Randy is a partner at Williams & Baerson, LLC. He has been engaged in the practice of law in Chicago for over 30 years. For 12 of those years, Randy was associated with and a partner in the firm of Baker & McKenzie, where he was a member of the Tax Department. Prior to that, he was a Vice President in the Trust Department of Continental Bank. His practice is specialized in individual tax and estate planning, often for family-owned businesses and for clients with international investments.
A native of Kansas, Randy graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and Political Science, and received his law degree from Southern Methodist University. He received an LL.M. in taxation from New York University. Upon graduation from law school, Randy served one year as a Briefing Attorney to the Supreme Court of Texas.
Randy has chaired committees of the American Bar Association’s Tax and Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Sections; the Illinois State Bar Association’s Estate Planning Section Council; and committees of the Chicago Bar Association. He is a member of the Chicago Estate Planning Council, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, and a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel in which he serves on the International Estate Planning Committee. Randy has lectured throughout the United States and in Canada on estate planning topics, and has taught trust, tax and estate planning courses at Washburn University Law School (Kansas) and IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.
For three years, Randy was President of the Board of Directors of the Alliance Française of Chicago. He is also a member of the President’s Circle of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.
Randy was selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer from 2005-2012, and has received an AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
Steven L. Baerson
Steve is a partner at Williams & Baerson, LLC, practicing in estate planning and tax matters, as well as trust and estate administration. Drawing from his many years of experience, he adeptly collaborates with clients on developing appropriate estate plans, including all forms of marital deduction and generation-skipping tax planning. In addition, he drafts and implements wills, revocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, irrevocable trusts (including insurance trusts, generation-skipping trusts, trusts for minors, grantor retained annuity trusts, qualified personal residence trusts and charitable remainder trusts) and related documents. He also regularly confers with clients concerning estate planning aspects of family and closely-held businesses, including reorganization and recapitalization of such businesses as appropriate, and preparation of employment and shareholder agreements. Steve also negotiates and drafts premarital agreements.
Steve’s tax practice includes: providing tax planning recommendations for individuals and fiduciaries concerning income, estate, gift and generation-skipping taxes; representing individuals and fiduciaries in income, gift and estate tax disputes before the Internal Revenue Service; and preparation of federal and state income, estate, gift and generation-skipping tax returns.
Steve;s mastery of the tax consequences of business formation, including the entity selection process, has made him a valuable resource for individuals forming their closely-held business structures. In advising clients on choice of entity, Steve pays particular attention to the potential income, gift, estate, generation-skipping and self-employment tax consequences of such transaction. He insures that the formation of the entity complies with the required local statutes and insures that the ownership of the entity is titled properly from an estate planning and tax perspective.
Steve has worked with many clients throughout his career, but has developed a successful niche practice counseling McDonald’s® Restaurant owner/operators in matters pertaining to the purchase and sale of McDonald’s® restaurants as well as next generation planning.
Steve also has assisted a number of charitable organizations (including private foundations and public charities) in their formation under state law and in securing tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.
Steve has lectured for the Chicago Bar Association, and is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Estate Planning Council. Steve is a Trustee of Schools for Northfield Township, Illinois, and was the former Treasurer of the American Brain Tumor Association.
Steve is a graduate of the Cornell Law School. He is also a Certified Public Accountant with a bachelor's degree in accounting from Indiana University. Steve was selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer in 2009, and has received an AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
Sharon L. DeVault
Sharon is a partner at Williams & Baerson, LLC. For almost 30 years, Sharon has concentrated her practice in estate and tax planning for high net worth clients, estate and trust administration, and charitable planning. Prior to joining Williams & Baerson, LLC in 2010, Sharon spent almost two years as a partner at K&L Gates LLP, a large international law firm based in Pittsburgh and Seattle (prior to merging with K&L Gates LLP, the firm was known as Bell, Boyd & Lloyd LLP). Sharon also spent over 12 years as counsel at Mayer Brown LLP, a large international law firm based in Chicago. Prior to entering private practice, Sharon was a senior attorney with The First National Bank of Chicago (now known as JP Morgan Chase Bank), where she primarily worked with trust and estate administrators in the bank’s Trust Department.
Sharon received her A.B. degree with honors from the University of Chicago in 1984, where she majored in English Language and Literature, and received her J.D. degree with honors from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1990. Sharon has lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and the Chicago Bar Association, and is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Estate Planning Council.
Sharon was an author of the Investments chapter of the Trust Administration practice handbook published by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education for 20 years.
Sharon was selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer in 2011 and 2012, and has received an AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
Irene S. Brewick
Irene is Of Counsel to Williams & Baerson, LLC, and has been a licensed attorney for over 25 years. Irene is admitted to practice in the State of Illinois. She is a graduate of the College of Mt. St. Joseph, Cincinnati, Ohio, where she received her B.A. in 1973, and of Loyola University of Chicago where she received her J.D. in 1983. Irene has practiced in the area of business organizations and real estate, and taught for Roosevelt University’s paralegal program for several years.
Irene lives in the Western Suburbs with her husband and four children.
Ryann is a partner at Williams & Baerson LLC. For over 21 years, Ryann has practiced law in the area of estate planning and estate and trust administration. Prior to joining Williams & Baerson in 2014, Ryann was a partner at McDonald Hopkins LLC, a regional law firm with offices in 6 locations, where she represented that Firm’s Trusts & Estates practice in the Chicago office for 7 years. Beginning in 1995, Ryann joined Harris Kessler & Goldstein LLC where she became a partner in 1999 and assisted with the management of that firm until 2007 when it merged into McDonald Hopkins. After graduating from law school in 1993, Ryann spent 2 years as an attorney for M&I Bank in their Trust Department.
Ryann counsels individuals, executives and business owners and their families on estate planning, wealth transfer issues, charitable planning and asset protection techniques. She also represents executors, trustees and guardians in estate, trust and guardianship administration. Ryann received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 1990 and her law degree from Marquette University in 1993.
Ryann is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and the Wisconsin State Bar Association and she is on the Board of the Serbian Bar Association (Past President). Ryann currently serves as a member of the Parent Association Executive Committee at the Latin School of Chicago. Ryann and her husband live in Chicago with their children.