get to know us

How it Started

The Light Bulb Moment that inspired us to Challenge the Status Quo

After working in law firms for ten years, Michael saw how the upfront retainer fee, hourly rates, and uncertainty of overall costs kept many small businesses from getting the representation they need and deserve.  The pandemic only further laid bare how disadvantaged small businesses are, in part, by not having had access to legal services from their earliest stages of development. After becoming further disillusioned by the status quo, Michael & Stephanie embarked on the journey to create their own small business, with the goal of being a resource for others.

Bringing the vision to life

Michael has been a practicing attorney for over ten years and comes from a family of attorneys.  He previously worked at two law firms that handled a wide variety of legal work in both New Jersey and New York. As a result, he has taken on almost every type of case there is, with the exception of divorce because he is not a masochist. Michael has focused his efforts on employment law, business litigation, consumer law, and construction. However, he never felt that the traditional law firm is where he belongs, and wanted to find a way to live well and do good.

Stephanie was in the fashion business for 18 years, earning a reputation as a master of all trades and essentially running a $500 million business. But her priorities shifted, and she knew that her knowledge and experience were transferable to any business. Using her merchandising background, Stephanie analyzed Michael’s idea for NextGen Counsel, researched the market and competitors, ran scenarios, and said, “it can work, let’s do it.” 

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide small businesses with legal counsel through a revolutionary pricing model and personal and proactive approach to create a modern take on the attorney client relationship.

our guiding principles

We promise to do our

p.a.r.t.

PARTNERSHIP

We see ourselves as a partner in your business, not just your lawyer. We will take the time to understand your current and future needs.  We’re also a small business so we can relate. 

APPROACHABility

Let’s face it, most lawyers can be intimidating. At NextGen Counsel we pride ourselves on zero intimidation factor. 

RESPECT

We know that what you do is not easy.  We strive to form a relationship that makes you feel supported. 

TRANSPARENCY

Our fees are foreseeable through our subscription model and flat fee services. You know what you’re getting, and this enables you to plan within your budget.

Meet us

michael ansell founder of nextgen

Michael Ansell, Esq.

FOUNDER & MANAGING MEMBER

Michael Ansell is the founder and managing member of NextGen Counsel LLC.  Throughout his years in practice, Michael focused on a variety of areas that impact small businesses, including contracts, employment, commercial leasing, corporate governance, construction, and general litigation. 

Michael has extensive experience litigating a wide range of matters, including employment-related disputes, union grievances, personal injury claims, commercial lease disputes, class actions, Consumer Fraud Act claims, corporate/shareholder disputes, intellectual property litigation, estate disputes, legal malpractice claims, construction defect claims, construction contract disputes, and secured property actions. During this time, Michael has conducted numerous jury and bench trials, arbitrations, and administrative hearings in both New Jersey and New York.

In addition to representing clients involved in litigation, Michael has provided advice and counseling to businesses to ensure compliance with industry-specific regulations, employment laws and regulations, and corporate governance.  He has also assisted businesses in drafting and negotiating various contracts and policies, and offered comprehensive guidance to start-ups and small businesses, such as:

  • Preparing handbooks and policies
  • Drafting and reviewing non-disclosure agreements, restrictive covenants, master services agreements, arbitration and class action waivers, and independent contractor agreements
  • Providing guidance on wage and hour issues, employee classification, internal complaints, and termination

 

Before founding NextGen Counsel, Michael spent over ten years working with two mid-sized law firms based in New Jersey. Prior to that, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Lawrence M. Lawson, Assignment Judge of the New Jersey Superior Court, Monmouth County, and interned for the Honorable Michael A. Shipp, District Court Judge, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Michael’s experience in litigation gives him an edge over purely transactional attorneys due to his dealing with a myriad of problems businesses are likely to encounter.  As a litigator, Michael has been the one called upon to analyze all contract terms, potential loopholes, and conflicting interpretations that can cause an issue for a business or be its saving grace.

accolades

Although loathe to toot his own horn, some examples of Michael’s successes for litigation clients to date include:

  • Securing a settlement after two weeks of trial on behalf of an employee in a discrimination litigation against the State
  • Successfully represented a defendant in a slip and fall action after liability had already been admitted by the defendant, and secured a judgement of no damages against the defendant
  • Obtaining a judgment of $2 million on behalf of an employer against a former employee for unfair competition and theft
  • Prosecuting a complex estate dispute involving foreign bank accounts and trusts valued in excess of $30 million
  • Obtaining judgment against an insurance carrier and broker following trial arising from fraudulent claims handling, tortious interference, and violations of the Consumer Fraud Act

 

Michael was also named a “New Leader of the Bar” in 2021 by the New Jersey Law Journal.

affiliations

Michael is licensed and authorized to practice law in the following jurisdictions and courts:

  • State of New Jersey
  • State of New York
  • United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of New York

 

Michael is currently or previously has been involved with the following organizations:

  • Member, New Jersey Bar Association
  • Member, New York Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Monmouth County Bar Association
  • Committee Member, Monmouth County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Committee
  • Former Committee Member, Monmouth County Bar Association, Professionalism Committee
  • Member, New York County Lawyers Association
  • Member, New Jersey Association for Justice
  • Graduate, Haydn Proctor Inn of Court
  • Former Board Member, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties
  • Former Board Member, Arts Coalition of Asbury Park
  • Former Board Member, Ocean Township Chamber of Commerce

Stephanie Blum

CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR

As Co-Founder and Managing Director, Stephanie runs all the operations of the business while keeping the clients at the forefront of her mind.  She is not a lawyer and yes, she wears many hats. Stephanie wouldn’t have it any other way.

Stephanie spent many years in a merchandising career in the fashion industry working at Calvin Klein, PVH, Ann Taylor, and USPA. She had many wins running multimillion-dollar businesses, managing teams, and working with strategic vendor partners, but always felt most rewarded when she was able to lead with autonomy, while connecting with, inspiring, and helping others. She was seen by peers and leaders as a change agent and someone who could take on a new role, build a new business unit, create and lead a new team and handle any challenge seamlessly. Stephanie thrives when she can pave a way where there isn’t one, while continuously learning, growing, and improving.  

Eventually Stephanie realized the corporate environment was no longer a good fit. She wanted to make a bigger impact on a smaller scale. Stephanie cared about supporting and serving small businesses, which was in line with NextGen Counsel’s mission.

Stephanie is a vegan and as you can imagine a big animal lover. When she is not working, she enjoys working out to stay healthy, spending time with friends and family, and getting outdoors as much as possible. Stephanie also side hustles in real estate (she is licensed in NJ) and interior design / home renovations.