Meet Sam



Sam entered the practice of law and a tax attorney because of his desire to help people achieve their personal, professional and financial goals. He is a:

  • Skilled negotiator
  • Tax procedure nerd
  • Sharp business person
  • Respected leader…

…and keen on delivering results for his clients.

Sam’s clients say his best attributes are his compassion, his patience, and his ability to instill calm into the most difficult situations. Sam believes his track record of success as a tax attorney is due principally to his ability to keep his composure when the chips are down and the fact that he does not like to take “no” for an answer.

Sam is a firm believer in the value of education: always reading, learning, challenging ideas, and expanding his knowledge base. Outside of the firm, Sam is a die-hard football fan, travels extensively, and loves great food, good jokes, and blues music.

Sam Brotman

Professional Biography

Samuel D. Brotman is a practicing attorney in San Diego and the founder of Brotman Law. His practice primarily centers on all aspects of tax litigation and criminal/civil tax controversies in front of the Internal Revenue Service, Franchise Tax Board, Employment Development Department, Board of Equalization, and various other state/local tax agencies. Although a strong proponent of early stage tax resolution, Sam’s practice is uniquely tailored to assist clients in all phases of their tax controversy from administrative resolution to suits in superior/district court. In addition, Sam frequently handles corporate/real estate/litigation matters related to small and mid-size businesses.

Prior to founding Brotman Law, Sam chaired the corporate law and corporate tax departments for a prominent boutique tax firm in San Diego while representing a variety of business owners, high net worth individuals, and regional conglomerates. Sam has assisted hundreds of clients in resolving their tax disputes and has amassed an excellent reputation along with a decorated record of success. As lead counsel, he prevented numerous businesses from being shut down by government agencies, saved his clients millions in taxes, and protected the livelihoods of several individuals and their families. In addition, he has defended clients against charges by the US Department of Justice and California Department of Justice and, in some cases, has negotiated resolutions to avoid prosecution entirely.

Sam also has an extensive corporate law background and track record of success in corporate matters. He served as lead counsel on several major transactions, navigated his clients through several multi-million dollar commercial debt workouts, and oversaw day-to-day legal operations for two large Southern California corporations. Sam has a broad business background in a variety of areas, including as an owner, and excels at breaking down legal decisions into a business framework. In addition to providing legal advice, Sam provides business operational advice and strategy to several established companies, startups, and sole-proprietorships. He is consulted frequently for advice for businesses looking to increase their revenue and those seeking stronger financial control systems.  Prior to his licensure, Sam was formerly with Covington & Burling LLP in New York City. As a senior legal assistant there, he was a key representative on over twenty major corporate transactions and was assistant to special counsel for two of the largest bankruptcies in United States history.

Sam received his Juris Doctorate and his Masters of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) from the University of San Diego. 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. Sam also graduated with his Masters in Business Administration from San Diego State University with an emphasis in corporate finance and entrepreneurship. As part of his capstone work, Sam 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.

Prior to law school, he completed his undergraduate education at Wabash College (cum laude) with a dual B.A. in English and Religion. Additionally, he received “highest honors” standing from St. Catherine’s College at Oxford University in 2004. In 1999, Sam was one of twenty-six individuals selected by the American Field Service for a year-long course of study in Japan.

Personal Statement

“Don’t aim at success. the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than ourself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a personal other than oneself.” – Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

“People do business with people.” – Original Quotient Unknown, attributed to Jennifer Hedges Ballantyne

We become lawyers for many different reasons. Our profession carries a great level of prestige in certain circles, gives us the opportunity to do important work on an almost daily basis, and is sometimes financially lucrative. Many of us pursue the practice of law because we enjoy the advocacy or because we are “problem solvers” and enjoy challenge of solving the client’s problems.

I would partially agree with all of these statements, but they do not define the reason that I became an attorney. My continual motivation comes from the people that I have represented throughout the years and my ability to help them and to protect them from harm. My role is not just about crisis management: it is about understanding my clients as people and working with them to build a path that will set them up for success in the future. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing a client succeed because of a solution you helped implement. I am simply fortunate to have my practice, to have the freedom of choice about the client matters that we handle, and to have been rewarded by the success and happiness that ensues from trying to do right for the people that come to us for help. It is our clients, past and present, who are the reason that we don’t settle for less and refuse to lower our standards to anything less than what they deserve.

We live in a world full of compromises. Our clients are frequently asked by the government to make impossible choices or accept trade offs that stifle their ability to live their own lives or to devote their resources to a cause that is greater than themselves. I try to help my clients understand the issues in front of them and work to create innovative solutions that are tailored to their individual circumstances. Not simply finding a solution, but THE solution.

Likewise, sometimes we as lawyers are forced to compromise as well. We handle too many clients, we take matters where our unfamiliarity causes us to provide less than optimal results, or are sometimes forced to put profit in front of what is best for the clients. Recent stories of over billing and unethical practices in some law firms are unfortunately true. There is a reason why the “burn out” rate is high in our profession, why many of us are unhappy, and why there is a grain of truth so many lawyer jokes. However, while the industry is slow to change, I believe there is a better answer. I believe we can make a difference in our client’s lives, run successful and happy law firms, and embrace the reasons we became lawyers in the first place.

As a tax controversy attorney, I defend people’s livelihoods and protect their prosperity from government agencies who threaten to take it away. I believe that we have an obligation to pay taxes, but that we should pay what is fair and that the act of paying taxes should not cripple your ability to do great things. After all, your prosperity provides you with opportunity and it is the opportunity provided to our citizenry that has led to so many great things. Our entrepreneurial spirit and our values as a culture are so closely tied to our ability to protect your ability to flourish. As such, my job is not just about solving tax problems. My role as an attorney is to work with you to help you achieve your personal, professional, and financial goals. Legal decisions (including tax decisions) are ultimately business decisions.

In conclusion, I speak alot about goals and about helping you achieve yours for much of this website. In turn, I will share one of my own with you. What I want for Brotman Law is not for us to become the biggest or most profitable. I am not much for fancy offices, for fame, or for the trappings that come with it. Those who know me best will speak to that. Rather, when I retire from the practice of law, I want my legacy defined by those I have helped and the work that we have done for them. I want the story of “Brotman Law” to be told through those lives we have made a difference in and for our story to be a part of their stories. I want my clients to experience a level of personal and professional satisfaction that they never thought possible because of the efforts of our firm and the great group of people that work here.

I invite you to become a part of that story and to make your own goals a reality. Start the conversation with us, understand your options, and let us begin the journey to get you there together.