David Berek has joined Baker & McKenzie's Tax Practice as a Partner, adding more than 25 years of experience advising wealthy families, family offices, high net worth individuals, corporate executives, and privately-owned family business owners on wealth planning and trusts and estates matters.
Based in Chicago, Mr. Berek's transfer tax planning engagements include grantor trust planning and lifetime taxable transfers to GST exempt trusts, utilization of self cancelling notes, private annuities, and grantor retained annuity trusts. Mr. Berek is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner.
“We continue to grow our capabilities in North America, and David is another outstanding addition to our market-leading Tax practice," said Rick Hammett, Baker & McKenzie's North American Managing Partner. "David is a recognized leader in the trust and estates field, and our clients will immediately benefit from his knowledge of the sophisticated structures involved in wealth management.”
Mr. Berek is the author of "Federal Income Taxation of Decedents, Estates and Trusts" published by Wolters Kluwer CCH and the author of "Illinois Estate Planning, Will Drafting and Estate Administration Forms" published by LexisNexis. He is involved at his alma mater as the Industry Director of DePaul University's Master of Science in Wealth Management program, teaching classes on federal income taxation, transfer tax planning and family office and multi-generational estate planning. Mr. Berek is also an adjunct professor in the university's Master of Science in Taxation program and previously taught in the LL.M Graduate Tax program at The John Marshall Law School.
"David's multi-disciplinary approach, and his training as both a lawyer and accountant, will allow him to provide unique insight to our clients," said Tom Linguanti, Chair of the North American Tax Practice. "We are pleased to add David to our growing wealth management team."
Mr. Berek is a John S. Nolan Tax Law Fellow of the American Bar Association, Tax Section, and serves as chair of the Fiduciary Income Tax subcommittee, former chair of the Tax Practice Management subcommittee, and a former Current Developments reporter of the Estate and Gift Tax subcommittee. In 2015 he was selected as the top Private Client Planning Professional (formerly Best Private Client Lawyer) by Family Office Review, and in 2012, he was one of four finalists for the Best Private Client Lawyer Award.
With 950 tax practitioners in more than 40 countries, Baker & McKenzie's Tax Practice is one of the most highly-rated and recommended among law firms worldwide. The Firm's wealth management group is a recognized leader in advising wealthy families, executives and the financial institutions that serve them. Its practitioners advise clients on preserving, managing and transferring wealth in core investment centers and new wealth management jurisdictions around the world.
The US tax practice was recently recognized by Law360 in its 2015 "Tax Practice Groups of the Year" and by US News & World Report and Best Lawyers as a National Tier One firm for tax law. The Firm was also named Americas Tax Disputes Firm of the Year for 2015 by the International Tax Review.
Mr. Berek is the latest in a series of seasoned tax practitioners to join Baker & McKenzie in North America, including tax planning attorneys Jennifer Molnar in Washington, DC and Patrick Cox in New York, and real estate and partnership taxation lawyers Dan Cullen in Chicago and Steven Schneider in Washington, DC. In addition, state and local tax practitioners Maria Eberle and Lindsay LaCava joined in New York.
"With Baker & McKenzie's global platform and renowned tax capabilities, it is the ideal place for my growing tax practice," said Mr. Berek. "I look forward to further expanding the services I offer my clients as part of the North American Tax Practice."
Mr. Berek joins Baker & McKenzie from Horwood Marcus & Berk, where he was partner and chair of the Family Office practice. From 2005 to 2011, he served as a Director at Credit Suisse, acting as a Family CFO in its family office group, and running its wealth planning group for the US Central Region.
Mr. Berek received his B.S. in Accountancy from DePaul University, and his J.D. cum laude and LL.M. with honors in Employee Benefits from John Marshall Law School.