Generations Law Group - December 2018

The Business Brief

December 2018

The Generations That Preceded Generations Law Group Not Too Bad for a Plan B

My path to forming Generations Law Group was anything but customary. I always had an interest in business, but my first inclination was to focus that desire on my family’s company. As a young and ambitious man out of college, I made the brash assumption that I could step right in and take over, so I went to the bargaining table with my father and suggested he retire. He didn’t laugh me out of the room, but he did let me know I wasn’t ready. Not fully prepared for that response, I needed to come up with a Plan B. We worked with a tax lawyer previously in the family business, and I knew I wanted an advanced degree, so I decided to shift my passion for business into a passion for law. When I started practicing in 1977, there were only three tax attorneys in the entire state of Idaho. Right out of the gates, I gained invaluable experience in planning and litigation, which eventually transpired to representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service and the Idaho State Tax Commission. I operated as a solo practitioner for 16 years, setting up businesses, managing taxes, and developing relationships. It was rewarding, but I knew I wanted to serve a broader spectrum of clients. After discussing possibilities with a friend of mine, he invited me to join his law firm.

My focus remained on business and tax planning and litigation. For the next 22 years, we served the people of Idaho in ways I never would have imagined. While the experience working in a 10-person firm was positive, the process of litigation became too demanding. To better serve people, I knew I needed something that wasn’t as taxing. After a 59-day trial in 2015, I made the decision to go back to my roots and emphasize solving business legal problems in a more targeted approach. Forty-two years after making that fateful choice to become an attorney, I feel that every day at Generations Law Group is more fulfilling than the last. Setting up and advising businesses for long-term success is something I take great pride in, and consequently, I spend a lot of time working. Because of this, I’m extremely thankful for the love and support of my wife and two daughters. My wife and I have been married for 50 years, and you don’t make it that far without sacrifice and commitment. She embodied these characteristics on our first date — the Halloween of 1967. That night, it was clear to both of us that we had something special, but it was going to take extra effort to maintain because I had to report to basic training for

the National Guard in November of ‘67. It didn’t take long for us to choose love over practicality, and we were married in April of ‘68. I’d like to say it’s because we went through all the right premarital hoops, but I just got lucky. My wife is accepting of my faults, and we have a great relationship because of her tolerance. Before we got married, we didn’t live together for five years, attend seminars, or take personality tests. We just looked at each other, and made a pact to tackle life together. That decision bore fruit and resulted in two kids and four grandkids. My youngest daughter is currently buying a business, so I get the opportunity to combine my two favorite parts of life into one — spending time with my kids and talking about business. When I take a look at this journey, all I can say is that it’s not too bad for a Plan B.

–Tom Walker

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