Published September 15, 2009
Volume 17, Number 9

Dan Hall Law Office Offers Big-City Expertise with Small-Town Feel

(From left) John Bishop, Dan Hall, and Mike Hall of Dan Hall & 

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

The presence of Dan Hall & Associates, P.C., in Hacienda is the perfect example of the way long-term planning pays off. Seventeen years ago, as an attorney and CPA with Coopers & Lybrand (now Pricewaterhouse Coopers) in San Francisco, Dan Hall realized it was time for a change. He decided to establish his own practice in his specialized niche of probate, estate planning, and trust law, and hung out a shingle in Pleasanton, where he and his wife were raising their family.

For several years the firm operated with an associate and a few paralegals (including Dan’s wife Kathlyn), building up a client base and cementing a reputation for expertise in its field. About six years ago, when they were still in college, Hall’s son Mike and Mike’s childhood friend John Bishop started talking about their future careers. Both quickly took to the idea of going to law school and joining the senior Hall in his law practice, making trusts and estates their own specialty as well.

In preparation for the new professional staff, Dan Hall moved into larger quarters at 4733 Chabot Drive, Suite 203, in January 2008. After graduating from law school this past December, Bishop started at the firm in February 2009. Mike Hall, who took the bar a few weeks ago, is working as a legal assistant at the firm until he is sworn in as an attorney.

The newly minted lawyers will add the right kind of bench strength as the practice is poised for expansion. One of the hallmarks of the firm has been Dan Hall’s experience as a tax partner in a national CPA firm. The law firm’s principal focus is on helping clients set up family or living trusts, a strategy that avoids the time-consuming, expensive process of probate.  “Attorneys without income tax or CPA experience might not catch all the issues to evaluate when planning an estate,” notes Bishop. “This combination of disciplines is one thing that sets us apart.”

Another distinction is the full complement of services offered specifically in the area of estate planning. “When we help clients draft a trust, we also help with the process of funding, or transferring assets, into the trust,” Bishop explains.  It is highly detailed work that clients can find tedious: changing ownership or title to bank and brokerage accounts, designating new beneficiaries on retirement and insurance policies. The attorneys also assist clients with estate administration and probate matters, guiding beneficiaries and trustees from start to finish through the process.

The firm’s commitment to a high level of service attracts a wide range of clients at varying levels of net worth, “from a home-owning widow of limited means who needs to avoid probate to those with very substantial wealth,” relates Bishop. “We do everything we can to keep our clients well taken care of. We have the expertise of a big-city firm and service with a small-town feel.” 


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