Machiavelli "Max" W. Chao received his Bachelors of Arts degree, cum laude, in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting in 1990 from California State University, Fullerton. He later received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California in 1996.
Upon graduation from Cal State Fullerton, he worked for three years at KPMG Peat Marwick, LLP, rising to the level of supervising senior auditor while serving clients in the banking and real estate industries. After entering law school, he interned with the City Attorney of Huntington Beach, and the Orange County District Attorney, and externed for two years with the Honorable Thomas F. Crosby, Justice, California Court of Appeal, Fourth District.
Upon graduation from the University of Southern California, Mr. Chao worked for Ernst & Young, LLP, as a senior tax consultant, where he assisted clients with income and estate tax planning and evaluation. Later, as an associate with Graham & James, LLP, he specialized in corporate and real estate transactions, income tax planning and appeals, and estate planning.
In 1999, he established his own law practice in Orange County which serves a wide range of clients, from high-wealth individuals to partnerships, multi-national corporations to non-profit organizations, and local businesses to overseas clients. Mr. Chao’s firm specializes in counseling clients in business and real estate transactions, including the formation of business entities, the negotiation and implementation of business contracts and the purchase, sale and lease of real estate. Additionally, he focuses on planning clients’ estates to minimize the effect of estate and gift taxes through the implementation of advanced estate planning strategies. Mr. Chao also guides clients through probate proceedings and litigation, if necessary. Further, because of his background as an accountant, he advises and represents clients before governmental taxing authorities, and he assists clients with the formation of non-profit entities and the application for, and maintenance of, tax-exempt status.
Because of his unique experience and knowledge in both the legal and financial arenas, Mr. Chao has served on the Board of Directors of various non-profit entities, including the Orange County Chinese American Chamber of Commerce, and the Serrano Park Community Association. He has also served on advisory boards for several high-tech companies and charitable organizations, including the South Coast Chinese Cultural Association, and the CrossLink Foundation. Additionally, because of his background, he is often asked to speak in-house before various real estate and financial groups regarding estate planning, income tax planning, and real estate transactions.