In late 1975, Allan D. Bogutz was appointed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors as the "Public Fiduciary" in Tucson, Arizona. The office, then recently created by state statute, served as guardian, conservator, and personal representative in cases where there was no family member or other person willing and able to serve. Allan built an office dedicated to helping persons who were unable to help themselves. Allan had previously worked in Legal Aid and served in the Peace Corps.
In 1974, Craig Gordon was using a federal grant from the Administration of Aging to develop a legal information, education and referral program for senior citizens in rural Iowa. He rode circuit throughout seven counties, speaking in church basements, listening to problems, and mobilizing local lawyers to respond to the needs of elderly clients. Although he scarcely realized it at the time, the elder law seed had been planted.
In 1981, Allan Bogutz left government service for the private practice of law. He gradually realized that what he enjoyed, and where he felt he could make the biggest contribution, was to continue his "fiduciary" practice. A "fiduciary" is a person in a position of trust, one who is legally empowered to make decisions for other persons. Allan's training made him particularly well-suited to advise a client whose spouse has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease, or a parent whose child is mentally impaired or has been injured as a result of an accident or medical malpractice.
Meanwhile, Craig Gordon had moved to Arizona in 1976 and joined the staff of Southern Arizona Legal Aid. He was handling all sorts of cases including divorces, landlord/tenant disputes, consumer rights issues, wills and probate matters. Legal Aid agencies have strict financial guidelines and only assist clients who are otherwise unable to afford legal representation. Craig also enjoyed helping clients who needed a little extra assistance to receive equal justice under the law.
In 1984, Allan Bogutz incorporated his own law firm. Although he already had legal assistants with accounting and social service backgrounds, within a year he felt more legal help was needed. One hot day in July of 1985, Allan telephoned Craig at the Legal Aid office. They agreed to meet, and tentatively discussed joining forces. It was a bit of a risk for both of them. Allan wondered whether there would be enough work to support two lawyers. Craig was concerned about leaving a job where he not only received a steady paycheck, but really felt that he was helping people. After about a week of hesitation, in which Allan and Craig both independently consulted with the well-respected Probate Judge, Alice Truman, the agreement to form the law firm that is Bogutz & Gordon, PC, was sealed with a handshake.
The succeeding years have seen Bogutz & Gordon prosper as one of the pre-eminent elder law firms in the country. Allan, Ben Burnside, and Craig Wisnom are Certified Elder Law Attorneys by the ABA-approved National Elder Law Foundation (NELF). Allan was one of the founding members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and served as its President. Craig Gordon was instrumental in founding NELF and served as its President for seven years. Bogutz & Gordon's involvement is these national elder law organizations provides significant advantages. We are known throughout the nation, and are personally acquainted with the most knowledgeable and experienced elder law attorneys in other states. When a question arises like "What would the law on this point be in North Carolina or Minnesota?" all we need to do is pick up the phone and speak to one of our colleagues.
Bogutz & Gordon is well positioned to meet the elder law and estate planning needs of our clients and their families, both now and for many years into the future.