management tools, like custom workflows, have allowed us to better track the progress of our work. We can easily manage tasks for billing, when events are scheduled and payments processing in one platform. This feature along with real time notifications have eliminated miscommunication among our team without actually finding time to meet internally, allowing us to stay focused on client work. 

PracticePanther also integrates well with our website. Clients have the ability to directly enter their contact information and requests through the use of online questionnaires. They can also securely pay invoices and electronically sign documents in just a few. 

To learn more about PracticePanther and take advantage of the same amazing benefits Kimberly and Christina have at Great Lakes Family Probate & Estates, you can schedule a custom demo.