Rubin & Bernstein PLLC. Why do we exist?
Leigh: You start, Mark.
Mark: Leigh stepped up, when an old friend who taught at the KU law school asked her to look out for a student from Tucson. She did, for there’s no one who needs a little help who Leigh won’t step up for.
Leigh: Mark took on a case in the fall of 2017 and needed help. Lawyers—those with firms and malpractice insurance, etc.—said no thanks, for time was short. “How about Matt,” I thought. (Actually, my brother made the suggestion … and I agreed with it.) Mark said yes, and away they went.
Mark: The trial got continued in late 2017. I needed Matt, but not for six months. What to do?
Leigh: What if we each hire Matt part time?
Mark: I don’t like that. Liability issues, for us and for Matt. Maybe we need to start a law firm.
We’re delighted that we’re a law firm, and that we exist because Leigh helped someone. By the way, we lucked out big time, for Matt Scarber is one fine young lawyer. (The case did get tried on August 2018. Matt’s help was invaluable, and in his first year as a lawyer he helped try a two-week jury trial.)
I’m Mark Rubin. I have been a lawyer for almost 40 years. My primary practice areas have always included business and real estate matters, probate and estate and incapacity planning (including trust and estate litigation), and ethics and professional responsibility aka the law of lawyering. (More recently, as part-time General Counsel for Pima Medical Institute—a private, allied health, vocational school—I have learned much about education law.) I have been in Tucson for 59+ years. I graduated from Beloit College and from the U of A College of Law.
Hi there! I’m Leigh. I’ve been practicing law for more than 25 years. Early on I handled mental health and juvenile cases. For most of the last 20 years I have limited my practice to elder law matters, which includes probate—decedent’s estates, guardianships / conservatorships, and trust matters—and estate and incapacity planning. I graduated from the U of A College of Law; earlier, I got my bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and an M.A. in Philosophy from New York University.
I’m Matt Scarber. I’m a Tucson native. I graduated from Santa Rita High School and the U of A; then, I went to and graduated from the KU Law School in Lawrence, KS. I focus my practice in the areas of decedent’s estates, guardianships and conservatorships, and estate and incapacity planning. I started working for Mark in November 2017 and came with him when he and Leigh formed Rubin & Bernstein.
Leigh and Mark have served clients for more than 60 years. In the world of elder law, we see lots of upset and strong feelings. Mark likens many disputes, after mom and dad are demented or dead, to sibling divorces.
Always, we focus on identifying the problem and the desired / best solution. If we think we can get to a positive solution, we’re available and think we can add value. Contrariwise, if we see a protracted battle on the horizon, with fees exceeding what everyone is fighting about, we will pass.
A few more thoughts. First, Leigh’s a wizard when someone needs a guardian or conservator, quickly. She knows how to do emergency cases, and gets the job done almost every time.
Second, we shine in complex cases which involve business or real estate assets. Mark’s experience as a business and real estate lawyer adds real value, as does our focus on solving problems.
At the end of the day, we can say this about our problem-solving philosophy:
We put our clients first, ahead of our fees.
We’re not shy about telling people we don’t think we can help them, because what they will pay us exceeds what we think we can recover. If we think we can accomplish our clients’ goals and make the economics work, we’re delighted to be involved. And if we don’t think we can get to a sensible, desirable outcome? We’ll pass.
We try really hard to offer our services in a competent, friendly manner. We enjoy our work, like our clients, and look forward to showing up every day, to make the world a little easier for those among us who need help!
Our Canine Corps
Our three dogs join us at the office every day. By age, they are June Carter, Ozzie Smith, and Max Atticus Finch. June* and Ozzie belong to Leigh and are Cardigan Corgis. Max lives with Mark, and his identity puzzles us. Schnauzer for sure, and maybe some Terrier or Poodle or both.
Serious concerns about leaving dogs home alone every day aside, we believe our crew matters greatly in our practice. We live in the era of service dogs. Some—seemingly a minority—don’t buy the whole notion. In our world, though, we think the dogs relax our clients. Seeing “the Lawyer” stresses most people, and if we can do anything to dial down the anxiety, we’re all for it.
Then there’s us, our staff, and the dogs. They nuzzle. They warm the feet. They beg for treats. They need to be walked. Having them in the office helps the humans at Rubin & Bernstein maintain a level of calm, as we take on our clients’ challenges.
The names? June was June Carter when Leigh got her. Leigh named Ozzie—who is, as it happens, June’s son—after Ozzie Smith, the great St. Louis Cardinals shortstop. (The name fits, both because Corgis are short, and because Ozzie the dog does some major league air acrobatics when he’s chasing Frisbees.) Max is named after Mark’s grandfather, who was also an attorney.
*June left us and this corporeal world on July 2, 2021. Every day, we miss her sweet and calm nature. RIP, Sweetie!