Bringing 30 decades of experience to our clients
Experience, compassion and expertise … all traits our team members bring to each engagement to help our clients get the results they need. We collaborate with our clients, helping them to understand the legal matters they face, in a clear, understandable way.
Our team is comprised of three practicing attorneys and four retired judges, with more than 30 decades of combined legal experience. All seven members of our legal team have worked extensively in the area of probate and family law while some also specialize in business/corporate matters, tax law, and estate/trust law.
FRANCIS J. RUSSELL
With a background in tax law, Fran advises clients on financial matters ranging from complicated divorces to legal details of property ownership. He specializes in family law matters, including probate litigation and will contests, as well as taxation, estate and trust planning and administration, commercial and residential real estate matters, purchase and sale of businesses, and general corporate matters. He’s practiced with the firm of Mountain Dearborn & Whiting LLP since 1981 and is a past president of the Worcester Bar Association.
Professional & Community Affiliation
- Worcester County Bar Association (President, 1997–1998)
- Worcester County Bar Foundation
- Massachusetts Bar Association (Board of Delegates, 1997–1998)
- Massachusetts Bar Foundation (Trustee, 2001–2004)
- Board of Bar Overseers of the Supreme Judicial Court (Board Member, 2005–2009; Vice Chair, 2008-2009)
- Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts (Executive Committee, 2002–2005)
- Town of Shrewsbury Finance Committee (1997–2009)
- Mystic River Rugby Club, Trustee
RUSSELL P. SCHWARTZ
Russell earned his B.A. in 1985, graduating cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and his J.D. in 1988 from Western New England University School of Law. His practice at the Law Office of Russell P. Schwartz concentrates in domestic relations and family law. Founder of the Worcester County Bar Association’s Conciliation Program, he lectures for the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Group and the Worcester County Bar Association.
LAURIE S. RAPHAELSON
Specializing in Family Law, Laurie has been a practicing attorney with the firm of Raphaelson and Raphaelson for nearly 30 years.
Laurie earned her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School in 1988; she also holds a B.A. in Education from UMass Amherst and an M.A. in Counseling/Psychology from Assumption College. Having completed extensive training through an alternative dispute resolution program approved by six Massachusetts Family and Probate Courts, she has been actively providing divorce mediation services for more than 15 years.
Professional and Community Affiliations
- Worcester County Bar Association
- Board of Directors, Jewish Family Services of Worcester (20+ years)
- Board of Directors, Project Light (10 years)
- Member, YMCA Youth Support Campaign (15 years)
JUDGE JOSEPH LIAN, JR. (retired)
Judge Lian is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Boston College School of Law. He practiced law as a partner in Zarrow, George, Lian and Abraham from 1960-1990 and was of counsel to Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting LLP from 2004-2011. From 1990-1998, he was Associate Justice of Worcester Probate and Family Court; from 1999-2004 he was the First Justice of the Worcester Probate and Family Court and was a recall Justice of that Court from 2011-2014
Professional & Community Affiliations
- Massachusetts Bar Foundation (5 years)
- Life Member, Worcester County Bar Foundation
- Probate and Family Court Judicial Education Committee (3 years)
- Supreme Judicial Court Committee on Judicial Code of Ethics (3 years)
- Corporator, Greater Worcester Community Foundation
JUDGE SUSAN D. RICCI (retired)
Judge Ricci was a partner in the law firm of Norman and Ricci from 1984-1993. She then served as a Justice of the Worcester Probate and Family Court until 2014. She earned her B.A. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Florida and her J.D. from Suffolk Law School.
Professional & Community Affiliations
- Board of Directors, Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee (12 years)
- Chair, Probate & Family Court Justices Guardianship of Minors & Incapacitated (15 years)
- Member / Commission on Judicial Conduct (6 years)
- MCLE Lecturer and Author
- MBA Family Law Section Council Board member
- WCBA Executive Committee member
- Probate and Family Court UPC Implementation Committee member
- MBA Board of Delegates
JUDGE GREGORY V. ROACH (retired)
Judge Roach practiced general trial law for 28 years, most recently as a partner in Ward, Walsh, Roach and Rice. From 2001-2016, he served as a Probate and Family Court Circuit Justice. A graduate of Stonehill College, Judge Roach earned his J.D. at New England School of Law.
Professional & Community Affliiations
- Northern Worcester County Bar Association
- Probate and Family Court Education Committee
MICHAEL F. HERMAN, Program Director
Michael has 38 years of experience working for the Massachusetts Trial Court – Probate and Family Court, Worcester Division. From 1999 to 2007, he served as the Assistant Register for that Court and from 2007 to 2017 as Judicial Case Manager. Michael is also a past Trial Court Employee of the Year for the state of Massachusetts.