William L. Cates

Partner
Direct (949) 252-2626
With more than 25 years of experience representing business owners and officers, clients value Bill’s wise counsel.  He has an uncanny ability to anticipate and prevent legal problems and, when a problem is unavoidable, to find a creative, effective solution.  Further, Bill is a trusted advisor to many clients who, over time, have decided to include Bill in daily business decisions - not just legal decisions.  Bill truly appreciates the trust clients have placed in him and relishes the opportunities to help them and their businesses succeed.

Bill’s estate planning clients appreciate his ability to help them meet their testamentary and charitable goals in estate planning, while minimizing taxes and simplifying the structure so that they can understand it.  They also appreciate his insight into what makes a wise estate plan and his personal attention and compassion to their individual issues and concerns.
Following his graduation from law school in 1984, Bill accepted a position with Peat Marwick Main & Co., an international accounting firm currently known as KPMG, where he structured and facilitated complex individual and corporate tax transactions for clients. 

Bill began working in the law firm environment in 1987. Since then, he has worked exclusively in the areas of business transaction, estate planning and probate law. 

Bill provides counseling and representation for start-up and established businesses in business planning and formation, drafting and negotiating contracts, buying and selling business operations, raising capital, corporate compliance, commercial transactions, and estate and tax planning. He particularly enjoys assisting clients in strategic planning, acquisition and sale of businesses and property, and the transfer of businesses and property from one generation to another.

Clients succeed best when they embrace Bill as a part of their regular decision-making process, consulting him often.  He brings clients the proverbial “ounce of prevention” with his outside-the-box thinking style.
Bill is married and has four children.  He is passionate about giving back to the community.  Most often Bill’s desire to give back is coupled with his love for sports and commitment to his children.  On any given weekend, Bill can be found coaching or refereeing on a basketball court, baseball field or soccer field.
Admitted to the California Bar: 1985, U.S. Tax Court, 1987

Tax Professional, KPMG (formerly Peat Marwick Main & Company), 1984-1987

Phi Alpha Delta (Member, 1981-1984; President, 1984).

Orange County Bar Association (Trusts and Estates Section);

State Bar of California;

Orange County Estate Planning Council.
In 1981, Bill received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Finance from California State University, Fullerton. While at Fullerton, he was active in student government, was the student representative to the Faculty Council, and belonged to various professional and social organizations.  Bill received his J.D. in 1984 from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. At Hastings, he was elected president of Phi Alpha Delta, a professional legal organization, was active in the school’s moot court competition, and volunteered at the school’s housing clinic.
Bill was born in Los Angeles, California, on June 23, 1959.  His family moved to Orange County in 1963 where he has lived nearly all of his life.  Bill likes to say that he grew up surrounded by orange trees and fields.  His childhood back field is now the 57 freeway.
Bill is often asked to lecture in the areas of business formation and estate and trust law. Among other engagements, he has lectured for the Business Law Institute on the subjects of Family Limited Partnerships and Family Limited Liability Companies, and has spoken before the American Trial Lawyers Association at Western State Law School. He has also participated in a number of in-house seminars for accountants and financial planners.
Bill is active in his local and church communities. He has been a director of PONY baseball, commissioner of little league, chairman of his church's annual fair, and chairman of the Irvine High School Food and Music Festival.  Bill also participates in blood drives, routinely gives time to a homeless shelter, and has participated in walks for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and the Wounded Warrior Project.