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Family Business

The challenges facing closely held and family businesses are unique. It's business and it's personal, all at once.

From executing leadership changes in a manner that preserves peace at Thanksgiving to advising on critical compensation decisions, Saul Ewing LLP attorneys regularly represent family business clients on:

  • Company structures
  • Business and tax planning
  • Estate planning
  • Interfamily/owner relationships
  • Leadership transition and succession
  • Working with minority shareholders
  • Dispute resolution
  • Non-active family owners
  • Compensation and equity incentives for family owners
  • Non-family employees compensation and benefits
  • Regulatory compliance, including on employees and products

Our approach
After counseling family businesses for decades, we have seen the transformative impact of providing a bigger-picture business viewpoint. Commonly, a family's wealth creation extends beyond a single business venture. Strategic decisions must consider the interplay of all of the family's holdings.

As a full-service corporate law firm, Saul Ewing offers critical resources for family businesses to expand their views and business intelligence. Our attorneys offer issue-specific counsel on strategic business structuring, finance, federal and state taxation, litigation, estate planning, employment law and employee benefits, and environmental law.

Our experience is as varied as the many industries in which our clients' family businesses operate. Our management of legal issues is on par with how we address the emotional, personal and social overlays inherent in family businesses. When needed, Saul Ewing attorneys collaborate with leading psychologists and family office professionals in wealth planning, asset management, probate, tax and estate issues.

Our leadership
At Saul Ewing, counseling family businesses is a substantial practice area.

We publish the Family Business Center, a blog filled with wide-ranging news, tips and trends. Client webinars we have hosted include: Strategies for Retaining Key Employees in Family Businesses, and What Kinds of Planning Can Help Family Businesses to Succeed? In March 2012, we launched the Family Business Institute, a full-day seminar devoted to our clients' top challenges.

In addition, our Family Business Practice has partnered with St. Joseph’s University in its Family Business and Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Haub School of Business. Through this collaboration, we work with St. Joseph’s University to offer family business owners, entrepreneurs and St. Joseph’s University students with practical, useful tools to increase long-term competitiveness, ownership prosperity and family unity for generations to come. We do this by offering world-class education, unique experiential learning programs, an innovative curriculum, and applied research. To learn more about St. Joseph’s University Family Business and Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Haub School of Business, please click here.

Recently, the strengths of our family business counsel were the subject of an article in the Baltimore Business Journal. Members of the Family Business Practice include the chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Probate and Trusts Law Section; a member of the Baltimore Estate Planning Council's board of directors; and attorneys who have been named to Baltimore's "Legal Elite" by SmartCEO andSuper Lawyers. One of our attorneys, Russell Fishkind, is the author of, "Legacy of a Lifetime and Probate Wars of the Rich & Famous: An Insider's Guide to Estate Planning and Probate Litigation."


Saul Ewing attorneys' experience guiding family businesses and closely held companies is well represented in the educational seminars and topics we have presented and written about, such as:

  • "Business Succession Planning: Passing the Torch Without Getting Burned: Balancing the Interests of the Older and Younger Generations and Keeping the Peace"
  • "Decision Making in Family Businesses: Things are not Always as they Seem"
  • "Family Governance or Anarchy: How to Stop the Family Business from Destroying the Family"
  • "Sound Financial Management after Selling a Business – A Discussion about Establishing and Transferring the Stewardship of Wealth in Order to Build Families and Self-Reliant Descendants"
  • "War and/or Peace – Celebrity Probate Litigation and Lessons Learned"
  • "Creating Liquidity While Retaining Control: An M&A Perspective, How Business Owners Can Cash in Without Cashing Out"
  • "Planning for Future Generations: A GRATifying Experience – How to Lessen the Estate Tax Bite"
  • "Why Do Family Businesses Fail?"
  • "Have You Prepared Your Children for Their Inheritance?"
  • "Collaboration Can Be Key to Successful Family Business Planning"



The group includes attorneys who have been named to the following lists:

Trade Groups & Associations


Russell J. Fishkind
Marc A. Citron