David W. Baer

Bringing over three decades of experience in complex litigation, in July 2010 David W. Baer joined Hartog & Baer as the firm's trial counsel. David represents charities and non-profit entities, individuals and financial institutions in a broad array of matters, such as will and trust contests, fiduciary litigation, estate distribution disputes, spousal property claims, no contest clause claims, financial elder abuse, and estate planning malpractice. While David has focused almost exclusively on litigation in Probate Court since the 1990s, he has a wealth of experience in other substantive areas frequently at the heart of trust and estate matters including real estate, tax, corporate, and partnership law. David is particularly skilled in negotiating and drafting complex multi-party settlements. Drawing on that strength, David’s practice also encompasses serving as a mediator.  He also has acted as a consultant and expert witness at trial.

When appropriate, David has the tenacity to litigate a matter to conclusion through trial or appeal, where he has a proven track record of success. He prevailed in overturning the trial court judgment in Murphy v. Murphy (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 376, the first case in the nation to hold that a substituted judgment order approving a conservatee's estate plan bars any beneficiary from contesting the plan after the conservatee's death.

David is one of the authors of California Trust Litigation, Matthew Bender's practice guide. His chapter on contesting and defending the validity of trust instruments is the definitive resource on this topic for attorneys practicing in California.


  • Partner, Trial Counsel, Certified Mediator, Consulting and Expert Witness -
  • Hartog & Baer, A Professional Corporation (July 2010 to Present)
  • Partner, Chair of Trust and Estate Litigation Group - Hanson, Bridgett LLP (1981 to July 2010)


  • J.D., University of California, Hastings College of Law, Magna cum laude, Order of the Coif (12th in class of over 500 students), Thurston Honor Society (1981)
  • B.A., Honors Thesis, Reed College (1978)


  • State Bar of California – Member, Trusts and Estates Executive Committee (2006 to 2012), Chair, Litigation Subcommittee (2008 to 2012), Chair, California Law Revision Commission Committee (2008 to 2012)
  • Alameda County Superior Court – Probate Mediation Panelist
  • Bar Association of San Francisco – Member, Probate and Trust Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution Litigation Sections
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association – Member, Conservatorship/Guardianship, Probate & Trust Section
  • East Bay Trust and Estates Lawyers - Board of Directors
  • Marin County Bar Association – Member, Probate Law Section
  • San Francisco Superior Court – Probate Mediation Panelist
  • California Conference of Bar Associations - Delegate


  • State of California – all trial and appellate courts
  • United States District Courts for California: Northern, Eastern and Central Districts
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Tax Court


  • Northern California SuperLawyers, San Francisco Magazine (2006-2008, 2014)

Contact David W. Baer

Hartog & Baer
4 Orinda Way
Suite 250-B
Orinda, California  94563
Phone: (925) 253-1717
Fax: (925) 253-0334


Service Area

Statewide service provider in:
  • California

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