San Diego Business Journal selects 5 Solomon Ward attorneys as Leaders in Law Finalists

San Diego Business Journal selects 5 Solomon Ward attorneys as Leaders in Law Finalists,November 2020. Finalists were chosen based on firm contributions, as well as leadership and community involvement throughout the San Diego area.

Michael B. Abramson

Michael Abramson Solomon Ward Attorney

Michael Abramson is a business attorney with nearly 20 years of experience and has been at Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith LLP since 2003.

One of the most in-demand business lawyers in San Diego, Michael’s practice focuses primarily on corporate and business matters, providing legal services to entrepreneurs, family offices and businesses. His approach is driven by an intense commitment to help his clients by serving as a trusted advisor and advocate. In addition to handling routine legal matters, he has helped many clients through full “life cycles,” from formation through exit.

Michael’s tenacity and business acumen at Solomon Ward earned him a position on the firm’s management committee. He was made partner in 2008 and was appointed chair of the firm’s transactional department in 2017. As chair of the department, Michael lead its growth initiative, which included the addition of several highly sought-after transactional attorneys.

Michael represents many of San Diego’s most well-known companies and has represented San Diego-based clients in M&A transactions totaling well over $250,000,000 during the recent period.

Michael considers it an honor to share his legal knowledge with others. He is an active mentor to many of the firm’s younger lawyers and routinely meets with business leaders around the county to discuss business and legal matters.

Scott Biel

A partner at Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP, Scott Biel is a nationally recognized commercial real estate transactional attorney. With more than 25 years of broad commercial real estate experience, he is an expert on the legal aspects of structuring and negotiating commercial leases, as well as the acquisition, financing and development of commercial real estate projects.

Highly regarded by the clients he serves, Scott has successfully advised on the legal structuring of owner and tenant entities, project site selections and acquisition strategy, through development of the final project.  Scott works with individual property owners and investors, business owners in the real estate aspects of their business operations, including Fortune 500 clients in their acquisition and management of leased and owned facilities, with extensive experience in the financing and development of research & development (R&D) and manufacturing facilities.

Scott has advised clients in the leasing and financing of commercial facilities involving millions of square feet throughout the North America, Europe and Asia.  Some significant transactions include:

  • A Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company’s acquisition of almost 30 acres in Southern California for an 800,000 square foot divisional headquarters, R&D and manufacturing campus and related construction and site development agreements.
  • Another pharmaceutical company’s relocation and consolidation of its 400,000 square foot office and R&D campus in South San Francisco to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • A Japanese semiconductor company’s purchase and redevelopment of an existing building in Silicon Valley for its U.S. headquarters.
  • Supervising negotiations involving restructuring of multi-building leases in China, Singapore, and India for corporate M&A activities.
  • A build-to-suit lease for the North American manufacturing operations of a Fortune 500 medical device company, located on 40 acres of public land in Minnesota, with a rent structure allocating tax incentives and development credits between landlord and tenant
  • A build-to-suit lease/ownership transaction for a 1.2 million square foot distribution center and media studios in Southern California, for a leading video and e-commerce retailer, structured as an operating lease with a tenant option to convert the operating lease to a capital lease under a tax-beneficial structure for capital gains recognition and realization of other tax benefits.
  • A pharmaceuticals contract manufacturer’s lease, and related engineering and construction documents, for its acquisition and redevelopment of an existing five-building office campus in El Segundo, California as cGMP commercial manufacturing plant, with warehouse, quality control and R&D laboratory facilities.
  • Negotiated design, construction and equipment financing agreements for development of Kelly Slater Wave Company’s surf ranch and wave pool facility in Lemoore, California

Scott has a long track record of success. Before joining Solomon Ward 2018, he was head of the corporate real estate practice at Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC, managed the Real Estate practice in the San Diego office of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP and practiced in the Del Mar Heights office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

Daniel E. Gardenswartz

Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP Partner Daniel (“Dan”) Gardenswartz has dedicated his practice to the representation of both employers and employees in the resolution of employment and related civil rights litigation.  He began this pursuit while still in law school, as an intern for the Atlanta Georgia Office of Civil Rights and the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights, before graduating from Emory University School of Law and moving to San Diego in 1993.  Since then, Dan has devoted his legal career to learning the laws that protect employees, and to assisting clients in complying with, and where necessary enforcing, those laws.  Over the course of the next 25 plus years, Dan has earned a loyal (and ever expanding) list of clients, the highest respect among his colleagues on both sides of the bar, and has been selected by his fellow partners to lead his law firm for two consecutive terms as managing partner.   Dan currently continues to serve as our firm’s Litigation Department Chair and remains a highly trusted and respected member of San Diego’s legal community.  

Dan received his undergraduate degree in International Affairs from George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs (Phi Betta Kappa) and law degree from Emory University School of Law, graduating cum laude and at the top 10% of his graduating class. While at Emory, Dan served as an editor of the Emory Law Review, received an American Jurisprudence Award in appellate litigation, and was admitted into the Order of the Coif Legal Honor Society.

