Joel Silverman’s journey to the practice of law was unusual and rather idyllic, with decided shades of Walden Pond thrown in for good measure. Raised in the flamboyant city of Las Vegas, it seems Silverman always sought quieter more bucolic environs. At a very early age he discovered the joys and serenity of fly-fishing, even launching his own fly-tying business while still in high school.
This interest never waned. In fact, Silverman applied this seemingly natural affinity, building a thriving business teaching fly tying and fly-fishing that eventually helped pay his way through college and then law school. Aside from his pursuit of education, his real passion was realized serving as a fishing guide, something he enjoyed for more than 15 years in locales that took him around the globe.
Understandably, the desert was not the ideal setting for one who’s heart sought bodies of water, and perhaps that’s what inspired Silverman’s migration to Montana. He moved to Missoula in 1992, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and Bachelor of Science in forestry from the University of Montana in 1997. Silverman went on to receive his law degree from Lewis and Clark College in 2003 and an LL.M. in taxation from the University of Washington in 2004.
Ironically, the very thing that Silverman sought out for its solitude and tranquility, proved to be (at times) rather stress-inducing. “People pay you a lot of money to have a great vacation,” he explains. “That means you have to make sure to find them the fish, the ideal setting and coordinate every aspect to ensure they have the vacation of their dreams. The setting might be peaceful but there can be plenty of stress making sure everything is just right.”
Stressful though it may have been at times, this career did lead him to meet his future bride, Andrea, who was at that time residing in Dillion. “She was working for a conservation organization,” says Silverman, “and I was a fishing guide working for a judge.”
Home in Montana
Even before meeting and falling in love with Andrea, Silverman became enamored with the majestic landscapes, warm citizenry and of course, ample fishing opportunities of Montana. Not surprisingly, he never did return to his neon-lights roots. As a new lawyer, Silverman spent his first three years of private practice in Butte assisting clients with business matters, entity formation, tax planning for businesses and individuals, wills, trusts, elder law, property transactions, and liquor and gambling issues.
In 2006, another opportunity called him to Helena where he served as an attorney with the Montana Department of Revenue. During this six-year sojourn, Silverman applied his ample legal prowess towards issues involving legislation, liquor and gambling matters and litigating various federal and state tax law issues including collections, income tax, coal and gas severance tax, property tax and telecommunications taxes.
Having cut his teeth on some of the toughest and most challenging tax issues on a statewide and federal level, Silverman was now ready to settle down with his new bride Andrea in Helena. In 2012, taking a leap of faith, he opened what has grown into one of the most respected and beloved law practices in the state.
“I was taking a big chance, with no backing and no safety net,” he admits, “but I had a very specific vision of the type of firm I wanted to build and understood the only way to do it was just to do it.”
Hanging Out the Shingle
Silverman Law Office PLLC, serving both Helena and Bozeman, Montana, is a unique practice, not only because of their level of highly-skilled and dedicated professionals, but perhaps even more importantly, due to their personalized approach to the practice of law.
“Our objective is to make our clients and their families successful in their lives,” says Silverman. “Our clients always come first.”
In fact, the landing page of the firm’s website says it all. No courtroom gavels or somber law tombs pictured here, rather a photos of Helena and Bozeman and the promise: Changing the way law is practiced. A commonsense legal approach.
This diverse team of professionals provide support for all their client’s business and family law needs including estate planning, probate, transactions, real estate, tax planning, business and gambling and liquor licensing. But what truly sets them apart, is the intangible yet very real affinity they have for those they serve.
“We don’t just handle their legal concerns,” says Silverman, “but really consider their lives as a whole. We help coordinate communication among their financial advisors, accountants and even insurance agents. We might be one piece of their financial puzzle, but we also help them piece together all the other aspects into one, cohesive plan.”
While the firm has been a thriving concern virtually from day one, and growth steady, Silverman explains that expansion and growth are not the main objective but primarily in response to client needs. And, despite the fact that the firm now has two office locations, increasing staff is done in a very thoughtful and purposeful way.
“We don’t hire just to add bodies,” he explains. “We have a very special culture that we’ve taken great care to foster at Silverman Law and while we appreciate great talent, that is not enough. Our attorneys share our vision and mission to serve our clients’ needs and support them in their endeavors as well as preserve a sense of community and family within our offices.
“Our team has the desire to treat our clients with the utmost respect and help them be successful in their lives,” he adds. “That starts, I believe, with the very high standards we impose on ourselves both in and outside the office.”
Perhaps what singularly distinguishes this law practice is their very unique team approach. According to Silverman, when you hire this firm, you receive the attention, dedication and expertise of not just one professional but an entire team.
“When you come to us, you’re not just getting one attorney but a whole team,” he clarifies. “Regardless of the situation, there will be at any given time, five or six attorneys focused on that project. We all work together. Each attorney here has his or her area of specialization, so just as they say, ‘it takes a village’, in our offices it takes a team. That includes our very capable support professionals. The bottom-line is: It’s not about us, it’s about our client.”
Easy to say, but the Silverman team backs this with action.
“We believe that we can’t provide the best legal service without also providing the best customer service,” says Silverman. “We will always return your calls, keep you informed of our progress in your case, and offer a friendly welcome when you come into the office. Schedule a consultation today to see if we are the right fit for you.”
Neighbor to Neighbor
Many have a negative perception of lawyers, deserved or otherwise. The team at Silverman Law wants to change that perception, one client at a time.
“We hear it time and again,” notes Silverman. “People come to us with tales of attorneys who left a bad taste in their mouth. Some law firms are only concerned with billable hours and really have no interest in getting to know their clients on a personal basis. At Silverman Law Office, we treat everyone as our neighbor and are 100 percent dedicated to providing the best customer service possible.”
Integral members of this wonderful community, both Silverman and his wife take advantage and enjoy all that this exquisite countryside has to offer.
“We both enjoy spending time outdoors,” he says, “skiing, hiking and, of course, fly-fishing.”
They also are dedicated to participating and helping the community grow and improve. Silverman has for many years been involved with various organizations and projects that help and work with local veterans, specifically through Montana Business Assistance Connection Loan Committee; Helena College Foundation Board Member. Furthermore, both offices spend at least two days performing community service endeavors in order to make Helena and Bozeman better places to live.
“This is our home,” he says, “we love the lifestyle and we love the people. Our goal is to contribute to building and preserving the very special community we’ve come to love.”