Scott Williams Law - Indiana Estate Planning Probate Real Estate and Small Business Lawyers

Scott Williams Law: A Story of Resilience, Reinvention, and Renewed Purpose

Scott Williams Law - Indiana Estate Planning Probate Real Estate and Small Business Lawyers

The story of Scott Williams Law truly started in early 2002, when Dan Williams met his future wife, Kelley. You see, Kelley’s cousin, Sean, was already dating his future wife: our own Shawn Scott! Of course, she wasn’t Shawn Scott yet, but that day would soon come. By the time Dan met Kelley, Sean and Shawn had been together for some time—they are real-life high school sweethearts! So, in many ways, Kelley, Sean, and Shawn had grown up together. Lacking a better term, Shawn and Dan consider themselves to be “cousins-in-law.”

While they of course remained connected as part of the same family, their professional paths were, for many years, completely independent. Shawn pursued a career in estate planning and business law, initially in Chicago, and for the past two decades in Indianapolis, where she and Sean are raising their three children. Dan, on the other hand, stuck close to his engineering roots, practicing patent law at a few different firms in Chicago for the better part of 17 years before relocating to Indianapolis with Kelley and their three children who, happily, are approximately the same ages as Sean and Shawn’s three.

During her nearly two decades practicing estate planning and business law in Indianapolis, Shawn built an impressive practice and won numerous awards for her expertise in her chosen field. She also took on several leadership positions in both the Indianapolis Bar Association and the Indiana State Bar Association. Her career and her life, however, took an unexpected turn in 2022, when she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, which is a particularly aggressive form of the disease. Shawn began treatment and went on medical leave from her law firm. She endured chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries, and has surmounted the odds by achieving the status of no evidence of disease!

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Dan lateraled from a prominent general-practice firm, for which he worked as an attorney in their IP department, to a highly respected IP boutique across town. There, Dan worked his way up the ranks from associate to equity partner. In 2013, Dan left that firm to join another former partner in launching a small IP boutique, also in Chicago. It was at that small firm that Dan was working when disaster struck in his own life: Dan was diagnosed in early 2017 with testicular cancer. After undergoing surgery and the ensuing painful recovery, Dan thought he was in the clear. The cancer, however, had other plans. Upon receiving news that the cancer had spread to other parts of his body, Dan underwent 9 weeks of intense chemotherapy in the late summer and fall of 2017. We are thrilled to report that Dan has since passed his 5-year mark with no evidence of disease, and is eagerly looking to the future.

Dan was working remotely (from Carmel, just north of Indy) for a different IP boutique when Shawn received her diagnosis and while she underwent treatment. As her strength returned, Shawn and Dan talked at length about life, values, and what they each wanted out of the next stage of their career.

Shawn talked about how facing a potentially terminal illness had reshuffled her priorities, promoting happiness, physical and mental wellness, and spending quality time with those she loves to the top of the list. She also noted, however, that she now, more than ever, had true empathy for those who had faced or were facing similar health struggles, and the terror that must come with not having their affairs in order when such a daunting diagnosis comes in. She felt lucky to have her legal house in order such that she could focus fully on her health, and she gained a renewed inspiration to help others be similarly prepared for life in general and for catastrophic news or events in particular.

For his part, Dan fully connected with Shawn’s refined, post-cancer mindset, having faced many of the same issues himself. Like Shawn, Dan was diagnosed at a time when his and Kelley’s children were particularly young—their youngest was less than a year old when Dan got the initial diagnosis in early 2017. Dan talked with Shawn about how he was looking for something more personal, more meaningful, more impactful out of his career. The previous 6 years had, for Dan and Kelley, been tumultuous to say the least, having to deal with Dan’s cancer while Kelley was still reeling from the 2015 death of her father (for whom their youngest is lovingly named), followed quickly by navigating a move to a different state. Once they had somewhat come up for air, the pandemic turned the world upside-down for more than two years. All of these factors crystallized in Dan’s mind that tomorrow is promised to no one, and motivated him to investigate a new chapter.

These talks became plans, and Scott Williams Law was born. From the beginning, Shawn and Dan have conceived of Scott Williams Law as a different kind of law firm, one that values the physical and mental wellness of its two partners, everyone who would come to work for their firm, and everyone who would remain or become their clients. This commitment to wellness has manifested in several ways. For starters, Scott Williams Law has done away with the billable hour. Shawn and Dan have seen firsthand how the billable hour is in tension with wellness, not only on the attorney’s side, but on the client’s side as well. Plus, Scott Williams Law is dedicating physical space in their new office to what they are calling a “serenity space.” And while it is still a work in progress, the idea is to provide our attorneys, staff, and clients with a space in which they can rest, think, meditate, or whatever works for each person.

Going forward, Shawn and Dan want Scott Williams Law to stand not only for excellence in the legal work that we provide, but also for resilience, for wellness, and for hope. We know personally what it is like to face a terminal illness, and to not only survive, but thrive. Our firm reflects the indomitable and life-loving spirit of its two founders, and seeks to bring, to each client project, our experience, our expertise, our judgment, and our passion—but most of all our humanity. We look forward to meeting and helping each and every person reading these words.