New LeClairRyan Litigation Group Helps Clients Address Trust, Estate Issues

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Veteran attorneys in firm’s Estate and Trust Litigation team have broad experience in helping individuals navigate thorny situations

Team members have represented a wide array of clients in some of the largest estate disputes throughout the country, with a long track record of trial victories and successful settlements

Amid the growing elderly population and rising controversies involving estates and trusts—witness the inter-family court battle over the estate of actor Robin Williams—national law firm LeClairRyan has launched a new practice team geared toward helping clients navigate the tangled sets of legal and other issues surrounding the wishes of loved ones.

LeClairRyan’s new Estate and Trust Litigation team is comprised of more than a dozen professionals who have represented clients in disputes involving wills, trusts, guardianships and conservatorships, as well as in a wide variety of elder law matters—making it one of the largest such groups among AmLaw 200 firms.

“Team members have represented a wide array of clients in some of the largest estate disputes throughout the country, with a long track record of trial victories and successful settlements,” said group leader William W. Sleeth III, a partner and trial lawyer based in LeClairRyan’s Williamsburg office. Clients range from individuals to trust companies to large charitable entities, with team members litigating will disputes involving estates ranging from six figures to over $50 million.

Recent high-profile estate and trust disputes—including the tussle between Williams’ third wife, and the comedian’s children from two previous marriages (Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, Case Number: PTR 14 298367)—have highlighted the potential for high-stakes litigation when wills and other bequests are challenged, Sleeth noted.

“Promoting the client’s best interests is always our first priority, and our team recognizes that this can frequently be best done through negotiating a successful settlement,” he said. “However, we also know that some disputes cannot be effectively resolved through settlement. Therefore, we prepare for and regularly try estate disputes throughout the country.”

The new practice group has also launched a blog, Estate to keep clients and others current on the latest developments in this arena. Recent postings by blog editor Sleeth and other practice members include Why You Should Avoid Filming a Will Signing and Waiting for Atticus Finch, which focuses on the underlying legal issues involved in claims that author Harper Lee Was manipulated into publishing a sequel to her famous novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

“As the population gets older, we’re seeing an increasing volume of estate and trust disputes,” Sleeth noted. “In addition to the core legal issues, there are a host of financial, emotional and other concerns that must be considered. Accordingly, each matter must be considered on its individual merits. You cannot take a cookie-cutter approach to these important situations.”

To learn more about the group’s services, visit:

About LeClairRyan
As a trusted advisor, LeClairRyan provides business counsel and client representation in corporate law and litigation. In this role, the firm applies its knowledge, insight and skill to help clients achieve their business objectives while managing and minimizing their legal risks, difficulties and expenses. With offices in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the firm has approximately 380 attorneys representing a wide variety of clients throughout the nation. For more information about LeClairRyan, visit


Press Contacts: At Parness & Associates Public Relations, Bill Parness, (732) 290-0121, bparness(at)

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