Prentiss Willson, Jr.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan

With more than 40 years of experience in state and local tax, Prentiss Willson is widely recognized as the dean of California taxation, having participated in approximately a dozen state and local tax cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and represented hundreds of taxpayers in disputes in California and across the country. Mr. Willson currently works at the Sacramento, California offices of Sutherland.
     Prentiss began his career at Morrison & Foerster LLP, where at various times he was managing partner of the San Francisco office, chair of the firm’s tax department and chair of the firm’s state and local tax group. In 1998, he moved to Ernst & Young LLP as partner and national director of state and local tax practice and procedure. After retiring from Ernst & Young in 2002, Prentiss started his own law practice advising clients across the country, and he began working with Sutherland in 2012.
     A frequent speaker and author on state and local taxation, Prentiss taught tax courses at Stanford Law School, University of San Francisco Law School and Golden Gate University Graduate School of Taxation.
     Prentiss is a member of the Executive Committee of the Tax Section of the California Bar and a former Chairman of the San Francisco Barristers Club Tax Section. He has appeared as a frequent panelist at continuing education programs throughout the country, has taught for nearly ten years at the Golden Gate University Graduate School of Taxation, and more recently at Stanford Law School. He is a frequent lecturer at programs sponsored by the California C.P.A. Foundation, Tax Executives Institute, CEB, PLE, etc. He has written and lectured extensively in the areas of real estate and partnership tax matters, co–authored (with Franklin C. Latcham) a section of the book California Taxes, and co–authored (with Thomas H. Steele) three chapters of the book Tax Aspects of California Partnerships. Prentiss has also edited a quarterly column on Subchapter S taxation in the Journal of Partnership Taxation.


A.B., Occidental College (1965)
J.D., Harvard Law School (1968)

Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Portfolios:

1500 T.M., State Taxation of Pass-Through Entities: General Principles (co-author)