Lynette Carrington 2012-12-12 01:16:16
According to Benjamin Franklin, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” This sounds pretty good to Stephen Newmark of the Newmark Law Firm, who for over 30 years has centered his law practice on taxes and, starting about 20 years ago, on estate planning and probate as well. Certified for more than 20 years as a tax specialist by the State Bar of Arizona (there are less than 50 lawyers in the state so recognized as tax experts), Newmark helps individuals and businesses with tax questions and the often delicate family and business issues presented in estate planning and probate matters. His skills both as a lawyer and as a legal counselor for families dealing with the loss of loved ones are widely known and respected. Newmark did not start out to become a tax lawyer. “I never took an accounting class, and my tax classes in law school were not among my favorites,” he said. After graduation, Newmark went to work for a small, general practice law firm in Phoenix, where he quickly figured out he should become a specialist in some field of the law. Following a year as a general practitioner, Newmark entered the political world, working on John Ahearn’s 1978 campaign for the Arizona Corporation Commission. When Ahearn was later appointed to fill a vacancy at the ACC, Newmark became his aide. Ahearn was defeated in 1980, so Newmark needed to find a new position. Impressed by what ACC hearing officers did, Newmark decided to look for hearing officer jobs in state government. He found one at the the Arizona Department of Revenue. When Newmark began work as a revenue hearing officer in 1981, he knew very little about tax law. “Virtually everything I know about law I have learned on my own by taking on tasks and figuring out how to get them done,” Newmark said. During the two years he spent as a hearing officer, Newmark organized the hearing office, issued dozens of decisions and mastered Arizona sales and use tax law. In 1983, Newmark joined Snell & Wilmer as an associate working primarily on state and local tax cases. In 1989, he left to become a partner in a small firm, where he remained for 10 years before joining a succession of large local and national firms. This sojourn ended in 2009, when Newmark opened a sole practice conducted out of the guesthouse behind his home. “Working on my own has been very nice. There is no dress code, although the hours seem longer. Overhead is far smaller, and this allows me to charge $100 less an hour than I did at the big firms. My existing clients are loyal, and I have been around long enough that most new work comes through referrals from accountants and other lawyers,” Newmark said. “I also use Web advertising, which has been surprisingly successful,” Newmark noted. “In fact, national clients that normally do not use solo practitioners have come to me through the Internet. “I enjoy practicing law. It gives me the opportunity to help hundreds of clients, both large and small. I have offered lots and lots of advice; drafted numerous wills and trusts; handled countless administrative hearings; made numerous court appearances; and been involved in a fair number of appeals, including one, at the Arizona Supreme Court, which resulted in a decision reversing precedent of long standing. Newmark is recognized as a member of the Arizona’s Finest Lawyers organization, a Southwest Super Lawyer, one of the Best of Arizona’s Business Attorneys and one of Arizona’s Top Lawyers. Mr. Newmark is rated an AV attorney by Martindale- Hubbell, which means he is nationally recognized as meeting the highest standards for both legal ability and ethics. “It is a nice career, and I intend to keep at it as long as my brain works,” Newmark said. “Plus, I have two sons, ages twenty and eighteen. One attends Phoenix College, and the other ASU. They need me around to offer sage advice, pay for school and help them down the sometimes rocky road of life.” A third-generation Arizonan, Newmark, his wife and sons live in north central Phoenix.
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