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From Business Owner To Business Owners’ STRONGEST ALLY

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Anderson Reynard, LLP’s Managing Partner John Reynard‘s experience as a CEO, COO, and CFO is now used to help fellow entrepreneurs to plan, preserve and protect their businesses and families.

After graduating from Stanford University in the mid 1990’s, John Reynard III found himself in what appeared to be a rather fortuitous situation. At just 24 years old, he co-founded a software company which was acquired by a Fortune 50 company within just 18 months. “It was a very exciting experience,” he recalls. “It also taught me the value of legal advice. We were kids when we sold the company, and hired professionals that we blindly trusted,” he explains.
Reynard’s experience with his next company, which was also, by many standards, a great success, still left him wondering how the structuring of the company had gone so wrong. He doesn’t mince words when saying, “We were given terrible legal and financial advice. From a tax standpoint, the company was the wrong type of entity, and it wasn’t congruent with my other plans. We’d spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to sort it all out, before I finally sold my interest to my partner,” he says.
Discouraged, but determined there had to be a better way for entrepreneurs to protect themselves from winding up in similar situations, Reynard says he took time off to travel, and began reading books voraciously. He devoted himself to learning as much as he could about how business owners should manage their family estates. “When I had my own company, I was good at running a business but I did not have anyone on the legal side that could integrate my personal family planning with my company.”
However, because John had also gained experience with several other companies acting as CEO, COO, and CFO, he often found himself on the receiving end of questions from friends, colleagues and peers, requesting his help in planning to preserve and protect their assets and estates. “I had so much personal experience with running companies that I wanted to act as an advisor to businesses and individuals. But I felt that a large portion of the advice that I gave to businesses was legal in nature.
I had no interest in skirting the line of practicing law without a license, and I wanted to eliminate any barrier that would prevent me from giving the best advice possible,” he says.

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Dedication to Preserving the Efforts of Entrepreneurs Through Education
Reynard’s mind was made up. “By becoming a lawyer, I wouldn’t have to worry about inadvertently giving legal advice. I would be able to legally help people. Both my successes and failures as a business owner gave me a unique perspective when I entered law school, and I knew exactly the type of lawyer I wanted to be, and the type of law that I wanted to study from the first day I stepped on campus,” he says.
He explains, “A void in the practice of law are professionals who have real-life experience, from the client’s perspective, in the areas of their practice. Too often, professionals fall under a theoretical realm in which the connections between the law and reality are out of sync. Until you have taken your own company through a complex transaction, it is virtually impossible to understand the idiosyncratic nature of running a business. This creates an environment where lawyers are referred to as “deal killers.” Unfortunately, this is often an accurate assessment, as many lawyers without real world experience create legal entities or contracts which bind companies and family estate plans to the point that changing times, dynamics and needs are impossible to accommodate. Too often, company and family plans fail to meet a client’s dynamic life cycle because of the rigid nature of the plans that attorneys and advisors put in place.”
Thus, with this firm philosophy guiding him, and armed with personal experience, the only thing Reynard had left to do was learn as much as he possibly could about law, which he did at the University of San Diego School of Law. As a member of the International Law Journal, Reynard was also awarded a Dean’s Scholarship for the Graduate Tax program, before immediately moving on to earn his Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M).
He also credits instructors and mentors including Professor Frank Partnoy, and Lincoln Quintana, Esq., his first boss, for instilling in him the need to do the right thing at all times, and the absolute necessity of finding balance as an attorney. “I was taught to learn as much as I could, because the information is out there. I spent and continue to spend at least 90 minutes every day reading, and learning something new. Nothing comes easy, but no one was going to out learn me. I called on all kinds of people and asked questions. I called on doctors, I called on advisors, and some of the partners of the biggest firms in town to pick their brains. I have never been turned down for a coffee meeting. We are all in the businesses of helping people,” he says.

