San Francisco Estate Planning Attorneys
Trust, Wills & Probate Attorneys - Profiles
Michael B. Bassi
Firm principal Michael B. Bassi has over 30 years of experience practicing law in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California. Mike is both an accomplished trial attorney and a skilled negotiator, and has tried over 70 cases to judgment, including over 40 jury trials to verdict, successfully obtaining multiple seven-figure and high six-figure settlements. In recognition of Mike's established reputation for providing exceptional legal services, he has earned the prestigious "AV" peer review rating from Martindale Hubbell, signifying the highest standards of ethical and legal ability.
For the past ten years, an increasing amount of Mike's practice has centered on will contests and other probate and trust litigation, although he continues to handle a wide range of complex civil litigation, real estate litigation and transactions, wills in San Francisco and select catastrophic personal injury cases. Please see our representative cases page for examples of Mike's successes.
Mike handles all phases of litigation, including discovery, settlement and appeals, and has significant state and federal appellate court experience, including an appearance before the United States Supreme Court. Mike also serves as a Judge Pro Tempore of the San Francisco Superior Court, and is a licensed California Real Estate Broker.
- Judge Pro Tempore, San Francisco Superior Court
- Licensed California Real Estate Broker
- Bar Association of San Francisco
- Member, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
- Former Board Member, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, 1996-1999
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: Slappy v. Morris, 649 F.2d 718 (9th Cir. 1981), Slappy v. Morris, 724 F.2d 841 (9th Cir. 1984).
- U.S. Supreme Court: Morris v. Slappy, 461 U.S. 1 (1983).
- United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit: Bayramogu v. W. Estelle (9th Cir. 1986) 806 F.2d 880.
- California Court of Appeals, First Appellate District: Gaetani, Sr. v. Goss-Golden West Sheet Metal Profit Sharing Plan (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 1118.
Christy J. Styer
Christy J. Styer's career experience has combined estate and family wealth planning, tax and accounting. Her unique combination of talents makes her an invaluable asset for a wide range of clients.
Since she joined the San Francisco probate law firm in 1993, Christy has focused primarily on estate planning, trust and San Francisco probate issues. A significant part of her practice involves advising trustees on trust administration and helping trustees understand and fulfill their fiduciary duties. Prior to joining the firm, Christy was a Vice President at Bank of America's Executive Financial Counseling unit and was a Senior Tax Manager at Deloitte and Touche, where she worked on a wide range of tax and financial planning matters for high net worth individuals, and their closely held corporations and partnerships.
Christy's background means that she understands both San Francisco probate & estate planning law and the practicalities of her client's situation. A recommendation is of no use if there is no practical way to implement it. Christy excels at finding answers that both comply with the law and make sense in the real world.
Christy's combined legal, tax, and financial background also gives our clients a unique advantage in litigation matters involving complex financial data. Her long and wide-ranging experience means that she is exactly the person you want on your side when there is a mass of financial data to sort through in order to prove your case. Whether it is using empirical evidence to prove that you did the right thing, or showing that the other side "cooked the books," if the information is in the financial records, Christy will find it.
Christy received her Bachelor's degree from Gonzaga University, graduating magna cum laude, and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Santa Clara Law (Santa Clara University). She was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1979, and has served as a California Probate Referee since 1993.
Donna L. Quan
Donna L. Quan has over 20 years of civil litigation experience. Her cases have taken her to the Superior Courts of all of the Bay Area counties as well as other counties throughout California.
Donna excels at pre-trial discovery and motion practice. Her vast knowledge of the applicable rules and statutes means that all the technical requirements are met. This is far more important than it may first sound, because if the technical requirements are not met - and they vary with the type of discovery or motion and, sometimes, with the county - the client's substantive position will not even be considered by the Court. With Donna on your side, that is highly unlikely to happen.
Donna's extensive experience also means that resources are not wasted on motion practice that does not have a good chance of success, an example of the firm's mission to provide cost-effective representation.
Donna also has extensive experience in probate litigation. She is well-versed in both the procedural differences between probate litigation and general civil litigation and the procedural overlaps between the two, allowing for efficiency and effectiveness in handling your matter.
Donna received her Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco. Donna was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1987.
Richard M. Shearer
Richard M. Shearer has 23 years of civil litigation experience at the trial and appellate levels. He is an able and forceful courtroom advocate, having appeared in: the Superior Courts of every Bay Area County and of Los Angeles and San Diego Counties; the United States District Courts in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, and Los Angeles; the United States Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles, the California Courts of Appeal in San Francisco and Los Angeles; the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; and the Ninth Circuit's Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. He has handled every phase of litigation, from filing or responding to the initial Complaint to pre-trial discovery, motions, and writs to trial and through appeal.
But where Rich truly excels is in legal writing and analysis. Be it demand letters, complaints, answers, pre-trial motion papers, trial briefs, writs or appellate briefs, Rich's superior writing and analytical skills are a huge advantage for our clients. A judge's first impression of a trial, motion, appeal or other hearing is virtually always formed from the papers presented by the lawyers. Rich makes sure that a judge's first impression of a client's position is as clear and as strong as it can be.
Rich received his Bachelor's Degree from UCLA, where he graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard University. Rich was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1986.