Dominic J. Campisi

Dominic J. Campisi

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney in San Francisco, CA

Evans Latham & Campisi
 | One Post Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: 415-421-0288
Fax: 415-421-0464
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2019
Licensed Since: 1974
Education: Yale Law School
Practice Areas:
  • Estate & Trust Litigation (80%),
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (20%)
Attorney Profile

Member ACTEC, chair, Fiduciary Surcharge subcommittee, former Litigation and Controversy Group Chair, Real Property Trust and Estate Law Section ABA, member National Conference of Lawyers and Corporate Fiduciaries, Editor and Author, CEB California Trust and Probate Litigation. Probate, Trust and Fiduciary Litigation 45 completed trials, Mediator and arbitrator since 1981, over 80 trials as a Superior Court arbitrator. Instructor, National Graduate Trust School, 10 years. Lecturer for ALI-CLE (formerly ALI-ABA), Representing Beneficiaries and Trustees since 1999. Teaches American Bankers Association (since 1990), Fiduciary Investment Risk Management Association (since 1995), Federal Fiduciary Investment Examination Council (FDIC, OCC, Federal Reserve) since 1996.

About Dominic Campisi

Admitted: 1974, California

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Partner and Shareholder at Evans, Latham and Campisi
  • Trial Lawyer, 45 Completed Trials in Federal and State Courts
  • Settlement Neutral, San Francisco and Contra Costa County Superior Courts, 1981 - 2000
  • Judge Pro Tem, San Francisco Superior Court, 1991 - 2000
  • Arbitrator, San Francisco Superior Court, 1981 - 2012
  • Associate, Morrison and Foerester, San Francisco, 1975 - 1980, Specializing in Litigation with emphasis in Fiduciary Litigation. 
  • Mediation Training, 40 hour Training, Rosenburg Mediation. 
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Honorable Eugene A. Wright Law Clerk, 1974-1975.  
  • United States Army; Fort Meyer, Virginia, Headquarters Company of the Army, 1969-1971, SP/5
  • U.S. Justice Department; Field Representative, Community Relations Service, Washington D.C., 1968 and 1971
  • CEB – Continuing Education of the Bar, California; Lecturer, 1981 to present. Estate and Trust Litigation 1981, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1996; "Estates and Trusts: Dispute Resolution and Litigation" (Audio Tape 1989), (Video Tape, 1991, 1994): "Escrow Disputes," 1985 to 1987; "Litigation Aspects of Court Supervision," 7th Annual UCLA-CEB Estate Planning Institute, 1985; "How to Prevent Escrow Disputes" (audio tape), 1987; "Selected Real Property Remedies," 1988; "Real Property Remedies," 1991 to 1998; "Estate and Trust Litigation," 1999 and 2001; "Accessing Capacity and Undue Influence: Avoiding Will Contests," 2002; "Litigating Will Contest, Undue Influence and Capacity Cases" 2002; "Discovery in Fiduciary Disputes," 2003; "Trust and Estate Litigation," 2004; "Litigation Strategies for Ending the Family Feud," 2004; "Estate Litigation: Tactical Issues, Case Studies and Resolution Scenarios," 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010; "Estate Litigation," San Francisco, Dec. 2012.
  • Tax Section of the California State Bar: "A Dangerous Instrumentality" Malpractice Claims in Estate Planning and Administration, 1996.
  • Probate Section of the California State Bar: "Keeping out of Trouble: Ethical Problems & Solutions for Estate Planners and Estates and Trust Practitioners " 1996; Mock Trial of a Disputed Will and Trust Matter, Respondent's Counsel, May 1999, San Francisco.
