Attorney of the Month, Tait D. Elkie

Proudly Serving the residents of Fountain Hills

By Dan Baldwin

Tait D. Elkie, founder of Elkie Law Office, PC, has been in private practice for more than 10 years and started his own law firm in Fountain Hills, in 2008. Elkie represents clients throughout the state of Arizona and has appeared in nearly every court in the state, however, he prides himself on being the lawyer people and businesses call on in Fountain Hills if they need legal counsel.

“We are a general practice law firm, and we cater to the legal needs of the people and businesses in the Fountain Hills and northeast Scottsdale communities. It is not unusual to have a client who has a landlord/tenant issue one month and the next month is involved in an automobile accident, so I need to remain well-versed in many different areas of law,” Elkie says.

Elkie Law Office, PC is a full-service law firm, with particular expertise in estate planning and probate, DUI and criminal defense, auto accidents, medical malpractice and landlord/tenant issues. The firm’s main office is located in Fountain Hills, with a satellite office in Payson, Arizona. Elkie is licensed to practice law in all courts in Arizona, and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court, District of Arizona, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.

The firm employs an associate lawyer, Tyler M. Allen, a legal assistant, Camille Gipson and Elkie’s wife, Michele Elkie, who is the office manager. Elkie also routinely mentors law students in the firm and is currently mentoring law clerks Jason May and Steven Jackson from the Phoenix School of Law. The firm’s attorneys and staff-members regularly attend continuing legal education seminars and courses to keep up with changes in the various areas of law. The goal is to constantly improve upon client communications and services that are targeted to their clients’ specific needs.

“With the return of the economy, we’re going to see some population growth and business expansion as well as a similar increase in the legal needs of the Fountain Hills community. Our aging population will mean growth in estate planning, probate and trust administration areas of law. Also, the laws relating to civil litigation and criminal defense are always changing, and people will continue to need legal representation. Our firm is prepared to meet these legal needs, grow with the community and serve it well,” Elkie says.

Integrity, respect and Straightforwardness

The business philosophy practiced at Elkie Law Office, PC is basic: always be honest and up front with people, do the best job you can, and treat others with respect. “We view clients professionally, but we treat them like family from the moment they walk in. We have done our best to create a comfortable environment in our office so that our clients immediately begin to relax the moment they walk through the door. When someone finds that they need a lawyer, their anxiety and stress levels tend to be very high and they don’t know what to do. My staff and I work with our clients to achieve the best possible legal result and take the burden of the situation off their shoulders.”

Clients often come into Elkie Law Office, PC unaware or confused about the law and with little or no knowledge of their legal options. For example, someone who just wants to create a will or a trust may not have a clear understanding of the numerous ways to protect themselves, their families and their assets. Elkie says he and his staff feel a true sense of accomplishment when clients leave their office saying, “You know, that was a heck of a lot easier than I thought it would be.”

The legal needs of each individual client is the number one priority, and Elkie sometimes even tells a potential client that he or she does not actually need the services of a lawyer. “I’m not afraid to tell people, ‘Hey, you don’t need me for this’ or ‘Your money is better spent using it for another purpose to help resolve your specific legal issue.’ People appreciate a lawyer being honest and giving it to them straight, and I have found that it results in return and referral business. I will never take on a case unless I truly believe I can help the client.”

Elkie says that lawyers don’t always have good news to give to a client and that it may at times be an uncomfortable position to be in, but it’s an important part of a lawyer’s duty. “If someone comes to you and says they want to proceed in a legal matter, you sometimes have to dial them in and let them know that it may not be the best course of action for that situation. Clients need to know the full ramifications of their actions, and that’s just one part of your responsibility as a lawyer.”

Elkie has a strict office policy of keeping clients up to date on the progress of their cases so clients can remain not only informed, but also active participants. “It is very important to me that we speak to our clients on a regular basis. Our clients need to know how their case is progressing and to also advise us of any change in circumstances that could have an effect on their case,” Elkie says.

Elkie recommends that anyone seeking legal counsel should do his or her best to arrive prepared and to bring with them the documents necessary to properly evaluate their case. “Generally speaking, if a new client comes in for an estate plan consultation and they have a trust or will previously prepared, they should plan on bringing it with them so I can review it and discuss any changes or additions they wish to make.” With civil cases, the new client should plan on bringing their auto, health and homeowner’s insurance policies, as well as medical records and bills, photographs and accident reports. Each case is different and unique, and Elkie and his staff will instruct each new client in advance on any additional documents or information he or she will need to handle their case.

Clear direction, drive and Service

Elkie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps when he was 17 years old. While in the Marines, he served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the First Gulf War, and also Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. Elkie attained the rank of sergeant while in the Marines and earned an honorable discharge for his service.

“The Marine Corps had the biggest effect on my life. The Marine Corps taught me discipline, respect, camaraderie and a strong work ethic. These traits have served me well in the practice of law,” he says. Elkie remains active today with local veterans’ organizations, and is a member of the Color Guard and JAG Officer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7507 in Fountain Hills.

Many lawyers have worked in other professions for years or have had other careers before they decided to go to law school and become a lawyer. Not Elkie. “I first realized I wanted to be a lawyer when I was in the Marine Corps about a year before I got out. The field of law intrigued me, and I knew then this would be the career path I would take once I completed my term of enlistment. Looking back, I have made only two career decisions in my life. The first was when I was 8 years old and decided I wanted to become a Marine and the second was my decision to become a lawyer. Once made, I never waivered from either decision, and have never regretted the choices I’ve made.” After serving in the Marines, Elkie immediately enrolled at Arizona State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in justice studies in 1997. He received his Juris Doctorate degree in 2002 from California Western School of Law in San Diego.

Elkie has been an attorney for almost eleven years, five of which have been in Fountain Hills with very humble beginnings when he founded Elkie Law Office, PC. “I started off in a very small office with no windows where I could barely fit a desk and two chairs. Today, I have a large office, an associate attorney, a full staff and two law clerks. Our firm has grown significantly since I first opened, and I anticipate steady and continuous growth in the years to come.”

A Personal commitment to Fountain Hills

Elkie and Michele have been married for five years and are Fountain Hills residents who love their community. “We had our first date at Fountain Park, and were later married at the same location as our first date. It goes without saying that Fountain Hills is very important to us and our future,” he says. Elkie and Michele started the law firm together, and have worked together to build it to what it is today. It has been a labor of love personally and professionally. Elkie is an active member of the community and his activities include: teaching gun safety and self-defense as an NRA Certified Instructor, serving as president of the Fountain Hills Republican Club, and service on a number of nonprofit boards. Elkie also mentors high school students through the Fountain Hills Teen Court and participates in the Law for Kids program. He has been recognized as one of Arizona’s Top 50 Pro Bono Attorneys by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education in both 2008 and 2012.

In addition to running his own law firm, Elkie serves on the Fountain Hills Town Council. He was elected in 2010 to a four-year term and currently serves as the town’s vice mayor. “I was honored to be elected to serve our town, and have found that my skills as a lawyer have served me well as a council member,” Elkie says.

Public service has always been and continues to remain a top priority for Elkie and he shares that sentiment with the residents of Fountain Hills. “Our town is a community of volunteers and service-oriented residents who care for one another,” says Elkie. He finds that the best part of practicing law in Fountain Hills is being the “go-to” lawyer in town. “One of the greatest pleasures I get is in serving our town residents by offering them legal advice and counsel and being there for them. We are a tight knit community here in Fountain Hills and looking out for one another is a priority.”

For more information or to reach Tait D. Elkie visit, www.FountainHillsLawyer.com