The march to marriage equality for the LGBTQ community seemingly moved at the speed of light when compared with other equality struggles. Yet, like other struggles for equality, what occurred before and after the apex is critical to understand. Several factors are involved in most legal struggles for equality: generally, the public must reach a point where the majority are either in favor of or ambivalent to the issue; legislators must be willing to bring the matter before their colleagues; the Federal administration must not be adverse, or the Supreme Court must have a majority that is either reasonably in favor of the law or contains one or more majority members willing to provide a plurality vote.
This program, presented by Max Elliott, founder of a Chicago-based firm practicing estate planning and wealth preservation for the LGBTQ community, women, and small business owners, will engage in a high-level discussion of the landscape of critical and life-altering estate planning issues for the LGBTQ community, and how that is defined by different SCOTUS decisions. In addition to managing the Law Firm of Max Elliott, Ms. Elliott is a member of the Chicago Bar Association Trust Law Executive Committee, Chicago Estate Planning Council, and American Bar Foundation Fellow. She frequently presents on estate planning topics such as marriage equality and the intersection of retirement and estate planning.
Max Elliott, Managing Attorney and Founder of The Law Offices of Max Elliott, Ltd., is a licensed, Illinois estate planning, estate administration, and wealth preservation attorney. Her firm, with offices in Chicago and New York City, focuses on unique families and women small business owners, and services include estate planning for taxable and non-taxable estates, estate administration, and advising small businesses in start-up, growth, restructuring, cybersecurity compliance, and succession planning phases.
On behalf of her firm, Ms. Elliott is also General Counsel for the Bernie Mac Foundation, Inc., a private non-profit foundation, and spearheaded the organization’s most recent restructuring.
Ms. Elliott routinely speaks to lawyers, students, and community groups on the intersection of estate and retirement planning; small business essentials, including legal entity selection, succession planning, generational wealth transfers, and cybersecurity program planning; and fiduciary selection and other protective measures for seniors and the LGBTQ community.
She is ranked as one of the Top 100 Black Lawyers by the National Black Lawyers organization, a member of the Executive Committee for the Chicago Bar Association’s Trust Law Committee, a 2017-18 Super Lawyers® Rising Star, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a volunteer faculty member for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), a faculty member for Manhattan, New York-based Lawline that provides online legal CLE for attorneys nationwide, a faculty member of Esquire CLE, a member of the U.S. Trust, Bank of America Center of Influence on estate planning, ranked “Superb” and a recipient of the Top Contributor in Estate Planning Award from Avvo, a lawyer peer ranking site, and a member of the Association of African American Financial Advisors.
Before launching her practice in 2011, Ms. Elliott was a law clerk in a small tax law firm, assisting the principal in probate, domestic relations, corporate records, and non-profit corporation compliance.
Ms. Elliott graduated from DePaul University College of Law and, while there, Ms. Elliott co-founded, as Co-Editor-In-Chief, the DePaul Journal of Women, Gender and the Law, the first legal journal in Illinois dedicated to women and gender legal issues. She also served for 2 years as Editor of DePaul’s public interest law newsletter, “The Advocate.”
In addition to her legal experience, Ms. Elliott has more than 20 years of non-legal experience, including several years’ employment in the American Bar Association’s International Liaison Office and several years with Fortune 500 companies, including a former “Big 8 Accounting Firm” and a leading international management consulting firm.
Throughout Ms. Elliott's career, she has also assisted entrepreneurs in creating viable business planning solutions, such as creating and implementing marketing plans, strategic operation plans, securing capital, and business succession. She has worked with start-ups in the personal care, healthcare, small manufacturing, and nonprofit sectors. This experience provides a solid foundation for the business advisory services she provides to small business owners.
Ms. Elliott has received numerous awards, starting in law school and continuing through her legal career, for her commitment to advocating for the rights of marginalized individuals and communities.
Besides her blog started in 2011, “The Lotus Rules,” (formerly, “The Shark Free Zone”), Ms. Elliott's publications include “Improving Afghanistan Maternal Mortality Rates despite the Lack of the Rule of Law,” International Human Rights Law Institute (IHRLI) Human Rights and Rule of Law Review, Fall 2010; “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: What the Reversal of U.S. Asylum Law Means to Advocates and Women Asylum Seekers,” The Women's Advocate, Fall 2009; and “Catching Up with International Criminals in the Twenty-First Century: Modifying and Accelerating U.S. Extradition,” White Paper, Library of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, Spring 2009. Ms. Elliott is also the author of the non-fiction book, “Ms. Thang, Real Knights Don't Show Up at 3 in the Morning,” published by Pocket Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster.
DePaul University College of Law, International Law
Northwestern University, Political Science, International Relations