Biography

Brian Donnelly is Farella’s Managing Partner and a partner in the Tax practice group. Brian advises clients on issues involving partnership and corporate tax law for transactional matters and federal and state tax controversies. He has a special focus on tax issues affecting real estate development projects and startups. His clients encompass the real estate, technology, energy, wine, and professional services industries.

The majority of his work involves real estate, typically in the role of counseling clients on transaction structure and strategy. He represents, among other clientele, large commercial and residential developers and homebuilders, and assists them in negotiating and documenting the various agreements with capital investors in these projects. In this context, he helps fund projects, formulates tax-advantaged deal structures, negotiates and structures incentive compensation, and is involved in various other related tasks for these real estate projects.

In addition to real estate, Brian’s experience includes mergers and acquisitions, equity compensation, and various general corporate matters. He works extensively with partnerships, S corporations, joint ventures, and limited liability companies and with other members of the firm on federal and state tax controversies and property tax matters. He works with many entrepreneurs when they are ready to sell their business or transition ownership to the next generation or key employees.

He also does a significant amount of work advising clients on the use of historic tax credits, which provide a financial incentive for owners and developers rehabilitating historic properties, while preserving the historic character of these properties. As part of utilizing these credits, Brian typically begins by exploring the availability of these tax credits with owners, and then works to shape the project in order to utilize them in the most efficient manner.

As a practitioner, Brian provides his clients with a unique combination of highly sophisticated technical guidance and a collaborate approach. In addition to being an attorney, he is a CPA and has an LL.M in taxation. He uses his technical qualifications to work collaboratively with his clients’ advisers, particularly other CPAs and wealth advisers.

In addition, when beginning to structure a transaction, he strives to factor other, related topics into his thinking, including broader business and economic issues, as well as the personal and emotional priorities of his clients. Simply engineering a tax-efficient transaction is less significant than using creativity, responsiveness, and emotional intelligence to understand what the client is seeking to accomplish. Technical ability is assumed, but when a client has built up and is now selling a business, the most important service Brian renders his clients is asking “What do you want?” and listening carefully and deeply to the answer, then putting a comprehensive plan into effect.

Firm Highlights

Publication

The Uncertain Future of California’s Vehicle Emission Standards

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News

Erica Villanueva Named to 2019 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellows Program

SAN FRANCISCO, February 25, 2019: Farella Braun + Martel is proud to announce that partner Erica Villanueva has been named a member of the 2019 class of Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellows....

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News

Prior Litigation Can Impact Coverage in Future Disputes

GlobeSt.com March 6, 2019 "Prior Litigation Can Impact Coverage in Future Disputes" Insurance Recovery Senior Associate Shanti Eagle discusses how positions taken by insureds in prior litigation can impact or foreclose coverage in subsequent disputes...

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Publication

Emerging Contaminants: Coming to an NRD Site Near You!

What Are Emerging Contaminants? Emerging contaminants are chemicals in the environment for which the health risks—both human and ecological—remain unknown. They are also sometimes called contaminants of emerging concern, since the chemicals, or products...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Wins Benchmark Litigation 2019 San Francisco Firm of the Year Award

SAN FRANCISCO, March 15, 2019: Farella Braun + Martel announces it has been named “San Francisco Firm of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation . Farella Partner Douglas Young accepted the award on behalf of...

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Publication

Ninth Circuit Asks the California Supreme Court to Interpret the Scope of Personal Injury Coverage

On January 15, 2019, the Ninth Circuit certified the following question to the California Supreme Court: Does a commercial liability policy that covers “personal injury,” defined as “injury… arising out of… [o]ral or written...

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Publication

CBD in Foods and Beverages? Not Quite Yet

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Event

CWA Regulation of Discharges to Groundwater: Permitting Uncertainty in Light of Circuit Court Split

Sarah Bell will speak on the Strafford live webinar, "CWA Regulation of Discharges to Groundwater: Permitting Uncertainty in Light of Circuit Court Split." This CLE webinar will discuss the "indirect discharge" theory of Clean...

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Event

Identifying and Preparing Expert Witnesses for Trial

How do you identify the key experts you need for trial? Once you have them, what are the best practices for preparing them for trial? How do these practices vary depending on your venue, and...

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Event

Advancing the Careers of Women in the Environmental Practice: Obstacles & Opportunities

Sandra Edwards, Speaker, Advancing the Careers of Women in the Environmental Practice: Obstacles & Opportunities Join ELI-WELL for an inclusive conversation with women leaders in the environmental practice, exploring the unique challenges and opportunities women...

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