Paul D. Woodard

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office: (858) 444-2300 | fax: (858) 444-2345

e-mail: [email protected]

Practice Areas:  Employee Benefits, Employee Stock Ownership Plans, Pension and Profit Sharing Plans, ERISA, ERISA Litigation, Business Law, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), Estate Planning, Trust Litigation

Paul Woodard was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and spent his formative years living in the city and in a nearby suburb. Paul took his Midwestern values and upbringing with him when he moved to San Diego while in high school. While in San Diego, Paul completed his high school, college, and law school education graduating from Scripps Ranch, San Diego State University, and California Western School of Law, where he received the Dean's Diversity Scholarship. While in law school, Paul participated in a summer study abroad program at the University of Galway, Ireland.

Paul started working at Butterfield Schechter LLP as a file clerk, receptionist, and copy machine guru during his sophomore summer of college. Paul continued to work part-time during the school semester and full-time during the summers while attending San Diego State University. Following his first year of law school, Paul worked as a law clerk for the Butterfield Schechter LLP during each summer while attending California Western School of Law.

Upon being admitted to the California Bar, Paul has focused his practice primarily on general civil litigation, ERISA benefit claims, ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims, complex business litigation, professional negligence claims, breach of contract claims, qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) disputes, and long-term disability claims.

Paul counsels new and established small business clients with a range of services, including entity formation and documentation, business acquisitions and sales, partnership and business dissolutions, review, preparation, and negotiation of standard business documents such as vendor agreements, leases, and other business communications, as well as representation in dispute resolution or litigation.

Paul second-chaired a five-day bench trial involving claims of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty resulting in a successful decision on behalf of the client represented. The decision was upheld on appeal.

As lead counsel, Paul recently persuaded the California Court of Appeals, Second District, to fully reverse a trial court decision pertaining to a claim of exemption to levy of a judgment debtor's Section 529 Educational Savings Accounts and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). The published opinion sets new precedent in California holding that a judgment debtor's Section 529 Educational Savings Accounts are subject to levy from a valid money judgment.

While an aggressive litigator and winning appellate practitioner, Paul is also versed in all forms of alternative dispute resolution including arbitration, mediation, settlement conferences, and adjudicatory hearings. Paul believes in working with his clients towards reaching a favorable resolution prior to incurring the expense of prolonged litigation or trial.

In the field of Tax Litigation, Paul handles disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Franchise Tax Board (FTB) at the audit and appeal levels. He also represents taxpayers in appeals before the California Board of Equalization (BOE) and United States Tax Court.

In the field of real estate law, Paul counsels individuals and businesses on purchases and sales of commercial and residential properties including negotiating the letter of intent, drafting and reviewing purchase and sale agreements, and assisting throughout the Escrow closing process. For businesses, Paul assists clients in negotiating and reviewing commercial lease agreement terms and preparing amendments and renewals to leases.

Paul meets with clients to discuss their estate planning goals and establishes a plan to effectuate their goals by drafting both simple and complex wills, trusts, deeds, and health care directives. Paul also drafts and reviews QDROs and performs complex QDRO calculations determining community property interests where several plans are involved and where plan include both community property and separate property contributions.


San Diego State University (B.S., Business Administration Financial Services, 2008)

California Western School of Law (J.D., 2011)


State of California, 2012

U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, 2012

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, 2014

U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2015

U.S. Tax Court

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2012

Professional Memberships

San Diego County Bar Association

Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association

Western Pension & Benefits Council San Diego Chapter

Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce

Beyond the Office

Co-Vice President - Corporate Relations, Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, 2017

At-Large Board Member, San Diego County Bar Association Community Service Committee, 2017

Co-Chair, Wills for Heroes - San Diego Chapter, 2017

San Diego Miramar College Paralegal Advisory Board, 2012-present

President-Elect of San Diego Chapter of Western Pension & Benefits Council, 2017-2018 

Retirement Plans

We help establish a customized plan that meets regulatory requirements as a tax qualified plan. Following implementation, our attorneys can assist clients and their plan administrator with regular reviews and updates to help with regulatory compliance for the plan's operation, and continued effectiveness in meeting the client's specific goals.


We are dedicated to employee ownership. When you come to us for ESOP services, you receive influential legal counsel who stand beside you to help you stay informed, in compliance, and abreast of the latest developments-all to help you realize your plan goals as fully and effectively as possible.


A QDRO is a specially designed court order that is required for the division of retirement benefits in a family law case. Many family law attorneys do not possess the expertise necessary to divide retirement benefits or stock options upon divorce. We have extensive experience in dividing qualified plans, government plans, IRAs and stock options between the employee spouse and non-employee spouse.

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