Dawn Baca JD, LL.M.

Director in Strategic Planning, Partner

Meet Dawn

What do you enjoy most about wealth management?

My ability to fulfill a client’s estate planning needs, more specifically estate tax planning needs, in a more unique and effective way than many other estate planning attorneys who may be working alone.

What do you love most about being part of Aspiriant?

I enjoy working with the highest caliber of colleagues in their various areas of expertise. It’s a relief to know my clients are working with the best and the brightest in the industry.

What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?

Educating and elevating those who want to learn this area of law that I’ve passionately pursued. When that occurs — when someone knows a little more about estate planning after we’ve had a conversation or after a presentation of mine — I feel a sense of pride.

What quality of yours makes you best suited to what you do?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with people from all walks of life which allowed me to develop a very open mindset, not one of prejudgment. I think this makes me a better listener, which in turn, helps me help clients drill down to their true goals and objectives.

How should people think about their wealth?

From an estate planning perspective, it can be helpful to consider what you’d like the legacy you’re creating to look like in hindsight. Clients who use that vision (which can change over time) as a guidepost seem to navigate the ups and downs with cooler, calmer minds and hearts.

What do you love to do outside of work?

My favorite activities are outside with friends and family. I am reenergized by when surrounded by nature. I would love to start each day with friends and family taking a moment to enjoy the outdoors — immersed in the ocean or surrounded by forest.

What would you be doing if you weren't working for Aspiriant?

If I were to choose a completely different profession and the sky was the limit, I think I’d really enjoy composing piano music.

What personal accomplishments are you most proud of?

I supported myself through college working nights as a blackjack dealer. To escape the smoke-filled casino, during my 20-minute breaks, I worked with the line cooks to learn the proper way to hold a knife. From there I became an apprentice at a fine dining restaurant, then worked as a sushi chef for about three years – an opportunity and experience I am proud to have attained.


Dawn joined Aspiriant in 2016 as a senior associate in strategic planning. For over 10 years her legal career has been focused on transfer tax planning including multi-generational wealth transfers, planning for business owners, and charitable planning for high and ultra-high-net worth individuals and families. In addition to reducing client estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure and assisting clients in designing their estate and philanthropic legacies, Dawn is a member of Aspiriant’s Planning Strategy & Research group, serving as the firm’s subject matter expert in estate planning as well as charitable giving. She helps monitor changes in estate and gift tax law as well as related topics, like California property tax, and contributes to internal and external announcements and articles. Dawn is also Aspiriant’s Strategic Planning department internal liaison, helping wealth managers in providing Strategic Planning services and resources to our clients.

Prior to joining the firm, she spent three years focusing on foundational estate planning and probate education and training, followed by an additional three years in the Wealth Strategies department at Bank of America Private Bank (then known as U.S. Trust) in Newport Beach where she assisted with comprehensive wealth management strategies for high and ultra-high-net clients.

Dawn earned her Executive LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law and her Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law, graduating magna cum laude. She served as an executive law review editor and, as a published author, Dawn earned the S. Houston Lay Award for Excellence in Writing, Analysis, and Contribution to International Law. Dawn was an Academic Merit Scholarship recipient and earned the Dean’s Scholarship for Ethnic and Cultural Diversity.

A Reno/Tahoe native, Dawn prefers to spend her time in the great outdoors with friends and family and is a former sponsored snowboarder and slope style competitor. She supported herself through college as a blackjack dealer followed by three years learning the culinary art of sushi as a sushi chef in Lake Tahoe.

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