Rafael Ruano

Rafael Ruano is the Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Attorney at Goyette & Associates. Rafael manages many aspects of the law firm’s administration and plays a key role in client development, marketing and growth initiatives.

Rafael has a varied background in labor and employment law, representing public employee associations in collective bargaining negotiations, fact-finding proceedings, mediations, arbitrations, civil suits, and before numerous administrative panels. Rafael has also represented hundreds of individual public and private sector employees with various legal needs, including disciplinary matters, harassment and discrimination complaints, and licensing issues. Rafael also has experience in all stages of civil litigation, representing plaintiffs and defendants, individuals and institutional clients.

Rafael started his career at Goyette & Associates by developing the Estate and Business Planning Division.  The growth and success of this practice area is largely due to Rafael’s individualized approach with his clients, determining each client’s goals and wishes, explaining estate planning concepts and discussing options, and ensuring that each client’s estate and/or business plan is personally tailored to best meet the client’s unique legal, financial, tax and personal goals. Rafael’s varied background in civil litigation and corporate law representing small to mid-sized businesses in contract, real estate, employment and business planning matters helps him approach estate planning issues with a uniquely broad perspective that helps ensure that a client’s estate plan works well alongside any type of business entity, be it sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation.


  • Collective bargaining representation for California public employee associations representing teachers, firefighters, peace officers, mid-managers, professional, confidential, and general unit employees.
  • Labor representation of California public employee associations, including corporate governance, duty of fair representation issues, grievances, unit modification, and decertification procedures.
  • Advised hundreds of California couples and individuals in over 25 California Counties with their estate planning needs; drafted comprehensive estate planning documents and offer continuing legal advice to these clients.
  • Obtained limited conservatorships for parents of special needs children.
  • Represented dozens of professionals with their estate planning concerns, specifically planning for the transfer of sole proprietorships or partnerships upon their incapacity or death.
  • Represented several couples with interests in large family-owned agricultural businesses, helping craft estate plans and a transition plan to the next generation.
  • Employment litigation, including representing a County employee discriminated against with regards to promotions and equal treatment due to Hispanic ethnicity.


Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (1995 – 1999)

  • Bachelor of Arts, International Relations
  • Head Manager, Stanford University Men’s Basketball Team

University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (2002 – 2005)

  • Juris Doctor (with Distinction), Tax Concentration
  • Anthony M. Kennedy Fellow (member of the second Fellowship class, and recipient of full tuition scholarship for all three years of law school)


American River Water Polo Club (2001 – Present)

  • Founded youth water polo club that is currently one of the largest and most successful USA Water Polo clubs in the country
  • President of the Board (2001-Present)
  • USA Water Polo National Youth Team Coach (2004-2006)

Rio Americano Athletic Boosters (2015-Present)

  • President (2015-Present)

YMCA of Superior California (2004 – 2010)

  • Board Member, served on Northeast Branch Regional Board and Greater Sacramento Regional Board

Rio Americano High School (1998 – 2009)

  • Coach of the Girls Water Polo Team
  • Eight consecutive CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championships (2002-2009)


California State Bar

Sacramento Estate Planning Council