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Volunteer Spotlight Published October 7, 2020

Nicholas Maxymuik

Nicholas Maxymuik, a self-proclaimed “Philly boy, born and raised,” has never taken the easy route. Since he was in the eighth grade, he knew he wanted to become a lawyer. But he also knew the path wouldn’t be simple.

In 1987, Nick enrolled at Widener University School of Law in Delaware, where he took classes at night while working full-time as an insurance claims adjuster in New Jersey while living in Pennsylvania. He drove 500 miles a week between three states while trying to achieve his goal. He describes that time in his life as a whirlwind: “It takes a lot of dedication, a lot of discipline, a lot of sacrificing of your personal life to do something like that.” But according to Nick, it was worth it. He became a lawyer in 1991 and primarily represented plaintiffs until he shifted gears to defense work in 1998.

Nick has always had a penchant for pro bono. For nearly six years, he served on the Board of Directors for a nonprofit organization called the Ukrainian American Sports Center (Tryzub) that encouraged children of all ages to play organized soccer. As volunteer legal counsel for Tryzub, he won the organization a sizeable amount of money from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT) on an eminent domain issue. Furthermore, he convinced PENNDOT to construct an environmentally-friendly underground storage retention basin so no soccer fields were affected and all kids could play soccer safely.

On top of his full-time job and nonprofit volunteering, Nick maintains a small private estate planning practice. In that role, Nick has always valued the importance of making clients feel comfortable. He does this by performing house calls so that clients can discuss their estate planning documents in the comfort of their own homes. When discussing this practice, Nick says,

People are more comfortable in their living room, their dining room, their own surroundings. They’re talking about their own mortality with someone who is essentially a stranger. It’s so important they feel comfortable.

Nick’s firm, Morgan & Akins, has always encouraged its attorneys to get involved with pro bono. When Nick’s managing partner Patricia Baxter, Esq. introduced him to VIP, Nick saw the immense need for simple estate planning documents and jumped at the opportunity. Since September 2019, Nick has helped nine VIP clients complete estate planning documents ranging from simple wills to healthcare and financial powers of attorney. Nick’s service has been especially impactful this year, as the coronavirus pandemic threatened the health of many of his pro bono clients.

When asked what advice Nick has for volunteers who are thinking about taking on estate planning cases, he says,

Take the time you need. You can’t rush through it. This is a person’s life, and in this case, their death. When you think about it, what’s more important to a person? You come into this world and you leave this world. When you’re planning for someone’s death, you take the time they need. Be patient with them.