Stephen A. Stafford

Top rated Closely Held Business attorney in Irvine, California

Brown & Streza LLP
Stephen A. Stafford
Brown & Streza LLP

Practice Areas: Closely Held Business, Business & Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions view more

Licensed in California since: 2003

Education: University of San Francisco School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2023 - 2024 Selected to Rising Stars: 2009 - 2012

Brown & Streza LLP

40 Pacifica
15th Floor
Irvine, CA 92618 Phone: 949-453-2900 Email: Stephen A. Stafford Visit website


Steve Stafford is a partner with the California law firm of Brown & Streza LLP, which provides integrated business, estate, tax, and exemption planning for business owners and high-net-worth families. Steve advises closely held businesses, entrepreneurs, and real estate investors across the state of California through all phases of a business, from formation to exit.

Steve forms and structures corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships, with each decision custom tailored to the client’s particular tax, liability protection, and succession planning objectives. As general counsel to closely held companies, he provides tax planning, risk management, corporate compliance, contract review and preparation, mergers and acquisitions, and business succession planning services. Steve’s succession planning experience ranges from Buy-Sell Agreements, pre-sale restructuring, and sale of companies, intra-family buyouts, transferring the business and real estate interests of high net worth families to irrevocable trusts, to structuring succession plans for lawyers and accountants.

From forming start-ups to counseling multi-generation companies, and from helping new entrepreneurs grow their businesses tax efficiently, to advising seasoned owners regarding the purchase or sale of business interests, Steve takes a holistic approach to serving his clients. He frequently collaborates with his clients’ CPAs, financial advisors, insurance brokers and estate planning attorneys to achieve a tax-efficient outcome and/or to better protect their businesses.

Steve received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley, his Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law, and his Master of Law in Taxation (LL.M.) from Chapman University School of Law.

In 2023, Stephen was selected for inclusion in the Southern California Super Lawyers list by the publishers of Los Angeles magazine and The Journal for Law & Politics magazine – a distinction recognizing only 5% of the attorneys in Southern California (excluding San Diego).

Steve was a four-year letterman on the Cal Football Team during his undergraduate career, and remains involved with a variety of Cal Alumni organizations. Steve and his wife, Kirsten have four children and have been involved in a number of youth sports and community activities.

Practice areas

Closely Held Business, Business/Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions, Real Estate: Business, Tax: Business

First Admitted: 2003, California

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Brown & Streza LLP, Irvine, California: Partner, 2017 - present; Attorney, 2007 - 2016
  • Gordon & Rees LLP, San Francisco and Newport Beach, California: Attorney, 2003 - 2007
  • Gap Inc., San Bruno, California: Senior Retirement Benefits Analyst (1995 – 1999) and Real Estate Law Department, Legal Administrator (1999 – 2001)
  • Coopers & Lybrand, LLP, San Francisco, California: Associate Benefits Consultant, 1993 - 1995
  • Admissions: All California State Courts; United State District court for the Central District of California; United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Educational Background:
  • Master of Law (LL.M.) in Taxation, Chapman University School of Law, 2009 - CALI Awards in Partnership Tax, S Corporations, Ethics in Tax Practice, Corporate Tax II and Real Estate Tax Planning
  • Juris Doctor, University of San Francisco Law School, 2002
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of California,  Berkeley, 1993
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • St. Edward  the Confessor Catholic Church: Parishioner
  • University of California, Berkeley – Orange County Cal Alumni Club: Member
  • Orange County Bar Association: Member of Business Law and Tax Law sections
  • ProVisors: Member and Host of Orange County Lawyers & Legal Professionals
  • Legatus: Member of San Juan Capistrano Chapter
  • St. Thomas More Society of Orange County: Member
  • Charles Institute: Leadership Team
  • Athletes Touch (Professional Networking Community of Former College and Professional Athletes): Member from 2010-2020 and former Group Leader for Orange County Chapter from 2011-2015
  • Dana Hills High School Football’s 2013 Honor the Valor Benefit Game – Co-Chair (Benefit/fundraiser honoring combat veterans that served from WWII to Afghanistan)
  • Former Coach of youth soccer, football, basketball and baseball teams
  • Big C Society (Cal Student – Athlete alumni): Member and served on Board of Directors from 1996 – 1998
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Author, Tax and Accounting Elections, Chapter of California’s Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Financing and Protecting California Businesses, 2015
  • Author, Tax and Accounting Elections, Chapter of California’s Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Financing and Protecting California Businesses, 2014
  • Author, Tax and Accounting Elections, Chapter of California’s Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Financing and Protecting California Businesses, 2013

Office location for Stephen A. Stafford

40 Pacifica
15th Floor
Irvine, CA 92618


2 Years Super Lawyers
4 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2023 - 2024
  • Rising Stars: 2009 - 2012

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