David L. Hickson - Partner

Mr. Hickson has specialized in estate planning, probate and trust law for nearly 40 years, and is experienced in all matters of estate planning and administration. He has prepared numerous wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, and related documents for his clients. His practice also involves handling decedent's estates, including probate and non-probate estates, preparation of federal estate and gift tax returns and handling audits of same. He has formed numerous charitable trusts and foundations, formed pooled income funds for local charities, and set up numerous planned or deferred giving programs for charities in the San Diego area. He has also lectured extensively on estate and tax matters, including CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) programs in California, and to the Tax Section of the California State Bar.

  • Education

    Occidental College (B.A., 1966); McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific (J.D., 1974). Phi Delta Phi. Author: "Review of Selected 1972 Legislation," Pacific Law Journal, 1973; admitted to bar, 1974, California and U.S. District Court, Central District of California.
  • Professional Activities

    San Diego County and American (Member, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section)
  • Bar Associations

    State Bar of California (Member, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section).
  • Military Service

    Capt., Pilot, U.S. Air Force, 1966-1971
  • Practice Areas

    Estate Planning Law; Probate Law; Trust Law

Howard A. Kipnis - Partner

Mr. Kipnis has over 28 years of experience representing financial institutions, broker-dealers and brokerage companies, corporate fiduciaries and escrow companies, as well as small businesses and individuals, in commercial dispute resolution and litigation. He has handled both the prosecution and defense of numerous claims in the San Diego courts, as well as in FINRA (formerly NASD) arbitration hearings, arising out of financial institution’s retail; brokerage; real estate, commercial and installment lending; fiduciary and trust services; international; and escrow departments. Mr. Kipnis has successfully defended financial institutions, brokerage companies and corporate fiduciaries in trial and in regulatory arbitration, but encourages early evaluation of claims and resolution through use of less costly alternative dispute resolution methods. Mr. Kipnis has co-authored an attorney practice guide and, over the years, has been a featured speaker at several seminars and trade conferences on topics such as trust administration, fiduciary and FINRA disputes, and claims avoidance. He has also testified as an expert witness in several cases involving banking and fiduciary issues.

  • Education

    University of California at Los Angeles (B.S., magna cum laude, 1980); Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., cum laude, 1984). First Place, Beaudry Moot Court Competition, 1984. Recipient, American Jurisprudence Award in Commercial Law, 1984. Extern Law Clerk to Honorable J. Clifford Wallace, Chief Justice, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1983. Admitted to bar, 1984 California and U.S District Court, Southern and Central Districts of California; U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
  • Professional Activities

    Association of Business Trail Lawyers; San Diego Defense Lawyers Association; California Bankers Association (Member, Bank Counsel Section); Louis M. Welch American Inns of Court
  • Practice Areas

    Financial Institutions; Trust Litigation; Probate Litigation

Steven J. Barnes - Partner

Mr. Barnes has more than 17 years of experience representing corporate and individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries in various disputes involving trust administration, estate administration, accountings, fiduciary appointment and removal, trust and will contests, probate, creditors’ claims and elder abuse issues.  In addition, Mr. Barnes previously practiced general civil litigation in the state and federal courts of New York, and he served three years as Law Secretary to Honorable Renee R. Roth of the Manhattan Surrogate’s Court.

  • Education

    Pennsylvania State University (B.S., 1968); Brooklyn Law School (J.D., 1978). Recipient: Surrogate Ivan Rubenstein Award, 1978; American Jurisprudence Award in Wills, 1977. Law Clerk to Honorable Renee R. Roth, Surrogate of New York County, 1993-1996. Admitted to bar, 1979, New York; 1985, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York; 1986, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York; 1997, California and U.S. District Court, Southern District of California.
  • Professional Activities

    San Diego Country Bar Association; State Bar of California
  • Practice Areas

    Trust Litigation; Probate Litigation; Elder Abuse Litigation; Financial Institutions

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