Gould + Ratner




As an advisor and counselor to entrepreneurs, closely held businesses, and wealthy families and their family offices, Steve Gustafson draws upon multiple disciplines to provide integrated tax, business and financial advice. 

Steve’s practice has a substantial emphasis in the areas of tax and financial transactions, including structuring corporate, joint venture, commercial and real estate transactions, as well as assisting family businesses with tax and financial planning matters. He also focuses on the areas of family wealth transfer planning, estate and gift tax matters, philanthropy and business succession planning.

Steve has served as an adjunct instructor at The John Marshall Law School, where he has taught Federal Income Tax Aspects of Real Estate Transactions as part of the school’s LL.M. program in tax.

A frequent speaker, Steve often addresses topics at the intersection of the law, taxation and business strategy, including the tax and financial aspects of choice of business entity planning, structuring real estate transactions, business succession planning, the design of executive compensation plans, and the tax and financial aspects of planned charitable giving programs.

Steve has been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer as well as having been named an Illinois Leading Lawyer since 2011 in the areas of Closely & Privately Held Business, Business Tax and Individual Tax.


Connect with Steven

(312) 899-1647 Office
(312) 933-8541 Mobile

Connect with Steven

(312) 899-1647 Office
(312) 933-8541 Mobile




  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D., 1986
  • DePaul University, B.S., Economics, 1984

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Tax Court


  • Chicago Estate Planning Council
  • Board of Directors, Have Dreams

Key Cases or Transactions

  • Represented a Chicago-based digital healthcare agency in its sale to a global commercialization partner for the life sciences industry.
  • Advisor to multi-generational families and their businesses in developing and implementing strategies to assure successful transition and continuity of family business activities.
  • Designed, structured and implemented key management synthetic equity compensation plans to align management goals with family ownership strategic plans.
  • Advisor to active ”hands-on” private philanthropic ventures.
  • Assisted management team in a multimillion-dollar leveraged buyout transaction to acquire equity through qualified and nonstatutory option plans.
  • Designed and implemented a spinoff of unwanted corporate assets from core corporate business operations.
  • Serves as outside general counsel to numerous multigenerational entrepreneurial businesses.
  • Designed, structured and implemented corporate acquisition transactions, including tax-deferred roll-over of management equity.
  • Assisted with tax structure and planning for acquisition of major retail and related operations out of bankruptcy. 


  • “Giving More by Giving Wisely;” The Role of Planned Charitable Giving, July 2011
  • A Look at 1031 Like-Kind Exchange Transactions (Co-Presenter), co-sponsored by the Center for Real Estate Law and the Center for Tax Law & Employee Benefits at John Marshall Law School, February 2008
A frequent speaker, Steve often addresses topics at the intersection of the law, taxation and business strategy.