Watch: Haute Lawyer Network Presents Exclusive Webinar With Michael Kosnitzky

The Haute Lawyer Network debuts its exclusive one on one webinar series with esteemed private wealth lawyer, Michael Kosnitzky.

Michael Kosnitzky, co-leader of Pillsbury Winthrop’s Private Wealth practice, advises some of the world’s most well-respected individuals, families, and privately held businesses, using a holistic risk-assessment approach to the law. Michael has been recognized as a Trust and Estates Trailblazer by the National Law Journal for his focus on where IRS policy is going and not necessarily where it stands today.

Michael Kosnitzky took the time out of his busy schedule and spoke with Haute media Group Co-Founder, Seth Semilof. Topics included Michael’s time at West Point Academy, how he got started practicing law, as well as getting licensed to practice law in Colorado. The following are some of the highlights from their conversation.

Seth Semilof: When you grew up in Miami, where did you end up going to college?

Michael Kosnitzky: Well, I had a very sorted academic career. I thought I was going to be a general. I went to West Point United States Military Academy. Along with a number of other people like Edgar Allan Poe, I was a West Point dropout. I did some odd jobs around Miami where I would do everything from construction to after school programs at the JCC. Eventually my parents pushed me to go back to school and I did. I took on an accounting major, I went to college at night at the University of Miami and graduated with an accounting degree.

SS: I think it’s pretty remarkable that when you were going to college you were working full time during day and taking night classes. After that, what made you decide to get into law?

MK: I got involved with tax accounting, tax law, through the accounting profession, and I thought it might be an interesting thing to do. So, I asked permission at Ernst if I could go to law school at night at the University of Miami and I was very fortunate that the school had that night program or else I probably would not have been able to go. Also, kudos to Ernst for allowing me to do it in the first place.

SS: As a lawyer, what advice would you give younger people coming out of law school?

MK: I would advise younger people, as I would advise lawyers in general, that you have to be versatile and you have to be flexible. I believe lawyers have to be flexible and have to have a broad-based view of clients’ needs. When a client comes to you, they have a problem. They either have a tax problem, a state problem, or a problem with buying a specific asset, whether it be a yacht or an aircraft or a piece of art. They have a holistic issue about how to deal with their situation and you have to be able to answer them in multi-disciplinary ways. That doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in all areas, but you have to be conversant. So, one of the things I say to young lawyers, in fact I tell all lawyers, don’t get pigeonholed.

To view the conversation in its entirety, watch below.