  • American Bar Association (ABA): Lecturer, 1985 to present; "Alternatives to Litigation," New York, 1985; "Fiduciary Litigation," Toronto, Aug. 1988; "Escape from Bleak House: Alternatives to Litigation" Hawaii, Aug. 1989; "A Legacy of Litigation, Attacks on Testamentary and Inter Vivos Transfers," Orlando, Apr. 1991; "Estate and Trust Litigation," Atlanta, 1991; "Marshalling Assets for Decedents and Conservatees," Orlando, Apr. 1993; "Deposing and Examining Expert Witnesses at Trial," Orlando, 1993; "Do We Need a New Standard for Removal of Trustees and Termination of Trusts," New York, Aug. 1993; "Litigation Becomes Electra: Settlement of Real Property, Probate and Trust Disputes," Washington, D.C. Maty 1994; "Joint Tenancies, an Un-Ununiform Law," Washington D.C. May 1994; Counseling the Fiduciaries: "The Search for the Deep Pocket – Is it Yours?" San Diego, May 1996; "Avoiding Malpractice," Washington, D.C., May 1997; "Malpractice Settlements: Trial of the Case Within the Case," Toronto, Aug. 1998; "Damages for Breach of Trust," ALI-ABA, San Francisco, June 1999, Boston 2001, San Francisco July 2002; "Attorney's as Fiduciaries," Atlanta, Aug 1999; "Modern Investments, Modern Damages, Old Dilemmas," Miami, Mar. 2000; "Collusion with the Trustee," San Francisco, Apr. 2002; "Bioethics" New York City, Apr 2003; "Update on Liability of Fiduciaries and their Attorneys," Seattle, April 2004; "Hot Topics," Atlanta, Litigation Section, Aug. 2004; "Freezing Intent: IVF Contracts," Tampa, ABA/Fla Bar, Nov. 2004; "Damages for Breach of Trust," and "Duty to Diversify" Oct. 2006 Denver; "Myths, Realities and Liabilities Under Modern Portfolio Theory and the Uniform Prudent Investor Act," Vancouver, B.C. September, 2017. "Modern Portfolio Theory Suffers From Reality Check," Hot Topics, RPTEL Council, July 2009, Chicago; "Escaping Bleak House: Alternative Dispute Resolution," RPTEL Spring CLE, May 2010, Philadelphia.
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel: "When you Can't Ask the Decedent: Interpretation, Construction, and Reformation of Wills and Trusts." March 1993; "The Search for the Deep Pocket," Oct. 1999; "Open Architecture for Trusts," October 2004, Pittsburgh; Litigation Update," Southeast Regional Meeting, Richmond, September 2004; "Document Creation and Retention," Amelia Island, Florida, October 2005; "Situs: Litigation Issues" Providence, R.I. Oct. 2006; Fiduciary Liability, ACTEC Heart of America Regional Meeting, Kansas City, May 2007; Fiduciary Liability, ACTEC Litigation Program, Calistoga, CA, Dec. 2007; "Undue Influence" and "Malpractice", March 2008; "Damages," Baltimore, October 2011; "A litigator's View of Directed Trusts, Quiet Trusts, and Silent Trusts: A Little Magic or a Lot of Bad Mojo?" New Orleans, October 2014; "The Other Decanting," Alcoholic Estate Issues, Monterey, CA, October 2015.
  • CPA Organizations: Member California Society CPA Alternate Dispute Resolution Section; California CPA Education Foundation, "The CPA as a Fiduciary and/or Advisor," San Francisco and Universal City, November, 2003; San Francisco January 2005; California CPA Education Foundation, "The Search for the Deep Pocket," San Francisco, January 2013.
  • American Bankers Association: Lecturer, Nation Trust and Financial Services Conference, New York, "The Fiduciary Goes to War" (Audio tape), 1990; "Trends in Litigation," National Trust and Private Banking Conference, 1996; Joint Programs with American Bar Association; "Trends in Surcharge Actions," Carmel, 1986; Protecting the Fiduciary, "Achieving Finality" San Francisco and Boston, 1989; National Conference of Lawyers and Corporate Fiduciaries, "Trends in Fiduciary Litigation and Liability, San Francisco, Oct. 1994; National Association of Trust Audit and Compliance Professionals, "War and Peace for the Fiduciary: Or How to Avoid Becoming Famous," San Francisco, March 1995; New England Trust Companies, " Fiduciary Litigation Trends," Boston, Dec. 1996; "Trust Litigation