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The National Law Journal’s Divorce, Trusts, & Estates Trailblazers 2016: Richard A. Campbell, Mayer Brown

29 March 2016
The National Law Journal


Before going to law school, Rich Campbell taught high school math. After law school, he wanted to be more of a counselor than an adversarial lawyer, so he was attracted to trusts and estates. "There are also a lot of numbers involved, so it's a great fit.'


When Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March 2014, a married couple on board left behind two young children. Campbell needed to prove the parents were dead to allow the children to access their assets. To do so, he needed to prove that they were truly missing and overcome the convention that people must be missing for seven years to be presumed dead. "The first thing we had to do was prove they were on the plane. The airline originally refused to authenticate a passenger manifest, but eventually did." Campbell was able to get the reports from the Australian equivalent of the National Transportation Safety Board admitted into evidence, which helped overcome the seven-year issue and enabled him to convince the court to appoint the father and cousin of the deceased as executors. In another ground breaking example, Campbell helped a very small poetry organization manage a large bequest from Ruth Lilly of the Eli Lilly fortune. "It was a very large gift for such a small organization, and it transformed it into the largest literary organization in the world:'


As families become more globalized, estate planning will involve more families with parents residing in different countries. Campbell also expects wealthy families to struggle with how much to give their children and grandchildren, as opposed to more targeted charitable endeavors. "Clients are fine-tuning a lot more of what they want to do with their charitable dollars-they don't want to just hand over a check."

Reprinted with permission from the March 2016 edition of The American Lawyer © 2016 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.”

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