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INNOVATION, INSPIRATION & COLLABORATION

RJS LAW Partners with USD to Form the USD School of Law-RJS LAW Tax Controversy Institute to Educate and Empower Tax Professionals While Strengthening Tax Communities Throughout Southern California

22When Ronson, “Ronnie” Shamoun launched RJS LAW in 2003, he had two primary objectives. He was first determined to make a difference in the lives of individuals desperate to solve their tax problems. But he was equally driven to making a lasting, positive difference in his hometown community.
Specializing in all areas of civil tax controversy as well as criminal tax defense, Shamoun says, “Our mission at RJS LAW has always been to act as steadfast advocates on behalf of our clients, treating them with compassion while solving their tax problems and achieving the best possible results.” To that end, Shamoun knew that the key to being able to change lives would consist of building a team of the most highly educated tax attorneys in the Southland.

21KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
A native San Diegan, Shamoun attended the University of San Diego for his undergraduate degree in Accountancy, before attending the University of San Diego School of Law for his J.D., and staying on to earn his Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.). “My dad encouraged me to get my LL.M. because it showed my commitment to expertise in my field, and I agreed. I didn’t want to be just a tax attorney, I wanted to be a tax expert,” Shamoun recalls. “It turned out to be an invaluable investment, and I can honestly say, that the University of San Diego provided me a top-notch education and made me the attorney I am today.”

As it turned out, that education was not only exceptional, but necessary in order to be able to give his all to those that are facing uphill battles against the power wielded by local, state and federal agencies. “The government agencies are aggressive. They will levy money you have in your accounts, levy your accounts receivable, and can seize assets,” Shamoun says.
“The people who come to us are in trouble, but they aren’t hardened criminals. They have experienced some event— divorce, a lawsuit, or a loss of income which caused them to get behind with their taxes. They pay their rent, utilities, and employee wages, but have fallen behind on sales taxes or payroll taxes, for example,” he explains. Irrespective of their unique circumstances, they desperately need solutions.
That’s precisely where the team of highly specialized tax attorneys at RJS LAW comes in. “We solve tax problems with both the state and the IRS, including civil and criminal cases. We are here to protect our clients. We get them compliant and help them save their businesses. It’s incredibly rewarding to prevent someone from losing their business and help them rebuild their lives,” he says.
Beginning his career as a solo practitioner, Shamoun, who was already an established entrepreneur, had his finger on the pulse of his local community from day one. “I worked evenings and weekends at my convenience store and Subway in Ocean Beach, trying to spread the word about my new law firm to my friends and neighbors who came in. I built relationships with them and little by little, they began coming to me with their tax problems. They knew they could trust me because they’d see me the next day when they came in to get their coffee or sandwich,” he says.
The more members of his local community he was able to help, the more referrals began to pour in, and Shamoun began adding like-minded attorneys—all of whom also had an LL.M. or were in the process of pursuing the advanced degree. RJS LAW grew as a result of the extensive knowledge of its individual attorneys, who shared Shamoun’s dedication to treating every single client as family. Also, Shamoun credits Lisa Nelson, RJS LAW’s first full-time attorney, and Chandara Diep, his first full-time Paralegal, in leading the growth of RJS LAW from one to five attorneys in four years. Furthermore, Shamoun acknowledges that the growth of his firm would not be possible without the continued support of his parents, Sabri and Mary Shamoun, and his wife, Melanie Shamoun.

20“We treat our clients with compassion, advocating for them and caring about each one as if they were a part of our family,” he says. “We give each client personal attention, promising a 24-hour turnaround time on all phone calls and emails. We create genuine relationships with our clients, making them friends for life. Our strategy of putting compassion at the center of everything we do has proven to be innovative. Our clients come to us scared, looking for someone they can trust and turn to in their time of need.” Suffice it to say, over the years, Shamoun and his team have been honored to serve as trusted advocates for countless Southern Californians, representing them before the IRS, the California Franchise Tax Board, the California Employment Development Department, and the California State Board of Equalization. The firm has also defended clients against criminal prosecutions by the federal government and the State of California. Yet even as Shamoun’s star continued to rise, and RJS LAW began amassing award after award, including being voted San Diego’s Best Tax Law Firm repeatedly, along with dozens of other accolades, Shamoun remained ever true to his desire to not only provide the best tax advocacy in Southern California, but to also do everything within his power to better the community which supported him. In 2017, he intends to do more of the same, through continuing to educate others, so as to be able to help even more members of his community.