Dan joined Solomon Ward as an associate in 1995. After two decades with the firm, he was named managing partner in 2015 and two terms in that role (over a four-year period), until relinquishing that role under the firm’s managing partner rotation policy last year. Since then, as Litigation Department Chair, Dan has enhanced the firm’s litigation associates and continued to expand its respected partners, through his first-rate management and interpersonal skills.  Dan has also played a critical role in managing the firm’s nimble response to the COVID-19 crisis, including leading a group of lawyers to understand the key legal issues that will impact the firm and its clients as a result of the pandemic, drafting the firm and client’s responses and policies to deal with that crisis (everything from remote working policies, return to work policies, and leave of absence policies, and many, many hours of practical and hands on advice), and pushed for the firm’s monthly update letters containing the latest practical guidance for clients and individuals to assist in the rapidly changing legal landscape arising out of the pandemic.

An effective advocate and counsel, Dan regularly advises senior executives and in-house counsel on dispute prevention. Dan has also personally represented several high profile executives either in their separation from, or new employment with, large companies.  Whether he’s defending companies or representing plaintiff’s in high stakes wage and discrimination lawsuits, Dan takes an aggressive, strategic, chess-like approach to his work, ensuring his clients receive the best outcome possible with little interference and incurred costs. Dan’s ethical, practical and no-nonsense advice and attitude has earned esteem not only amongst his colleagues and clients, but also from opposing counsel.

Most recently, Dan has started to focus his attention on “B” corporations and similar organizations whose focus is not only on shareholder return but on all stakeholders, including employees and society as a whole.  These include alternative plastic technologies, plant based food service companies, and a host of non-profit organizations (representing both companies and/or their individual leadership).

Along these same lines, during his tenure as the firm’s managing partner, Dan led efforts to: (1) avoid implicit bias within the firm and promote diversity, including having Kimberly Papillon, a nationally recognized expert on the subject of judicial and legal decision-making, present at the firm’s annual retreat after hearing her speak at the Lawyer’s Club of San Diego; (2) implement certain changes within the firm to lessen its environmental impacts; and (3) heavily encourage Solomon Ward lawyers to engage in pro bono activities and various charitable endeavors, including a fundraising and gift giving drive for San Diego Rescue Mission, Serving Seniors, Feeding America and Coastal Cleanup Day.

Tanya M. Schierling

Tanya Schierling is a smart, strategic and efficient litigator whose legal career began over 20 years ago as a military prosecutor serving in the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where she advised tank and infantry commanders and tried felony cases to courts-martial. After four years in the military, she started in private practice in San Diego in 2000 and joined Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith LLP in 2003.

As a partner at Solomon Ward, Tanya’s legal practice focuses on business litigation and employment matters, as well as distribution and franchise matters. She has successfully represented small start-ups, private equity lenders, real estate developers and national manufacturers in obtaining favorable litigation outcomes.

Tanya’s extensive litigation knowledge, paired with her courtroom success, earned her the position of Litigation Department Chair at Solomon Ward in 2015, which she relinquished last year under the firm’s management rotation policy. During her four-year term as chair, the litigation team prevailed in three major, highly contested and heavily litigated arbitration disputes resulting in attorneys’ fees awards in favor of their client in excess of $ 4 million as the prevailing party. She also was instrumental in attracting new lateral hires and new clients to the firm.  In the past year, Tanya led a multi-firm legal team in presenting an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, and then the United States Supreme Court, on precedent-setting issues relating to the review of arbitration decisions.  She also adeptly resolved claims against the new owner of downtown San Diego’s Horton Plaza against claims by a disgruntled tenant.  Tanya also dedicates time to mentoring young lawyers and pursuing the highest ethics in the practice of law, including participating in a roundtable discussion on those issues that was published in the San Diego Lawyer.

Rebecca L. Van Loon

A partner at Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith LLP, Rebecca Van Loon is an established leader in the estate planning community and an asset to the clients she represents. With a nine-year practice focusing in the areas of estate planning, trust and probate administration and taxation law, Rebecca assists families and individuals with all aspects of their estate planning needs, including wills, trusts, advance health care directives and financial powers of attorney. She also assists clients with estate, gift and property tax planning, including charitable gift planning.  Rebecca has unique experience in preparing irrevocable trusts (including defective grantor trusts, GRAT’s, charitable remainder trusts, and life insurance trusts) and assisting business owners with succession planning.

Recently, Rebecca’s practice has grown to incorporate international estate planning (inbound/outbound for citizens/residents and non-citizen residents), as well as the representation of individuals, private professional fiduciaries and corporate trustees as fiduciaries through trust and estate administrations.  Rebecca also handles trust and estate disputes, including disputes among beneficiaries, disputes regarding the interpretation or administration of a trust or estate, as well as the modification or termination of irrevocable trusts. 

Uniquely, Rebecca is certified as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Only approximately five percent of California’s attorneys are certified as specialists by the State Bar. A testament to her in-depth understanding and commitment, Rebecca received her certification while in her thirties while most attorneys who receive certification do so much later in their career.  Rebecca also has an LLM or Master of Laws in Taxation, which allows her to handle complicated tax matters, including trust and estate income taxation, and estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer tax matters.