William Vincent’s law office in Elbow Lake is unlike most law offices. Perhaps it is Vincent’s soft Kansas drawl, or the fact he is apt to be dressed in a flannel shirt and blue jeans instead of a suit and tie, or the fact he has, so far, neglected to hang his various degrees on the walls.
“This is not a stuffy place,” said Vincent. “I want clients to be comfortable.”
Vincent was born and grew up in Emporia, Kansas, and at first received a degree in accounting at Emporia State.
“Then a counselor told me I should either get a masters degree or an MBA, but I wasn’t really interested in that,” he said.
Someone else suggested Vincent think about law school, so he enrolled at William Mitchell Law School in St. Paul, Minnesota, and with his background in accounting, it made sense to go into tax law. Married to current WCA Secondary Principal Claire Vincent, the couple moved to Duluth around 1993 for a couple of years where he worked in tax law, then back to the Twin Cities where he went into a partnership until 2000 when he opened his own law office, in two locations, in Minnetonka.
Tax law, and especially tax controversy law, is a specialized type of law, and not very many attorneys practice it. In fact, Vincent and his partner were the largest such type law firm between Chicago and California.
The Vincent’s purchased a cabin on Point Comfort on Pomme de Terre Lake in 1997, with the thought that they would eventually settle in the area. William is a passionate hunter and fisherman, and the location was perfect for both. He especially loves duck hunting and recently returned from a duck hunting trip to Saskatchewan, Canada.
In November of 2015, Claire was offered the job of Secondary School Principal at WCA and the couple moved up their plans. They built a year-round home on their lot on Point Comfort, and moved in. With Claire busy at the school, William decided to hang up his shingle in the Helseth Law Office building in downtown Elbow Lake.
“No one specializes in tax controversy law here,” Vincent said. “If you have a tax problem, call me.”
He added that tax law in Minnesota is complicated enough, but with the large land owners in western Minnesota, who often also own land in South Dakota as well, which has no income tax, things can get messy pretty quickly.
“I also still get lots of referrals out of the Twin Cities, Duluth and St. Cloud.”
It matters little that his office is in Elbow Lake.
“We can do so much electronically nowadays. I have clients I have never met.”
Vincent also handles bankruptcies, which can get complicated, and fit in well with tax controversy law, and accounting, as well as bank litigation, which he claims can be rather fun.
Meanwhile, Vincent is getting a new fish house ready he hopes soon will be out on Pomme de Terre Lake.