My name is Robert Varak. I have been practicing law for nearly 25 years, since graduating from The John Marshall Law School in 1996. I practice estate planning law because after working in other practice areas earlier in my career, I have found that it gives me by far the most personal and professional satisfaction. It just feels great to use my experience and expertise to help families protect what they’ve built. I love getting to know my clients, their family backgrounds and their businesses. Every client meeting brings its own unique flavor to my practice.
I’ve lived my entire life in the Chicagoland area, growing up in La Grange and attending high school at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park. I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1996. My early years as a lawyer were spent primarily in commercial litigation and transactions, where I learned how to draft documents carefully, with one eye always on the question of what would happen if a given document faced scrutiny in court. I also learned that the best way to advise clients, be they business clients or families, is to be unflinchingly honest with them and clearly set forth what costs and outcomes may be involved. It is very easy as a lawyer to get caught up in the technical aspects of what they are doing, but communicating clearly, managing the client’s expectations, and putting the client’s needs before all else are always most important.
In 2005, after the tragic and unexpected death of my 4 month-old daughter, Molly, I reappraised my career. I decided to switch to a solo practice, which would give me more flexibility, providing time for me to be with my family, while also concentrating my practice in an area that I had always enjoyed. Having gone through a traumatic experience myself, I saw firsthand how families can be caught off-guard and overwhelmed by tragedy. Helping other families prepare for the worst was a natural outgrowth of the experience that I had been through.
Our experiences had also put my wife Jean and I in contact with many nonprofit organizations. We became fundraisers, and in the process we learned about the logistics and economics of nonprofits. Since then, aiding nonprofits has been a priority in my practice. I have advised many of them on the best way to utilize estate planning to their benefit, and I have advised many clients about the economic and emotional benefits of including charities in their estate plans. I believe that every family should give some consideration to including a charitable component in their estate plan.
To keep up with the issues that are important to me and my practice, I am a member of the Suburban Chicago Planned Giving Council, the Small Business Advocacy Council, and the Trusts and Estates Section of the Illinois State Bar Association. In addition to being licensed in the State of Illinois, I am admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. I live in Naperville with my wife and three daughters, who keep me busy at the usual variety of sporting events, school activities, and concerts. I enjoy traveling, coaching my daughters in various youth sports, reading and feeding my insatiable interest in music.