Helping a Community and Your Legacy
Photography by Wes Battoclette
Christopher Longwell’s law practice is located in an office on the second floor of a white building a hundred yards from Loveland’s downtown. The law was not his first career, but it is his chosen one.
Having earned his bachelors from Northern Kentucky University and then his MBA from University of Cincinnati, Longwell worked for GE manufacturing aircraft engines. “But I did not enjoy what I was doing,” he says.
Longwell had been pondering law school for a while. Friends had told him he would be a good fit. Still, it would have meant quitting a job for which he was well compensated. But then he and his wife had a serendipitous experience at a Chinese restaurant, where his fortune cookie informed him, “You would make a good lawyer.”
Can’t ignore a sign like that, can you? So in the space of a few months Longwell took the LSAT, applied to Northern Kentucky’s Chase College of Law, was accepted, quit his job and began immersing himself in contracts, torts and civil procedure.
Longwell graduated in 2000. He started his law career as an in-house counsel at a large company drafting and negotiating technology contracts and real estate deals. He then transitioned to a job running a private investment group that developed real estate. All the while, Longwell had been dabbling in some estate planning work.
“I could do it because there were no conflicts, and estate planning is the type of work you can do on nights and weekends because that’s when people are free,” says Longwell.
The estate planning business took more and more of Longwell’s time, and he enjoyed it. So it was not an unhappy occurrence when the investment group ran through its liquidity in 2009. Longwell departed and set up shop in the Loveland office.
“Loveland is a great place to work,” he says. “It’s very central to the region, which is great because my clientele comes from all four of the surrounding counties as well as Northern Kentucky. On top of that, the traffic isn’t bad, the people are great and there are so many incredible small businesses here.”
Longwell divides his estate planning clients into three broad categories. The first, aged 30-40, have kids and need to prepare their estates if something should happen to them.
The second, often in their mid-to-late 50s, have seen their kids through high school and college and are starting to obtain significant assets. “Suddenly there’s more coming in than going out and wealth is starting to accumulate, which they need to plan for,” he says.
The third category includes those in their late 60s or mid-70s, who are making sure everything is in order, perhaps tweaking things here or there. “By now they know what their kids are like and what they have to plan for, so it’s about where they want to leave their assets,” he says.
“Estate planning is one of only a few areas of law where people are happy with what you do. So much of the law is confrontational. But with estate planning, people usually walk out of my office very happy. I like that.”
Now that Longwell’s former sideline of estate planning has become his full-time preoccupation, what does he do with his free time?
“I work very closely with the Boy Scouts,” he says. Longwell is the vice-chair for membership for the Blue Jacket District, which comprises communities from Hyde Park to Indian Hill to Loveland and is part of the Dan Beard Council Boy Scouts of America. He oversees membership planning for around 3,000 Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts while attempting to recruit between 800 and 1,000 new scouts each year. He became involved because his sons, 11 and 13, are both Boy Scouts.
“Every kid can get something out of scouting, because whenever a young man leaves scouting as an Eagle Scout he is incredibly well rounded. He’s a true renaissance man.”
Sort of like a second-career lawyer who has been everywhere from airplane engine manufacturing to real estate development to estate planning in a small office in Loveland.
The Law Office of Christopher D. Longwell, LLC, is located at 410 W Loveland Avenue, Loveland, OH 45140. You can reach him at 513.334.0305.