Trends,: National Trust and Financial Services Conference, Washington, D.C., 1997; "The Law of the Jungle," California Bankers Association, Annual Trust Meeting, San Francisco, Sept. 1997; "The Law of the Jungle," 1998 ABA/AMA Trust, Asset Management & Marketing Conference, New York City, 1998; "Trust Litigation," National Association of Trust audit and Compliance Professionals, New Orleans, April, 1998; "Case Studies in Fiduciary Liability," American Bankers Association, National Graduate Trust School, Evanston, III Aug. 1998 and 1999 and yearly in Evanston, Chicago and Atlanta through 2008; "Fear and Loathing in the Courtroom," California Bankers Association Annual Trust Meeting, Pasadena, 1998; "Litigation Update," American Bankers Association, Wealth Management and Trust Conference, San Francisco, Jan. 1999; "Fear and Loathing in the Courtroom," Texas Bankers Association, Austin, Apr. 1999; "Litigation Update," ABA, Wealth Management and Trust Conference, New York February 2000, San Francisco February 2001, New York Jan. 2002, Tampa 2003, Scottdale 2004, Orlando 2005, San Diego 2006, Orlando 2007, San Diego 2008, Phoenix 2010, Miami Beach 2011, Phoenix 2012, New Orleans 2013, Phoenix 2016; "The Black Swans (and other Cliché) have come Home to Roost, Mar. 2009 San Francisco.
  • National Trust Closely Heald Business Association: "Avoiding Litigation," Silverado, CA. 1991; "Investment Liability," Huron, Ohio Oct. 2003. National Trust Closely Held Business Association, " Fiduciary Litigation," Litchfield Island, S.C. Sept. 2005; National Trust Closely Held Business Association, "Fiduciary Litigation," Santa Rosa, CA. Sept. 2011.
  • San Francisco Bar Association: Settlement Panel Member 1987 to present; Co-Chairman, Estate and Trust Litigation Subcommittee, 1991 to 1996; "Due on Sales Clauses" 1981; "The Capacity Conundrum: Are you Competent to Evaluate the Capacity of a Person to Make Testamentary and Inter-Vivos Transfers?" Probate Section, November, 1994; "Malpractice Prevention for the Probate and Trust Attorney" 1995; "Trustee Risks and Liabilities Under Modern Portfolio Theory" March 2000; AARP/Bar Association of San Francisco: Conference on Elder Abuse: "Capacity and Undue Influence," April, 1995; "Contested Accountings," April 2014.
  • ABA American Bar Association: Sectional Real Property, Trust and Estate Law. Member of the NCLCF National Conference of Lawyers and Corporate Fiduciaries, 2011 to present; Member Continuing Legal Education Commitee, 2006 to 2014; Council Member, 2007 to 2011; Group Chair, Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group, 2004 to 2007; RPPTL Liasion to National Conference of Lawyers and Corporate Fiduciaries, 2000 - 2006; Vice Chair, Committee on Estate and Trust Litigation, 1981 to 1984 and 1988 to 1996; Chair, Commitee on Estate and Trust Litigation, 1984 to 1988; an Editor, Media Book Products Program, 1988-1990; Chair, Commitee on Ethics and Malpratice, Probate and Trust Division, 1996 to 2003; Co-Chair Committee on Bioethics, 2002 to 2004; Vice-chair, Study Committee on Law Reform, 1996 to 1998; Member, Standing Committee on Bioethics and the Law 1999 to 2003.
  • Practitioner Academician, International Academy of Estate and Trust Law, 1997 to present.
  • Planner, Editor and Chapter Author, California Trust and Probate Litigation (CA CEB 1998 to present).
  • Faculty Member, American Bankers Association, Nation Graduate Trust School, 1998 to 2007.
  • Member, American College of Probate Judges, 1995 to 1998, and 2004 to present. 
  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, 1991 to present; member, Litigation Committee; chair of subcommittee in Interference with Right to Inherit and Other Torts, 1997 to 2000. Chair of subcommittee of Fiduciary Surcharge and Damages, 2003 to present. 

