A Message From Our Firm’s President

A Message From Our Firm’s President

TJ Pillari Picture Thomas Pillari, Esq.
Timothy J. Pillari, Esq.          Thomas Pillari, Esq.


Dear Valued Clients and Friends,

This is a bitter-sweet announcement for our Firm. It has been nearly 40 years since our Probate & Estate Planning (“PEP”) Department has been led by someone without the last name Pillari. Yet, that will be changing very soon. Timothy (TJ) Pillari has chaired our PEP Department since January 2016 and many of you have come to know him as a highly competent, soft-spoken, and skilled steward for your estate planning needs. On April 21st, TJ will be leaving to become a planned giving officer at his beloved alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana. Although we will miss him dearly, we fully support TJ in his decision to return to Notre Dame.

Prior to TJ, his father, Tom Pillari, chaired the PEP Department beginning in 1978.  Tom has carefully guided thousands of our clients through the estate planning process. Tom is one of the cornerstones of our Firm and has earned widespread respect among our clients, colleagues and members of the judiciary. Tom, who served as our Chief Operating Officer until December 31, 2015, has been transitioning his practice over the last few years. Tom will remain with the Firm as we transition to a new department chair, but he will be retiring at some point later this year. We are thrilled for Tom that he and his wife, Melissa, will finally have the time they desire to travel and visit their children and grandchildren.


Arthur E Gibbs III
 Arthur E. Gibbs III, Esq.


As difficult as change can be, the Firm has been incredibly fortunate to attract one of the most sought-after lawyers in Cleveland to succeed TJ and Tom. Arthur (Art) E. Gibbs III will join WHP on April 28th, as a Shareholder and Chairperson of the PEP Department. Art is highly respected and widely recognized for his expertise and commitment to excellence in all things estate planning, trust and probate related. He is licensed to practice in Ohio and Florida and is certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. Art has been listed since 2010 in the annual editions of The Best Lawyers in America© (Trusts and Estates and Litigation-Trusts & Estates) and has been selected to the 2011 through 2017 Ohio Super Lawyers© List.

As he has for the past 21 years, Art will focus on providing creative and sophisticated estate, tax and business planning to business owners, as well as individuals, financial institutions and non-profits in estate disputes. His practice runs the full gamut of estate planning and includes all aspects of business succession and family tax planning. In addition, Art has a significant fiduciary litigation practice, including representing trustees, executors and beneficiaries over disputes involving estate and trust administration, will contests and breach of fiduciary duty claims.

Art received his bachelor’s degree from Fordham University and his juris doctorate from Case Western Reserve University. He is a native of Northeast Ohio, currently residing in Avon Lake with his family. He is an active member of the community, having served as a Board Member for The First Tee of Cleveland and for the John Carroll University Entrepreneurs Association, as well as serving as an advisor to the West Side Ecumenical Ministry and the United Way of Greater Cleveland. He also is active in fundraising and stewardship for St. Ignatius High School.

We welcome Art’s experience and leadership to our Firm and look forward to the future with him as a key member of our team. Art’s complete biography is listed on our website and I encourage you to contact him at AGibbs@WickensLaw.com beginning April 28th.

Matthew W. Nakon, Esq., President