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

Event

North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to underwrite the North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference featuring keynote speaker Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. The event will also feature...

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Publication

The 10th Circuit Correctly Construes “That Particular Part” Narrowly

We do not often write about coverage opinions from jurisdictions as far away as Oklahoma; however, a recent case from the Federal Tenth Circuit looked at one of our favorite topics and came out...

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News

Judge Finds Grounds to Sue California Insurance Commissioner for Refusing to Investigate Industry Fraud in Recent Wildfire Claims

Lawsuit Alleges Insurance Industry Has Illegally Used Unlicensed Out-of-State Adjusters to Cheat Victims of 2017 and 2018 Wildfires SAN FRANCISCO, April 1, 2019: A judge is permitting a survivor of the 2017 Tubbs Fire...

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News

How to Plan for a Smooth Transition of Your Family Business

Family Wealth Senior Associate Lauren Galbraith discusses how family internal dynamics play a role in transferring significant assets, especially a business, between generations. Link to read the full article.

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News

Last Major SF Transbay Tower, Affordable Housing at Risk of Delays

Real Estate/Land Use and Development Partner Charles (C.J.) Higley shares his thoughts on why the 546 Howard St. tower project deserves priority for approval. Read the full article here .

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Publication

Who 'Owns' a Secret? Whether Trade Secret Licensees Have Standing to Sue in California

If the eye-popping damages awards in several recent lawsuits are any indication, companies are increasingly coming to see their private information as one of their most valuable assets—and California juries apparently agree. For example,...

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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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Publication

Attorney General Finds Impact Fees on Density Bonus Projects Invalid

In response to questions from a variety of cities across the state regarding the application of “public benefit fees” to density bonus projects, the State Attorney General’s Office published an opinion on April 9...

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Publication

Individual Accountability in the Huawei Trade Secrets Prosecution

In the ongoing legal battle over the alleged theft of American trade secrets by Chinese telecom giant Huawei, one curious aspect is the lack of charges filed against any individual Huawei employees. On February...

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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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