Attorneys

Jeffrey H. Lerman, Managing Partner

One of the things clients say they most appreciate about Mr. Lerman is his ability to take complex legal concepts and information, synthesize it and present it in a way that allows an investor to make a good decision quickly. Mr. Lerman handles acquisitions and sales, entity formation, syndication, commercial leases, loan documents, construction documents, loan work-outs and litigation. Mr. Lerman frequently lectures on various real estate and litigation topics, has written numerous articles and has been featured in national news.

Michelle C. Lerman, Partner

Michelle C. Lerman is at the forefront of current developments in estate planning design strategies. A highly sought-after speaker in the community, Ms. Lerman has been helping clients with their estate planning needs for more than 20 years. She serves on many boards and mentors upcoming attorneys as well. At ease on the air or in the courtroom, Michelle C. Lerman has helped hundreds of clients in the Bay area with her creative solutions and solid advice about estate planning.

Philip R. Diamond, Of Counsel

Philip R. Diamond has over 30 years of experience in all phases of civil litigation and appellate work in state and federal courts, with extensive jury and trial experience. Over the years, Mr. Diamond's diverse civil litigation practice has included commercial and securities litigation, product liability, professional liability (including medical, legal, architectural and engineering malpractice and insurance brokers' errors and omissions), employment law, real estate and construction law, insurance coverage and bad faith claims, and general and toxic tort litigation. Mr. Diamond has represented some of the nation's largest product manufacturers and insurance companies. Mr. Diamond is also a mediator in all areas of civil litigation, through Diamond Dispute Resolution.

Karolyn P. Poppin, Of Counsel

Attorney Karolyn P. Poppin has over 14 years of experience in all phases of estate planning, trust and probate law. She has helped couples and families create personal estate plans, represented trustees and executors in administering estates, and has litigated trust and estate cases on behalf of beneficiaries and trustees. Before joining Lerman Law Parters, Ms. Poppin was an associate in the San Francisco office of Nixon Peabody LLP, an international law firm with a nation-wide trust and estates group, and was appointed by the San Mateo County Superior Court to the panel of Court Appointed Independent Counsel to represent conservatees (persons subject to conservatorships). Ms. Poppin brings a client centered approach to her work.

2016 has been a busy year for Michelle with speaking engagements throughout California nearly every few weeks talking about taxes, philanthropy and new estate planning strategies. The Jewish Community Federation of Northern California invited Michelle as a panelist on September 22nd for their Day of Philanthropy, an annual all-day tax conference attended by over 450 people. Michelle spoke to CPAs, attorneys and financial advisors about Life Stages of Giving, explaining estate planning strategies for charitable giving.

An international organization, Israel Bonds, also invited Michelle as a panelist at their Golda Meir Circle luncheon at the Los Angeles Four Season’s Hotel on November 9th. Her fellow panelists included Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Amy Ziering, the first female CEO ranked in the research industry’s top 25, Shelley Zalis, and casting director, Orly Schedker, who is currently co-casting the new Star Trek series for CBS. The panel, discussing "The Power of Women: The Now Generation," inspired women to reach their highest potential in their chosen careers. Michelle was also invited by the Cancer Support Community of Los Angeles to present two estate planning talks at the Benjamin Center in Los Angeles in the summer of 2016, one about estate planning basics and one advanced seminar explaining charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts and other means of accomplishing charitable goals thru estate planning.

In addition to leading the monthly mentor group meetings for the Marin County Bar Association office (which she has been doing for 15 years) and her other talks educating attorneys, CPAs and financial advisors, this year Michelle reached out to her local Marin community, leading 10 estate planning workshops explaining strategies such as QTIPable trusts, Dynasty Trusts and IRA Beneficiary Trusts. Michelle was also invited to speak at five New Focus Financial Group Seminars on retirement planning. This year, Michelle was also invited to join the Board of Directors of Congregation Kol Shofar, where she continues to chair the Legacy Circle. Visit her website www.myestateplancenter.com for video and written testimonials from Michelle’s clients.

Valerie G. Kushel, Associate Attorney

Valerie assists clients in basic and advanced estate planning and trust administration matters. Prior to joining Lerman Law Partners, Valerie was a litigator at one of the largest U.S. law firms and worked in the areas of healthcare consulting and human resources. Valerie earned her Masters of Laws in taxation from the London School of Economics, a Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelors of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley. When not working, Valerie is busy raising her young son, volunteering as a board member of a local organization supporting homeless youth, and is actively involved in the Southern Marin Mother's Club and the Corte Madera Larkspur Mother's Club. Valerie brings a breadth of experience, her warm personality, and a holistic approach to her clients' estate planning and trust administration needs.

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