Protecting Others by Partnering With an Established Pro
By 2013, Reynard found the perfect opportunity to continue to learn, while building the firm he’d always dreamed of. That came through the chance to partner with Harvard Law School Graduate, and AV-Rated Attorney David C. Anderson, who has served the San Diego legal community with premium wealth strategy design and estate planning services for nearly 40 years. According to Reynard, the dynamic between the two was apparent from the start. “It was the perfect blend of old school, and new school,” Anderson confirms.
Continuing, Reynard says, “Over the last four years, he has taught me much more than just how to estate plan. He’s shown me how to have a family, a business and how to balance the two. He took my young legal background, and my business experience, and blended it with his decades of expertise in estate planning. I honestly partnered with one of the best lawyers in San Diego. His mentorship and experience has allowed me to practice at a level that I believe puts me above my immediate peers,” he adds sincerely.
Together Anderson and Reynard have created something truly unique in a field which, Reynard admits, has a lot of attorneys. “There are a number of great firms in our area of expertise. Since much of our work is transactional, we have the great pleasure of working with many of these firms, and I find that we are collectively able to bring great planning to our clients.”
“We also fill a gap between solo and larger firms. We have a bit more bandwidth than solo firms, which allows us to service more complex and involved matters. But we don’t have the large overhead that many of our larger competitors have, which enables us to be very competitive with our pricing,” Anderson adds.
“Our typical clients are business owners or professionals who have a family. We do not have a specific dollar amount or level of complexity as a requirement to use our services. We have new families and professionals who are just starting their adult lives as clients. We also have incredibly complex, multigenerational family businesses that involve sophisticated and technical tax and structural advice. I guess you could say that we help families and business owners structure their personal and business entities in a cohesive integrated plan,” Reynard says. We are different from others in that we understand the need to connect professional and personal planning. Too many people have a disconnect there. They have an insurance agent, and a financial planner, and a lawyer, but no one is communicating with anyone else. We can serve as the glue in between.”
However, there are distinct differences between Anderson Reynard LLP, and other estate planning firms. “We truly focus on this area of law. Our problem cases arise when other lawyers are getting out of their area of expertise and provide plans that do not work. Additionally, non-lawyer services give the public the perception that trusts and estates can be handled with boilerplate forms. This is a major problem in the legal community and is in fact, a contributing factor to our decision to have a full-time probate litigator on staff,” Reynard says.
Specific cases which Anderson Reynard, LLP have clearly succeeded in protecting their clients include one case wherein they were brought into an estate that had serious tax and structure problems. “One of the family planners had concerns that various trusts which a family had purchased did not work the way that the original attorney had promised. Once we reviewed the plan, it was apparent that the trusts did not work, and serious changes needed to be made. We were able to collaborate with the family advisors to fix the issues and put the family back on firm ground. The solution we found was able to fix an otherwise seven-figure tax problem,” Reynard recalls.
In another case, where the firm was able to protect a client, Reynard recalls helping an elderly long-time client of the office. “He came in and explained a new business investment he had made. The deal did not seem like something a retired individual on a fixed income should be involved in. We were able to put a hold on the project and were able to help the family with notifying appropriate authorities. It turned out to be a scam and the individual ended up being picked up by the FBI and is now in jail.”

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Planning the Firm’s Focus for the Future
With a thriving practice blending Anderson’s longevity in the practice, along with Reynard’s dedication to staying atop of emerging issues in the field, including the effects of technology on digital assets and the globalization of wealth, the firm remains committed to providing service to clients which includes communication, in ways that clients prefer.
“We are as technologically capable as our clients and peers want us to be. We have a very innovative blend of old school, intimate client care, with the ability to be completely digital for our tech-oriented clients and peers. Our systems track the technological ability of our clients so that our office communicates in their preferred medium. There is a lot of talk today about becoming digital and paperless. I believe this is a risk when dealing with clients that do not understand the technology. A client may inadvertently open themselves up to a cyber-attack while trying to access or receive digital files. If our clients want printed invoices, we are happy to oblige,” he says.
In addition, the firm intends to stay the course when it comes to personalized attention. “It is not uncommon for our first meeting with a client to last for two hours. “We need to instill confidence in all family members, so we take whatever time is necessary to do so,” Reynard says.
Not surprisingly, the firm is already growing, with offices in both San Diego and Orange County, and Reynard is predicting that the breakdown of their practice will evolve as well. “I expect our litigation team to grow over the next five years. I also expect to keep working hard and remaining focused on building the best reputation possible. I am not expecting fast growth, I expect calculated, organic growth with careful and deliberate progress. We will stick to our areas of expertise in Trusts and Estates, Estate Tax, Business Law, Real Estate Transactions, and Trust and Probate Litigation. We don’t go outside of our wheelhouse.”
Of course, in an effort to make sure that Reynard is fulfilling his mission of educating others, he’ll also be continuing his own education, and providing opportunities for his attorneys and staff to seek out additional educational opportunities. Personally, he’s working towards earning his Certified Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Specialist designation from the California Bar of Legal Specialization.
Yet, Reynard will always remember the advice of his early mentors when it comes to maintaining balance. “Our team enjoys what we do. It’s a vibrant environment, which keeps everyone’s mind fresh and keeps our work stimulating. We take our work seriously, and I know that our team counts on us for a stable job, so we are here to support everyone on our team with whatever they need. There is just no reason not to enjoy what we do,” he says.
Personally, when he’s not in the office, Reynard says spending time with his wife Lisa, their 16-month-old daughter, and their Labrador, is his favorite way to enjoy his time off, particularly if it involves spending time in the ocean, or traveling.

Contact
John Reynard III, Esq.
Anderson Reynard, LLC
john@arlawplanners.com
619.220.8688
arlawplanners.com

San Diego Office
2468 Historic Decatur Road
Suite 220
San Diego, CA 92106
Irvine Office
110 Pacifica, Suite 130
Irvine, CA 92618

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» EDUCATION

  • Stanford University, B.A., Psychology – 1997
  • University of San Diego, Juris Doctor – 2009
  • International Law Journal
  • University of San Diego, Master of Laws – Taxation – 2010
  • Dean's Scholarship for the Graduate Tax Program
  • Tutor – State, Federal Income and Estate Tax

» LICENSES & AWARDS

  • Licensed California Real Estate Broker
  • Best of the Bar, San Diego Business Journal, 2016

» MEMBERSHIPS

  • Advisory Board Member, Family Promise of Orange County
  • North County Estate Planning Council
  • Estate Planning Council of San Diego
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Member
  • Orange County Bar Association, Member
  • Orange County Association of Realtors, Member
  • San Diego Association of Realtors, Member

» BAR ADMISSIONS

  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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