EMPOWERING OTHERS THROUGH EDUCATION
“I had many mentors in the legal community, including Richard Carpenter, who helped me when I was starting out. In addition, Dean Stephen Ferruolo and Howard Abrams of the University of San Diego School of Law have continuously believed in me and all my aspirations, including becoming a professor,” Shamoun says. “One of my greatest passions and dreams in life was to become a professor, more specifically a professor at USD School of Law. I love to teach and share my practical knowledge and insights with students. I wanted to become a mentor and offer my support to students, as a resource for them to use throughout their careers, as my previous mentors have been for me,” he explains. In 2015, that dream became a reality, and Shamoun took his expertise in tax law, along with his passion for educating others, to students at USD School of Law, where his Tax Practice and Penalties class is now a required course to obtain a Master of Laws in Taxation Degree.
In addition, Shamoun has chosen to honor those who guided and educated him through serving in multiple roles for his beloved alma mater. For example, RJS LAW grants a $5,000 annual scholarship awarded to a law student pursuing their LL.M, each year. The firm also hosts their annual BIG GIVE event, which raises money for USD School of Law, with funds allocated toward helping law students with various scholarships.
Moreover, Shamoun serves on the Board of Visitors for USD, which is an advisory and support group that is dedicated to the School of Law’s advancement as a leading center of legal education and scholarship. Members of the Board of Visitors provide counsel and feedback to the dean on a range of issues related to the priorities and needs of the School of Law.
Shamoun is also a member of the USD School of Law Comprehensive Campaign Committee, which was launched in February 2016 as a University-wide $300 million-dollar comprehensive campaign focusing on fundraising in five critical areas: capital projects, scholarships, program and faculty support, and the endowment.
Most recently, in December 2016, Shamoun was afforded the opportunity to further give back to not only his alma mater, but to the entire southern California legal community through the creation of the University of San Diego School of Law – RJS LAW Tax Controversy Institute held at the Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.
“I am so grateful to Howard Abrams, and Dean Stephen Ferruolo for believing in me, and partnering with me to create the University of San Diego School of Law-RJS LAW Tax Controversy Institute. The goal was to create the premier tax controversy event in San Diego, bringing together the region’s top tax attorneys, CPAs, EAs and Law and Business School professors to discuss topics including federal and state audit strategies, tax penalties, and criminal tax matters,” Shamoun says.

Ronson J. Shamoun with the RJS LAW team. He credits much of the firm’s success and growth to the team he has assembled.Continuing he says, “We wanted to share our knowledge and love of tax law with the entire Southern California community of tax professionals. The Institute was a way of bringing the entire tax community together, regardless of whether they are CPAs, EAs, tax preparers or attorneys, not only to learn from one another but to network.”
To that end, the first event, held on December 2, 2016, was more than worth the effort put forth to create the program. “We had dozens of prominent panelists, and the event was a tremendous success. It means so much to me to be able to help support and promote the school that had given me such a strong foundation,” he says. Incidentally, “100% of the proceeds go directly back to the school,” he adds.
The next year’s annual event is scheduled for the summer of 2017, according to Shamoun, and will boast equally prominent panelists and experts, with the same goal in mind of bringing together all tax professionals, as a wholly inclusive, rather than exclusive tax event. “It is an incredible honor to be able to partner with USD on this Institute, and I’m humbled by being allowed to play a role in bringing together the tax community in this way, to collaborate and innovate, on ways to help our fellow community members successfully navigate and get through tax controversy.”

STRENGTHENING COMMUNITIES THROUGH SERVICE
There is no doubt in Shamoun’s mind that his firm’s success is directly tied to his dedication to improve his community in any way possible. “We donate thousands of pro bono hours each year. The people we help in a pro bono capacity have become some of our biggest fans and best referral sources. They are in the community advocating our services for the rest of their lives,” Shamoun says.
Beyond that, attorneys at RJS LAW donate countless hours of their time and resources to charities and nonprofits close to their hearts. Organizations and associations which are supported by Shamoun include Grossmont Hospital Foundation, the Knights of Columbus, the Saint Peter Chaldean Seminary Program, the Challenged Athletes Foundation, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the United Services Organization, amongst others.
His team of equally civic-minded colleagues contribute their time and resources to organizations both inside and outside of the legal community including Young Tax Lawyers, Habitat for Humanity, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Kiwanis, and Lawyers Club of San Diego. Many of the attorneys at the firm are also professors at local universities.

