Top Lawyer 2023: John Even

Editorial StaffSeptember 1, 2023
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Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

Specialty: Wills, Estates and Trusts
Law School/Year Graduated: Arizona State University, 1991
Years in Practice: 31

Does your field have any crossover with family law, elder law or another practice area?
Yes, in addition to wills, trusts and estates, I also focus my practice in the areas of business law and business succession planning to help [clients] make sure that their important business planning documents are coordinated with their estate planning documents. 

What are the benefits of having a living trust?
First, a living trust avoids probate, which minimizes the cost and timing associated with an estate administration and is more private. Second, a living trust works better if there is a long-term incapacity. Finally, it provides more flexibility with distributions for your children or other beneficiaries. 

Your father was also a lawyer specializing in estate planning. What did he teach you about the business, and why was it important to you to follow in his footsteps?
My father taught me the importance of establishing strong relationships with my clients where they consider me their trusted adviser for their estate planning and their business needs. He also taught me that, if his clients called him first, he could often save them a lot of time and money. 

You also specialize in guardianships and conservatorships. Do you have any professional opinions/insights on high-profile cases like those of Britney Spears and Amanda Bynes?
Life is complicated. Without knowing all the facts, I would hate to speculate. In my experience, in most cases where families are seeking to have a guardian or conservator appointed for their incapacitated relative, the family members are trying to do the right thing to take care of their loved one.

You’re a big hiker! Favorite trails in the Valley?
Although my favorite hikes are located in the Grand Canyon, I love the many hikes available here in the Valley. My favorite hikes are Piestewa Peak, Camelback – both the Echo Canyon and the Cholla trails – and the other hikes in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. 

What is the most overrated movie or TV show in the genre?
Suits. The series makes it appear that all aspects of the law are high drama, which is not the case. After completing their estate plan, clients tell me that the biggest benefit for them is their peace of mind, knowing that there will be no drama after they pass.

How we Picked our Top Lawyers

PHOENIX magazine generates its Top Lawyers list via an online survey of practicing attorneys in the Greater Phoenix area. Partnering with Colorado Springs-based information research firm Data Joe, PHOENIX disseminates emails to each of the roughly 16,000 active attorneys licensed with the State Bar of Arizona, directing them to an online portal managed by Data Joe. The survey, which takes place over six weeks, asks respondents to provide the names of up to three attorneys they deem the best in 39 legal specialties. To spread the votes democratically, respondents are asked to nominate at least one attorney in each category who works in a firm other than their own.

At the conclusion of the voting, Data Joe tallies the votes digitally and verifies that vote recipients are in good standing with the State Bar. PHOENIX editors then set the vote thresholds in a manner that ensures the top 10 to 20 percent of vote-getters in each category make the Top Lawyers list. Our fact-checkers then call each attorney on the final list to confirm their affiliation with a Valley-based firm and obtain accurate contact information.

PHOENIX does not give preference to attorneys who advertise. Top Lawyers earn their place on the list purely by virtue of the votes they receive, and our sales staff does not see the list until the lawyers have been confirmed by our fact-checkers. 2023 is the second year PHOENIX has conducted Top Lawyers.