A trustworthy, caring attorney. Isn’t it ‘law’vely?

Attorney Brian Tanko focuses on trust and compassion as the cornerstones to his practice.
By Sydney Jordt

If it weren’t for the tasteful sign standing on the lawn, one would think that Brian Tanko’s law office was just another cozy house on a Kalispell corner. Behind the front door awaits a warm welcome and friendly smile from office assistant Kathryn Cox. Attorney at law, Brian Tanko instantly appears to take your coat and offer a fresh cup of coffee, and just around the corner, sunlight warms the ‘conference room’ that feels more like the living room in your own home. Though you may forget you’re in a law office, you will be instantly assured that your concerns and needs will be met with a compassionate ear and advice drawn from years of experience.

Fifteen years ago Brian Tanko opened the doors to a law practice in Nevada, working there for 13 years before he and his family made the, “easy decision” to move to Montana. Though he started up his current Kalispell practice, he was not one to abandon his Nevada clients and continues to divide time between the two offices, visiting the Nevada office one week a month.

Tanko specializes in trusts, wills, health care planning, estate and tax planning, tax representation, real estate transactions and corporate/business planning services. Licensed to practice law in both Montana and Nevada, Tanko is also a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner. He keeps his connections with clients and the community strong as a member of the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, Flathead Business and Industry Association, Northwest Montana Bar Association, and is a Board Member for the Agency on Aging and St. Matthew’s School and Parish Finance Council.

“I’ve always viewed myself as ‘an estate planner for the rest of us,’” Tanko says, meaning his practice is not selective or exclusive; he is here to help every client he can. “My practice has always been built on being approachable.”

This isn’t stereotypical lawyer lip service; Brian Tanko truly is approachable and friendly, as evidenced by the calming office atmosphere and his gentle, friendly persona.

“My clients aren’t customers; customers by coffee, fast food and DVD’s ­ things they can get anywhere. My clients are important to me. If something happens to them, I want to be the first person they call,” says Tanko.

Sometimes this means taking the practice to his clients. “We make house calls; when I go to Nevada, I visit my clients in nursing homes and care facilities to make sure they and their family’s needs are being met.”

“I serve my clients with a pretty simple promise: I’ll work hard for you, I’ll be honest, and if I make a mistake, I’m accountable for it and want the opportunity to fix it.” “I wish I could I could say I know all the answers, but I want my clients to know that if I don’t know the answer, I’ll either find it or get them to someone who does.”

When working on a case he respects the fact that most of his clients aren’t lawyers themselves, and many are coming to see a lawyer for the first time. This means not talking over his clients’ heads and, “breaking it down so that clients know what I’m doing and why. We’ll spend as much time as we need to.”

This respect is also the reasoning behind such a comfortable office, described by Tanko as, “A very collegial, relaxed atmosphere. Coming to see an attorney is scary enough. People are coming to me with personal, sensitive issues; they want to know they can be heard and can trust [me].”

It’s no secret that law offices aren’t non­profit. But the focus in Tanko’s office is how much help he can give—to any and everyone who comes in the door. Proof of this focus is found in the fact that his biggest praises were not sung by Tanko himself, but by his assistant Kathryn Cox and through his clients. Cox witnesses firsthand how each client reacts to Tanko’s work, and sees in him, “a modesty that is refreshing.”

“He’s really kind, compassionate and takes time to listen to his clients. When you deal with wills, or probate, you’re dealing with death; people are grieving and uncomfortable. He is a calming, reassuring presence for people.”

Not only that, she says, “He’s mindful that every situation is different.” Tanko recognizes that each client has different needs and wants, and makes sure the help he gives is tailored to that particular client.

Life isn’t ‘Law and Order,’ the Hollywood version or otherwise. When you’re faced with chaos in the realms of estate planning, elder law or business and tax law, turn to Brian Tanko. In his office, you’ll be able to bring order to the chaos with legal help and personal hope from an attorney who sees you as a neighbor, not a dollar sign.

When asked to describe Tanko, Cox put it best: “[He] makes you feel like a family member when you walk in, and that exudes trust.” With Tanko Law Office, you’ll be met with experienced advice you can rely on and a helping hand you can have confidence in.

Brian Tanko’s Kalispell Law Office can be reached at (406) 257­3711 or btanko@tankolaw.com, or found at 392 1 st Avenue E.N.


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