Joseph Petrucelli

Managing Partner, San Diego

Mr. Petrucelli earned his Juris Doctor at California Western School of Law in San Diego and his LL.M. in taxation at the University of San Diego School of Law. Mr. Petrucelli was admitted to the State Bar of California in June 1997 and is admitted to practice before all California State Courts, The Federal District Court for the Southern District of California, and the U.S. Tax Court.

Mr. Petrucelli’s practice is focused in three main areas: (1) estate planning; (2) business advising and services; and (3) tax controversy/litigation.

In his estate planning practice, Mr. Petrucelli has provided counsel to individuals in the areas of estate and tax planning with an emphasis on providing services to high-net-worth individuals with an average net worth of $25 million and as high as $750 million. Specifically, Mr. Petrucelli’s focus has been advising clients who have complicated estates and closely held businesses to prepare for business succession in industries including, without limitation, real estate, manufacturing, food distribution, packaging, and textiles. Using a holistic planning approach, Mr. Petrucelli has deployed methods for his clients that are designed to reduce transfer taxes, create an environment for assets to grow in a tax efficient way, and without unnecessarily exposing assets to creditors.

In his capacity as a business lawyer, Mr. Petrucelli has advised entrepreneurs and businesses on a range of issues including choice of business entity at start up, corporate governance and shareholder controversies, mergers, divisive reorganizations, and business sales with transaction sizes ranging from $10 million-$150 million. Among the services he has rendered have been the issuance of legal opinions in securities offerings, mergers, and complex tax matters, preparing securities offerings, and acting as general counsel (including publicly traded companies).

In his tax controversy practice, Mr. Petrucelli has represented numerous clients before the IRS, Franchise Tax Board of California, and State Board of Equalization beginning in audit and through filing a Tax Court petition. His tax controversies practice focuses on complex matters with at least $100,000 at issue, captive insurance cases, and tax shelter remediation. He has effectively resolved cases for individuals and businesses who were facing assessments as high as $2.1 million.

His laidback style and focus on important issues rather than “over lawyering” a matter makes him easy to work with and allows him to provide solutions to clients efficiently. All of Mr. Petrucelli’s clients are via referral.

Aside from his practice, Mr. Petrucelli has spoken on various issues and has, in the past, been interviewed and quoted in several publications including the Wall Street Journal and Financial Advisor magazine. He has also contributed editorial advice in several books including Asset Protection Concepts and Strategies by Jay Adkisson and Chris Riser and books about captive insurance companies and equity indexed annuities all of which have been published on a national basis. In addition to his law practice, Mr. Petrucelli has previously been active in the community as a board member of the Friends of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department, baseball coach at Classical Academy High School, as an adjunct professor of federal income tax and business law at California State University San Marcos, as a guest lecturer at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, and as an invited lecturer in the areas of tax and estate planning topics by various professional education organizations.

Away from his practice, Mr. Petrucelli enjoys spending time with his family, lifting weights, and practicing mixed marital arts.

Areas of Practice
  • Estate Planning
  • Business Advising & Services
  • Tax Controversy/Litigation


  • JD from California Western School of Law, June 1996
  • LL.M. (Taxation) University of San Diego School of Law, August 1997

Bar Admission

  • Admitted to the California Bar in June 1997.
  • Admitted to practice before all State Courts, The Federal District Court for the Southern District of California, and the US Tax Court.