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • Taught –“Case Studies in Fiduciary Liability,” to graduate trust school students for 11 years under auspices of the American Bankers Association. Also taught federal bank examiners at the FDIC's Federal Fiduciary Investment Examination Council, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2013.  and Conference of State Bank Supervisors, 2015.  , lecturer, American Bankers National Graduate Trust School, 1998
  • Taught –“Case Studies in Fiduciary Liability,” to graduate trust school students for 11 years under auspices of the American Bankers Association. Also taught federal bank examiners at the FDIC's Federal Fiduciary Investment Examination Council, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2013.  and Conference of State Bank Supervisors, 2015.  , lecturer, American Bankers National Graduate Trust School, 1998
  • Member State of California November 1974, Ninth Circuit Court Appeals January 10th, 1975, District Court, Northern District of California April 7th, 1976.
  • Fiduciary Remedy and Damage Study" Editor (Case and Statutory Law in 50 States on Remedies for Breach of Trusts). Fiduciary Litigation Committee, ACTEC, March 2018
  • "Elder Abuse Liability," 23 ALI Estate Planning Course Materials Journal 4 – 64 (June 2017)
  • "Trust Officer Ethics: Sources and Meanings" American Bankers Association Trust Letter, December 2013.
  • "Trustee Liability and Damages" Firma Forum 2012 Issue 2 at 14
  • "Fiduciary Litigation Highlights: Ethical Dilemmas," Trust and Investments, July-August 2012 at 33
  • "Be Good or Beware: Ethical Violations by Fiduciaries, Trust and Investments", July – August 2011 at 6.
  • "Surcharge for Failure to Diversify," The Forum, 2011 Issue 1 at 16
  • "Heirs in the Freezer: Bronze Age Biology Confronts Biotechnology," 36 ACTEC Journal 179 (2010) (with Claudia Lowder and Naznin Bomi Challa).
  • "Fiduciary Liability: Bashing or Normalcy," 136 Trust and Investments 8, July 2010
  • "Bleeding Orange: The Impact of Attorneys' Fees on the Robertson Litigation and Settlement," 3 ACTEC Newsletter 45 (2009).
  • "Litigation Coming to a Courtroom Near you," ABA Trust and Investments, July 2009
  • "The Sensitive and Inflexible Rule of Fidelity," ABA Trust and Investments, July 2008.
  • "Mandatory Arbitration in Probate and Trust Disputes; Recent Decisions," 4 The Journal, Nation College of Probate Judges, at 13 (Fall 2007).
  • "The Morals of the Marketplace," Ethical Duties of Fiduciaries, Trust & Investments, July 2007.
  • "Learning from Disasters and Near Disasters," 3 Firma Forum 40 (Winter 2007)
  • "Marshall v. Marshall: Rashomon Revisited,: 21 Probate and Property," 8 (January/February 2007)
  • "Fiduciary Litigation Update," Firma Forum, Spring 2006 at 6, Summer 2006 at 40.
  • "Investment Discretion and Directed Trustee Liability," Trust and Investments, July 2006
  • "Fiduciary Litigation Trends," Firma Forum, Fall 2005, at 26 Spring 2006
  • "Surprising Decisions" Trust and Estates, Sept. 2005, at 57.
  • "Procedural Prudence—I," 103 Trust and Investments 46, "Part II" 104 Trust and Investments 44 (2005), "Part III" 105 Trust and Investments 48 (2005).
  • "Of Delegating and Double-Dipping," 142 Trust & Estates 62 (Jan. 2004 Andrew Zabronsky)
  • "Two Fiduciary Duties that Are Often Overlooked,: 140 Trusts & Estates 17 (Sept 2001)
  • "Index Returns as a Measure of Damages in Fiduciary Surcharge Cases," 140 Trusts and Estates 18 (June 2001)
  • "Competence and the Duty of Impartiality," 140 Trusts and Estates 45 (May 2001)
  • "The Perils of Prosperity: What Goes Up Will Likely Result in Surcharge," 2001 Heckerling Institute, Chapter 12 (2001)
  • "Concepts Colliding: Unitrusts, Modern Portfolio Theory and Trustee Liability and Profitability," American Bankers Association Trust and Investments, Nov./Dec. 1999
  • "Theory Becomes Law: Applying Restatement Third of Trusts to the Real World of Surcharges," Trust and Investments, Nov./Dec. 1998
  • "Disclosure of Administrative Advice of Fiduciary's Counsel" California Trust and Estates Quarterly, Fall 1997.
  • "The Punctilio of an Honor the Most Sensitive: An Uncomfortable Perch" California Trust and Estates Quarterly, Winter 1995.
  • "Joint Tenancy Accounts: An Un-Uniform Law" 30 Real Property Probate and Trust Journal 399 (Fall 1995)
  • "Litigation Becomes Electra" May/June, 1995 Probate and Property.
  • "Emerging Damages Claims and the Rights to Jury Trials in Fiduciary Litigation," 27 Real Prop. Probate and Trust Journal 541 (co-author with Latham and Ross)
  • Revisions Editor for Chapters 11-14, Continuing Education of the Bar, California Trust Administration, Second Edition (1990)
  • "Requests for Admissions," California Continuing Education of the Bar, 2 Civil Discovery Practice in California 667 (1988)
  • "In Search of the Non-Fiduciary," 14 The San Francisco Attorney 8 (Apr. 1988)
  • "Courts Change Standards of Conduct for Trustees," 127 Trusts and Estates 39 (Jan. 1988)
  • "Alternatives to Litigation in Trust and Probate Proceedings," 42 The Arbitration Journal 30 (Sept. 1987)
  • Estates and Trusts: Dispute Resolution and Litigation" (Program Book, co-author), California Continuing Education of the Bar (1986, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1996)
  • "Estate of Buck: Frustration of a Charitable Purpose," 124 Trust and Estates 70 (Jan. 1985)
  • "Evolving Fiduciary Liability" 123 Trusts and Estates 6 (May 1984)
  • "Maximizing Trust Fun Income," The National Law Journal (July 11, 1983)
  • "Punitive Damage Award in Trust Cases," The National Law Journal (June 6th, 1983)
  • "Probate and Trust Litigation" (Program Book), California Continuing Education of the Bar (1081, 1982)
  • "Civil Disturbance Regulations: Threats Old and New," Indiana Law Journal 757 (1975).
  • "Honored in the Breech: Presidential Authority to Execute the Laws with Military Force," 83 Yale Law Journal 130 (1973)

Educational Background:

  • Princeton University - M.P.A Urban Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs , 1968
  • University of Santa Clara, B.A. , 1966
  • Yale Law - Associate Chubb Fellow, Timothy Dwight College, Yale University.
  • Yale Law - a Director, Moot Court
  • Yale Law - an Editor, Yale Law Journal  
  • Princeton University - an Editor, Journal of public and International Affairs

Industry Groups

  • Arbitration
  • Corporate Trustees
  • Mediation
Office Location for Dominic J. Campisi

One Post Street
Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94104

Dominic J. Campisi:

Last Updated: 2/15/2019

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