This article is taken from the Charlotte Business Journal, dated 7th November 2019.
As a law student at Duke University, Tom Gorman aspired to large law firm litigation. But long waits in courtrooms between hearings — and last-minute settlements without opportunities to present cases to judges and juries — led him to transactional law instead.
After a few years at large law firms, a desire to connect with clients prompted him to strike out on his own.
“I enjoyed face-to-face interactions with clients, which was lacking in the large firms. I wanted to get to know my clients and give individuals and business owners real advice instead of working with them on one single issue being litigated,” said Gorman.
Now in its 32nd year, Charlotte-based Gorman & Associates, P.A., helps clients with commercial real estate, corporate and business matters, wills, estate planning, trusts and estate administration, and asset protection. A recipient of Martindale-Hubbell’s top award for client-reviewed law firms for six consecutive years, Gorman & Associates recently joined the international IR Global Network as well, thereby allowing the firm to help clients internationally.
Gorman attributes the firm’s success to working side by side with clients and other advisors like accountants and bankers. “Being a business owner myself, I understand the importance of setting up the proper legal entity and collaborating with your professionals rather than working against them,” he said.
One example Gorman gave was of the business owner buying an office building or condominium unit, but checking with their banker first to see what he or she could afford, and then checking with their accountant to determine the best structure for tax purposes. “When these folks come to us having done their homework, it makes our job much easier, and it takes the guesswork out of the equation,” Gorman added.
Gorman & Associates has worked with First Citizens Bank for the past six years, both as a customer itself and on behalf of its clients. “There are many people at the bank we can refer clients to who we know will take good care of them, in all of the different banking and wealth management areas,” Gorman said.
Whether Gorman’s team is setting up a trust or closing a real estate purchase, they get prompt, professional service from First Citizens Bank, he said. First Citizens’ bankers will often drop off signature cards for clients that need to open accounts, for example. His firm can quickly get bankers on the phone for assistance, a personal touch often lost in today’s digital business environment.
“When you’re disbursing large amounts of money, and money is quickly coming in and going out, you need a partner who can help you in the special circumstances that occasionally come up,” Gorman said.
Once, Gorman recalled, First Citizens placed a hold on a bank check that a client had deposited. But First Citizens lifted the hold and released the funds to the client after Gorman’s firm called to explain that it was a bank check, not a personal check.
Gorman also appreciates how loan officers from First Citizens Bank attend commercial real estate closings and assist in the transaction’s completion — for example, by double-checking all closing documentation for accuracy.
Many lenders don’t send representatives. If they do, the representative often is powerless to quickly make last-minute corrections.
“It amazes me how many times we deal with a lender whose loan officer is unavailable during the closing, their documents are wrong, and the client gets upset,” Gorman said. “The extra attention to detail and having their loan officers attend closings were the first things that attracted me to First Citizens.”
Gorman & Associates clients notice and appreciate how smoothly closings go. “The whole process was seamless, well communicated and stress-free,” Megan Lundin wrote in a client review of the firm. “I felt thoroughly informed and well taken care of from start to finish.”
The attorney who once aspired to big-firm litigation has come to appreciate helping clients with their needs. Gorman said, “It’s tremendously gratifying to get to personally know all of our clients, and work with all types of people throughout the world, in all types of businesses and all walks of life.”