The Ronson J. Shamoun Building in San Diego, CA, RJS LAW – A Tax Law Firm’s HeadquartersOne of the most unique ways that Shamoun has recently found to help organizations including the Girl Scouts of San Diego, The United Way, and the American Diabetes Association has come through a billboard sponsorship campaign. “We purchase billboard space to donate to these incredible organizations,” says Shamoun. “We are firm believers that we should give back to the community that supports us.”
As such, he says, “We never turn down someone who needs our help. When they come to us for help, we are there. Our job is to lend a helping hand no matter what,” he says. “When you do good for others, whether it’s by taking on a pro bono case, offering a free consultation, helping to create an educational tax event, teaching the future tax professionals of tomorrow, good comes back to you.”
Good things have certainly come to pass for RJS LAW over the last decade. In 2016 alone, Shamoun was named to the San Diego Business Journal’s San Diego 500 Influential Business Leaders list, and voted San Diego’s Best Tax Law Firm in the Union Tribune’s Readers Poll. RJS LAW was also recognized as a San Diego Most-Recommended law firm in tax law by Our City San Diego, and included in the San Diego Business Journal’s 2016 Best of the Bar list. Indeed, over the years, the awards and accolades for Shamoun’s excellency in advocacy have earned him incredible distinction, including becoming a frequent legal commentator for various media outlets including Fox 5 News, ABC Channel 10 News, KUSI News, and NBC 7 News. He is also an expert contributor to the San Diego Union Tribune, the San Diego Business Journal, and Law360. With offices in San Diego, Irvine, and Beverly Hills, Shamoun’s team continues to grow, all the while remaining dedicated to their core values of excellence, compassion, personal service, hard work, and empowering others through education.
“You have to produce great results for your clients by caring about their matter and working hard. I stress to my students at USD the importance of getting involved whenever they can and however they can in their community. There is no doubt that RJS LAW owes its success to support we received, which we do our best to pay forward through our efforts in the community, including educating others, philanthropy, and hard work,” he says.

Ronson J. Shamoun

» EDUCATION

  • Law School: University of San Diego School of Law
  • Other Graduate School: Masters of Law in Taxation
  • College: University of San Diego, Bachelor's in Accounting

» AWARDS

  • Most Recommended Law Firms – Our City San Diego Magazine, 2016
  • Top 10 Best Accounting Firms in San Diego, CA – AdvisoryHQ News, 2016
  • Voted San Diego's BEST Tax Law Firm – Union Tribune Reader's Poll, 2014-2016
  • Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent: Highest Excellence in Legal Ability and Ethical Practice, 2013-2016
  • Real Estate Tax Law – San Diego Magazine, 2016
  • Best of the Bar – San Diego Business Journal, 2014 & 2016
  • Most Admired CEO Finalist – San Diego Business Journal, 2015-2016
  • Top Tax Lawyer – San Diego Magazine, 2015
  • Top Tax Attorney – San Diego Daily Transcript, 2013-2015
  • 40 Under 40 – San Diego Metro Magazine, 2015
  • Best of the Bar – San Diego Business Journal, 2015
  • Top Lawyer – San Diego Magazine, 2013-2015
  • Client's Choice in Tax, Business, Trusts, and Real Estate – Avvo.com, 2014
  • Torch Award Finalist – Better Business Bureau of San Diego, Imperial, and Orange Counties, 2014
  • Most Admired Companies – San Diego Metro Magazine, 2014
  • Best Attorney – San Diego Metro Magazine, 2014, 2016
  • Mover to Watch – San Diego Metro Magazine, 2014
  • Family Owned Business Finalist – San Diego Business Journal, 2014
  • State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition – RJS LAW, 2013-2014
  • California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition – RJS LAW, 2013-2014
  • San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Certificate of Merit – RJS LAW, 2014
  • City of San Diego Certification of Recognition – RJS LAW, 2014
  • San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Certificate of Merit – RJS LAW, 2014
  • San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year – RJS LAW, 2013
  • San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Certificate of Merit – RJS LAW, 2014
  • Top Young Influential – San Diego Daily Transcript, 2013
  • Top Lawyers in America – American Lawyer Media, 2013
  • Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition – RJS LAW, 2013
  • San Diego County Board of Supervisors Certificate of Recognition – RJS LAW, 2013
  • Top Young Attorney – San Diego Daily Transcript, 2009-2010
  • San Diego 500 Influential Business Leaders – San Diego Business Journal 2016

Contact
Ronson J. Shamoun
RJS LAW-A Tax Law Firm
San Diego | 303 A Street, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92101
Beverly Hills | 8484 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 210, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Irvine | 2 Park Plaza, Suite 1258, Irvine, CA 92614
P: (619) 595-1655
rshamoun@irssolution.com
RJSLawFirm.com

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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About the Author: Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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