Atrium Legal Group

Screen Shot 2024 01 04 at 12 47 35 PMBy Steve Gamel

Not long ago, Atrium Legal Group partners, Jeffery Butler and Christopher Ash, were technically considered rivals. Both had successful law practices in the Rockwall community and were only separated by a few miles. They also focused on the same practice areas: estate planning and probate. Their firms were almost identical, and things could have stayed that way. Fortunately, however, Jeff and Chris realized that it made more sense to combine their practices and become Rockwall’s premier law firm for estate planning and probate services.

“I approached Chris. He had already been practicing for probably 20 years, and me for 11 or 12. After meeting a few times and realizing how much our firms had in common, things just clicked,” said Butler, who added that they wasted no time officially opening Atrium Legal Group in at the end of 2020. “It was an opportunity to have a ton of knowledge under one roof to help this community. Why wouldn’t you do that?”

Fast forward to today, and Atrium Legal Group has grown to 10 legal professionals, including five lawyers, and offices in Rockwall and Plano. Alongside Butler and Ash are attorneys Jason G. Smith, J. Spencer Smyth, and Jonathan Lyle. Creating this “super team” has allowed them to do exactly what they set out to do from the beginning — help individuals direct the future of your property and wealth, and also provide help when a loved one has passed way (with or without an estate plan). While no one likes to talk about the day they are no longer around, there is peace of mind in knowing your loved ones are protected, and that your wishes are in writing and will be honored after you pass. Atrium’s probate, business, and estate planning lawyers keep up with the latest laws to ensure the plan you put together will continue to work for you — even as things change.

The Entrance to Peace of Mind

Most people don’t know that without a valid will, trust, or other estate planning documents, a probate court decides how your property will be distributed and, as crazy as it may seem, hires a stranger, called an attorney ad litem, to investigate your family and to determine what happens next. While the state’s “plan” (called intestate succession) is to distribute your estate according to a legal code, this may not be what you want. Money or assets that you assumed would go to one person might end up going to someone else, particularly if you have had previous marriages or children from a prior relationship. Your spouse could be saddled with a lengthy list of legal challenges instead of focusing on grieving and healing, and the entire process ends up becoming cumbersome, expensive, time-consuming, and confusing. This is the last thing anyone wants.

Potentially even worse is drafting a will online, or hiring an inexperienced attorney to draft your will, only for your grieving family members to discover it wasn’t done properly – which can result in expensive legal complications or the will being declared invalid. Atrium Legal Group’s experienced attorneys will help you avoid these complications and mishaps. Further, the attorneys will take the time to listen to you, get to know your family dynamics, and prepare customized documents that reflect your personal wishes and goals regarding what happens after you’re gone.

In addition to estate planning and probate, Atrium’s attorneys are experienced with business formation, guardianships, elder law, and contract drafting and review (such as buy-sell agreements for new businesses and investors).

“There are many times in life when you and your family simply don’t know what you don’t know,” Butler said. “We ask a lot of questions and share plenty of knowledge, and more times than not, the client says, ‘I didn’t even think about that,’ or ‘I didn’t think that was an issue.’ People don’t want to talk about their own mortality, but it’s necessary. We treat you like a good friend and value your goals and wishes. And by the end, you leave feeling more knowledgeable and prepared than when you came in.”

Screen Shot 2024 01 04 at 12 55 56 PMMeet Your Atrium Partners

This is the team of attorneys you want to handle your estate planning matters because of their compassionate, skilled, and straightforward representation.

After 10 years as a telecommunications manager, Butler decided to pursue a career he was passionate about – the law. He graduated near the top of his class from the University of Idaho, College of Law, where he served as editor of the “Law Journal for Critical Legal Studies” and volunteered in the low-income taxpayer tax clinic, the small business clinic, and served as the student body sargent at arms.

Ash graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 2001. In his more than 20 years of practicing law, he has represented individuals and small businesses, including many local businesses in Rockwall County and the greater DFW area, as well as large national/international companies such as Sony, Bass Pro Shops, Smith & Wesson, DHL, Coach USA, Tracker Marine, Kroger, and Plains Capital Bank. With a graduate portfolio in dispute resolution and as a certified mediator, Ash brings a complete set of tools to each matter, saving his clients the stress and expense of a courtroom battle when possible.

Their track record is clear. In just a few short years, they’ve racked up 112 five-star reviews and won numerous awards. As they get ready to move into their new location at 1131 West Yellow Jacket Lane in Rockwall, they look forward to continuing to work for the people not only in Rockwall County but in all surrounding counties as well.

“Our goal was to be the source for estate planning and probate services in Rockwall and the surrounding area, and we’ve become pretty effective at it,” Butler said. “We want our clients to be educated and informed. More importantly, we want them to have peace of mind.”


1131 West Yellow Jacket Lane
Rockwall, Texas 75087
(469) 402-3030

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