Open house for David Carrier's new law office draws big crowd



by Cynthia Price
Legal News

Estate planning and elder law attorney David L. Carrier is a very popular man, if attendance at the recent open house for his new location on East Beltline is any indication.

Free food in the middle of the day notwithstanding, the crowd size was likely attributable to factors like Carrier’s community service, his firm’s deep roots in Plainfield Township, his broad client base, and the fact that he is a bit of a “star,” appearing regularly on radio and TV.

TV personality Terri DeBoer helped Carrier cut the symbolic ribbon; as host of “EightWest,” DeBoer has welcomed Carrier many times. He also appears on “Take Five” and FOX-17, and has a regular Sunday morning show on Newsradio WOOD.

Carrier became interested in bringing his message about the benefits of sound estate and financial peace-of-mind planning to TV and radio audiences after co-host Curt Benson of WMU-Cooley Law School asked him to appear on The Lawyers. (Attorney Mike Dunn is the other host.)

“One day Curt said to me that he always knew when the station did a rerun of a show I was in, because the only time he ever got calls back on Monday was when I’d been on it,” Carrier says. “I thought, I guess there’s an interest here, and I guess I’m not that bad at it.  Although, it’s one of those things, you don’t realize just how bad you are until you get halfway decent at it. But then WOOD gave me an hour in Holland, WTKG, and then an hour and a second hour on WOOD itself. We’re on from 7 to 9 on Sunday morning.

“And then I started doing advice on some of the TV shows. I always like to change it up a bit, and a lot of the time I bring props.”

Indeed, on the firm’s website, www., it is possible to view Carrier illustrating his points with small smurfs, a house in the shape of a mushroom, Superman, and a large dinosaur which may be a dragon.

Carrier’s message is that there is no substitute for assessing each family’s or individual’s needs before determining what tools and legal pathways to use, and he places a lot of emphasis on figuring out what a client values.

Another vehicle for getting the word out about his approach is the LifePlanTM Workshop, which he holds frequently at no charge.

“We don’t think it’s about the kids, we think it’s about you,” he says. “But most of the time if you do what’s right for yourself, there will be something left over for the kids when you die.”

Attorney James D. Henke, a health care and estate planning lawyer, joined Carrier in practice about two years ago.

Carrier says the firm will be in the new location for quite some time. “We bought the place, the whole building,”?he said. “It’s called Grand River Office Park now, but we’re going to rename it Carrier’s North End. That refers not only to it being on the north end of the East Beltline, but also to me having lived in Boston’s North End.”

Carrier was originally from Cape Cod, Mass., but received his B.A. from Notre Dame before a stint in the U.S. Army took him to Washington DC, serving at the Pentagon. He earned his J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a Master of Laws, Taxation degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

His ex-wife was from Michigan so he accepted a position at Miller Johnson and moved to the Grand Rapids area. After a while the firm recognized that it was not a good fit. “They gave me the boot,” he says with good humor. “They were very very nice about it, and I have not one bad word to say about Miller Johnson, but we both realized that I was not the peg that would fit into that hole.”

He has spent the last 30 years happily practicing law as a solo practitioner and helping people — from millionaires to the average wage earner — “Preserve What You Own to Protect What You Value.”

Prominent at the July 15 open house were displays from Senior Meals and the Alzheimer’s Association, each set up with its own small room for the day in the spacious offices. The Alzheimer’s Association is a particular passion for Carrier, whose website encourages donations to the Association and joining “Carrier’s Calvary” for the Association’s Sept. 12 Walk for Alzheimer’s.

Representatives of these and other organizations the firm has assisted joined the happy clients who made up the bulk of those attending the open house, but there were also real estate and other professionals the firm works with, local business owners and residents, and a large number of township officials and staff.

Though Carrier was himself a trustee in Cannon Township in the past, he has not been part of the Plainfield Township government, but he only moved from around the corner and his firm has been there since 1990. “I also think they came just because I’ve given legal help to so many of the people in this area,” Carrier said.