From estate planning to trusts and family business planning, Christine Rew Barden strives to get to the heart of each client’s goals and concerns in order to formulate real solutions that work for them.
“Sometimes you can have the best legal document, but if you don’t understand the family dynamics than it can be the wrong solution,” said Barden, a shareholder in Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren’s trusts and estates practice and founder and chair of the firm’s Family Offices Group.
During her 20 years as a lawyer, she has come to recognize the importance of understanding her clients. For that reason, she always takes the time to explain legal matters to clients so that they understand the intricacies of a particular plan. Barden often invites older children to final planning meetings and conferences to give them an opportunity both to see their parents working with a professional and gain an understanding of their family’s plan.
“She puts her clients and her colleagues first,” said Jennifer D’Amato, a member of Reinhart’s board of directors and chair and shareholder in the firm’s trusts and estates practice.
“Christine makes her clients’ problems her own and becomes the trusted advisor to those clients. She goes above and beyond for them, truly defining excellence in client services. I trust her absolutely to always do what’s right, even if not easy or expedient.”
Her work to help clients isn’t confined to her office. In February 2018, she was elected to serve on the Madison Community Foundation’s Board of Governors. Barden had been working as an advisor at the foundation since 2003, helping her own clients plan and achieve their charitable goals.
Early in her career, Barden helped establish, and served as legal counsel for, Wrigley Management Inc. — the private family office of a prominent Chicago family.
“I like to say that starting right out of law school working in an office for a high network family was like getting a black belt in client relations,” Barden said. “There was not a better way to start my career and I draw on my experience working there almost every day.”
She enjoys helping her clients draw up and carry out estate plans and transition strategies that are meant to preserve family wealth as well as maintain and foster relationships across generations.
“I still remember sitting in real estate and property class during college and it felt like a light bulb went off in me that this was an area that I could add so much value,” she said. “I didn’t know then that law school would be part of this but I am certainly grateful it did.”