Kenneth Piercey

Partner at Piercey & Associates, Ltd.

Kenneth Piercey (Ken) was born in Park Ridge, Illinois and graduated from Barrington High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Seattle Pacific University in 2002, completed MBA coursework at DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, and his Juris Doctor degree from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 2010 which offered him a scholarship. Ken currently works in Barrington, Illinois, but is also licensed and frequently practices law in Wisconsin.

Kenneth Piercey advises wealthy clients, including multiple lottery winners, as well as low-income and impoverished clients in all areas of trust law, estate and probate law, elder law, asset protection, income tax reduction strategies, and business succession. Ken has served as an expert witness on trust interpretation in a criminal trial by jury, has been published by the Illinois State Bar Association and the National Business InstituteTM, and has lectured to attorneys and CPAs on the taxation of trusts and tax reduction strategies. Ken has been quoted by the Daily Herald, featured on AM560, and recognized by The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The American Lawyer, and The National Law Journal. What Ken enjoys most about his legal career is educating his clients so they can make informed decisions based on their unique goals.

Where did the idea for Piercey & Associates come from?

Piercey and Associates started as a desire to start a business with my father. My father was a partner in a 15 to 20-attorney law firm for many years. He had practiced law since 1973. In 2010 when I graduated from law school, we decided to start a law practice together. My father and both handle estate planning, estate and trust law, probate law, elder law, asset protection, income tax reduction strategies, and business succession. I am licensed in both Illinois but am also licensed to practice in Wisconsin.

Typically, a lawyer getting started is usually mentored by someone with a couple more years of experience than you, but I was fortunate to have a mentor that with 30+ years of experience. I started out as a minority shareholder and now I am a 49% owner 10 years later. We also have two additional attorneys that focus on real estate law and commercial real estate law.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

A typical day involves meeting with clients and responding to client questions via email and phone calls. My goal is to educate clients so that they can learn the rules and decide what they want to do with the information. I try to give them all of the relevant information in plain English so they can understand it and make a decision on their own. It is not my decision.

Also, a significant amount of my time is spent drafting and reviewing estate planning documents.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I talk to other people with a lot of experience, and then we strategize how to take really good ideas and turn them into practical solutions. There is only so much you can know, and there is wisdom in many counselors.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Technology is a trend that excites me. I think that it can be used to help clients better. As technology develops and gets more powerful, if we use it in the right way, it can really help people with record keeping and help drive the costs down for the client.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Taking a day off every week, either Saturday or Sunday, is a habit that makes me more productive.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Listen to the advice of other people. I have tried to do that throughout my life. Be honest. Bring stuff out in the open. Don’t be afraid or sugarcoat things.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

If you have a will then your estate will not have to be probated. Many people also believe that estate tax is optional. Those are misconceptions.

If you live simply and live a generous life, if you give of yourself, then I believe there are blessing in that. If people believed that, they would act upon that. If they are brave enough to live that way, their life is usually changed for the better.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I give my time and money. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If employers did that, if entrepreneurs did that, their businesses would be much better off. Customers and clients know if you are there to serve yourself or whether you are there to serve them.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Creative thinking has helped me to grow my business. We try to find ways that we can separate ourselves and be unique from those that offer similar services. We always try to find ways to improve our process.

For example, we have a trademark on a trust that we use for our clients. We have a trust we call a Legacy Defender Trust. It has about 20 things within it that do not always get covered in estate planning. We think about things that can go wrong and include them in our documents to provide additional protection to our clients.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I have made the mistake of trying to handle too much. If you have too much responsibility, you make mistakes. This is a lesson I have learned. Make sure that you have enough time to handle the responsibilities you have committed to. Build margin in your schedule so you can provide higher quality work, and therefore provide higher value to your clients.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A business idea would be financial planning specifically to help people organize their estates. Putting a list together of client assets or information vault where access could be given to professional trustee or family members to share the needed and helpful information.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The money that I give away is the best money that I spend. We support ministries that help the poor and destitute. It is easy to spend money on stuff that ends up in a dumpster over the years, but I believe the cure for greed is giving. So, the best $100 I recently spent was making a donation to a good cause.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I use Smokeball, a legal practice management software for law firms. It has automatic time and activity tracking and it helps us to organize our files.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The book I recommend is the Bible. I think a lot of the problems that we face in society would be resolved if people actually followed the teachings of the Bible. There is a lot of value in the moral and humble teachings of the Bible.

What is your favorite quote?

Live simply so that others can simply live. Gandhi.

Key Learnings:

• Our firm has a unique process to meet the needs of our clients.
• We really care about our clients. We believe in always treating others the way you want to be treated.
• Take small steps to work towards living a generous life.