Don was admitted to practice in California in 1969 and has been a certified taxation law specialist since 1981. He is past chair of the Taxation Committee of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association and has been selected as a Northern California SuperLawyer every year from 2008 through 2015. He is rated AV by Martindale-Hubble and 10.0 by Avvo. In 2015 he was appointed to the 21-member Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council and is currently the only California attorney serving on IRSAC. Read IRS article here
Don attended Deep Springs College near Death Valley (at 27 students, the smallest college in the country) and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley (one of the largest public universities in the country). He received his J.D., cum laude, from Columbia University School of Law and his LL.M. (in taxation) from New York University.
Don served for two years as an attorney-advisor in the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Tax Legislative Counsel. He has been a tax partner in law firms in Honolulu, San Diego and San Francisco, including five years as chair of the tax department at San Diego's Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps.
In 1987, Don became part-time tax counsel to Lakin-Spears in Palo Alto and began his concentration in family law tax problems working with the late George Norton. He became active in the ABA Taxation Section's Domestic Relations Committee; and, as vice-chair of that committee, worked with the IRS Chief Counsel in developing Rev. Ruls. 2002-22 and 2004-60 (division of stock options) and with the Treasury Department in developing regulations under Internal Revenue Code section 1041 regarding stock redemptions and section 121 regarding sales of principal residences. He has represented taxpayers in securing favorable divorce-related private letter rulings regarding stock redemptions (199443029), deferred compensation buy-outs (200442003) and stock option divisions (200519011 and 200737009) and other business related rulings. After five years of effort, in 2010 he successfully persuaded the IRS to completely change the way it taxes community property income of registered domestic partners and same-sex married couples (PLR 201021048 and CCA 201021050).
Don has lectured on family law tax problems before the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, the ABA Family Law Section, the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, the State Bar Taxation Section, Continuing Education of the Bar and a number of other groups. He is a member of QDRONES, a group that studies dividing pensions and other employee benefits on divorce and was president of the East Bay Tax Club. His wide-ranging tax practice includes advising family law attorneys throughout Northern California and occasionally those in the south.
Don has worked with the following family law attorneys and encourages other family law attorneys to contact them for references:
Greg Abel, Jessica Arner, Brigeda Bank, Lindy Barocchi, Donna Becker, Nordin Blacker, Sandra Blair, Peter Boskovich, Lynn Yates Carter, Sherrol Cassedy, Clifford Chernick, Joe Crawford, Nancy DiCenzo, Katia Diehl, Barbara diFranza, Lisa Dugoni, Ann Fallon, Mike Flicker, Shane Ford, Belinda Hanson, Harry Hanson, Jonnie Herring, Paul Jacobs, Bruce Jobson, Lee Jordan, Susan Kaye, Sarah Killingsworth, Roger Lewis, Michael Lowy, Sharon Mah, John McCall, John Miller, Barbara Moser, John Munsill, Andrea Palash, Matt Patchkowski, Rita Patterson, Nancy Perkovich, Pam Pierson, Tanya Prioste, George Richardson, Ron Romines, Andy Ross, Mindy Ross, Geniveve Ruskus, Bill Russell, Katherine Shlaudeman, Madeleine Simborg, John Sines, Neville Spadafore, John Staley, Jack Steiner, Steve Stoltz, Suzie Thorn, Michael Tobriner, Martha Uelmen, Sandy Wagner, Jennifer Wald, Gretchen Wallacher, Bill Whiting, Susan Wilson, Timothy Wright, and ERISA attorney Jim Crawford.