Samuel D. Brotman comes from humble beginnings in Dallas, Texas, a city known for its cosmopolitan feel fueled by the booming oil industry. As a part of his upbringing, Sam took part in Cotillion, a coming of age exercise in dance and social manners that created many of the values and characteristics he enjoys today.
Ambitious, even as a young man, Sam applied for a year-long study-abroad program with the American Field Service when he was sixteen and was chosen to spend a year as a high school exchange student in Osaka, Japan. He quickly learned the language and over the course of his time there, experienced the differences in business, mindset and values that are a unique part of Japanese culture.
Having the ability to engage in such a dramatic cultural shift sharpened his sense of being a “student of the world” and led to his ongoing love for travel, something he now is teaching to his three children. From that experience, he came home a much more mature young person energized to set out and create his own path in life.
Sam attended Wabash College in Indiana and later St. Catherine’s College at Oxford University, where he received a “highest honors” standing in 2004. At this formative point in his education, Sam decided to pursue a career in law. He applied to law firms all over the country and was offered the position of legal assistant at the prestigious New York City law firm Covington & Burling LLP.
Working in their Corporate Law group for the next two years, Sam was a key representative on over twenty major corporate transactions and was assistant to special counsel for, at the time, two of the largest bankruptcies in United States history. One of his most memorable deals was taking a healthcare company public through a six-month process where he realized he wanted to be an advocate for businesses of all sizes.
After deciding to attend law school at the University of San Diego, Sam earned a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree, a Master of Laws, Taxation (LL.M.), and then, an MBA degree at San Diego State University, focusing on entrepreneurship, finance and accounting. While in law school, he was professionally certified as a mediator and won numerous awards for oral and written advocacy. He was also a past president of the USD Vis Moot International Arbitrations team and led his team to the most accolades in school history.
As part of Sam’s MBA capstone work, he made recommendations implemented by the City of San Diego’s Economic Development Department and was commended by the city and the university for exemplary work in helping to create jobs and grow the city’s economy.
Initially employed as an in-house attorney for a management consulting company, Sam refined his legal work at a boutique tax firm in San Diego where he realized his love for tax controversy work. Specifically, he aligned himself with small to midsize business owners who had been treated unfairly by the government and owed more than they could pay. In this capacity, he began employing his knowledge of tax law and how the law is enforced to find collaborative solutions that save his clients from having to fight it out in court.
In 2013, Sam founded Brotman Law, recognized in 2018 by Law Firm 500 as the 14th fastest-growing law firm in the United States. In 2016 – and every year since – Sam has been nominated as a “Super Lawyer – Rising Start” which recognizes the top 2.5% of lawyers, nationwide. And in his home base of San Diego, Sam has been nominated to San Diego’s “Best of the Bar” list of recommended attorneys.
In a case that defines the way Sam practices law, he recently was retained by a widow whose husband passed away leaving her with $500K tax debt while also having to raise her two kids. Approaching this situation with earnest compassion, Sam told her to move on with her life and let him take care of her situation.
“When going through a life-changing situation like this, people are frozen and feel like they are going up against this major force. They are so overwhelmed, they don’t even know the right questions to ask, let alone who to hire. It’s an area that shouldn’t be as complicated as it is - our tax code in the United States is made up of oceans and oceans of tax materials.”
Recognizing the importance of being his clients’ best advocate, Sam takes an administrative rather than a litigious approach to solving tax problems, which has resulted in a collaborative, rather than a combative, relationship with the government. Having worked in this area for a long time – and achieving stellar results overall – Sam is able to utilize his knowledge of tax law and the way it is enforced to bring about a positive outcome.
When he’s not working, Sam enjoys good food and wine as he considers himself a “food traveler.” He and his wife and three children travel once a year to far off locales to acquaint his children with new cultural experiences. So far, they have traveled to Europe (four countries/23 days), the Dominican Republic (two weeks), and Machu Picchu in Peru. In the future, he hopes to visit Singapore, the Maldives, Southeast Asia, India, and Africa.
“When you travel abroad, it puts your life in perspective and you realize how big the universe is – yet, at the same time, how small it is. I’m proud of being from Texas. I think I learned a lot of the values I exhibit today that allow me to make connections with both my clients and administrative or government officials. Those connections and the strategies we employ at Brotman Law are the essence of who we are as a tax firm and allow us to make a real impact when clients need our help.”