Hon. Marshall Whitley served as a California Superior Court Judge in Alameda County for over 20 years. For many years he was the Supervising Judge at Alameda, Oakland, and Berkeley courthouses, and for 10 years was Presiding Judge in departments handling Probate, direct calendar Civil, and long cause Probate trials. He has been the trial judge for a number of complex and high profile civil and criminal cases.
Judge Whitley retired from the bench in 2013 and began working with ADR Services, Inc. as a mediator, arbitrator, special master and discovery referee. He has extensive experience and expertise in the areas of trusts, estates, conservatorships, taxation, malpractice, contracts, real estate, and business disputes. His flexible approach, technical expertise, and patience have enabled him to achieve an exceptionally high success rate in more than one thousand mediations and court settlement conferences. His 20 years managing all types of civil and criminal trials have made him a very fair, efficient, and decisive arbitrator, court appointed special master, and private judge.
Judge Whitley has been a law professor, either adjunct or full time, since 1985 teaching lawyers and law students in the above subject areas. Since leaving the bench he has trained hundreds of lawyers on mediation and dispute resolution and currently teaches a course he designed entitled “Mediating Trust and Estate Disputes” for the LL.M. program at Golden Gate University School of Law.
Prior to his judicial appointment, Judge Whitley, for 19 years, was a DC legislative counsel, a US Justice Department trial attorney, and a San Francisco private practitioner handling estate planning, tax and business litigation matters.
Managing Partner and Co-Managing Partner, Law Offices of Marshall Whitley and Tierney Walden & Whitley (San Francisco), 1985-1993
Law practices focused on federal and state tax controversies, business transactions and tax planning, estate planning, ERISA, and commercial litigation
Tax Supervisor, Coopers & Lybrand (San Francisco), 1983-1985
Tax compliance for clients, coordinated with Washington, DC office regarding pending and proposed tax legislation, and provided internal counsel regarding IRS practice and procedure
Trial Attorney, US Department of Justice, Tax Division (Washington, D.C.), 1979-1982
Represented the US Government in complex tax litigation and related civil matters in US District and Bankruptcy Courts throughout the western region of the United States.
Special Tax Counsel and Legislative Counsel, Washington, D.C. Finance & Revenue Department and Council of the District of Columbia, 1974-1979
Directed implementation of recently enacted real property tax measures, drafted proposed income and estate tax legislation, and coordinated with Congressional staff of Ways & Means and Finance Committees regarding D.C. finances and revenues.
Professor and Director of LL.M. Programs in Taxation and Estate Planning, 2013-Present; Adjunct Professor, 1985-2013; Golden Gate University School of Law
Directs the administration of two LL.M. programs including selecting curricula, identifying and employing adjunct professors and all aspects of student admissions, matriculation, graduation and career placement.
Courses taught: Wills, Trusts & Estates; Mediating Trust and Estate Disputes; Probate Procedure and Litigation; IRS Practice and Procedure; Federal Tax Litigation; Standards of Tax Practice; IRS Collection Procedures.
2016 Recipient of “Joanne M. Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award”, California State Bar Taxation Section
2013 Certificate in Mediation & Conflict Resolution, University of California, Berkeley Extension
2013 Member, San Francisco Mediation Society
1995-2012 Outstanding CJER Faculty commendations, Supreme Court Chief Justices & AOC
1993 Recipient of “V. Judson Klein Outstanding Tax Attorney Award,” California State Bar Tax Section
1991 Recipient of “Outstanding Faculty Award,” Golden Gate University School of Law
1989-1993 Executive Committee Taxation Section of State Bar of California, Chair-Elect 1992-1993
1985-1992 President, Vice President and Treasurer, San Francisco Tax Litigation Club
1976 LL.M. (Taxation), Georgetown University Law School
1973 J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law (with awards)
1970 B.A., Bowie State University (Business and Accounting with honors)
“Simply put, Judge Whitley is just the best of the best.”
“Judge Whitley is the BEST OF THE BEST when it comes to settling probate and trust issues. His thoughtful approach to problem solving, his ability to understand complex legal issues quickly and his professional demeanor make him the go to probate and trusts mediator. He will get it done!”
“Judge Whitley was great. Both counsel and client were pleased with the neutrals handling of the matter, and his facilitation of the mediation overall. I appreciated the neutral’s use of ten confidential questions as opposed to a traditional mediation brief, which allowed for a better ability to set up the aspects of mediation that needed attention, as well as some underlying facts, not particularly focused on the filed pleadings, that would ultimately drive my client’s response to mediation.”
“Judge Whitley worked with a light hand, was perceptive, sharing, and guided the process effectively. You don’t need my opinion as to his knowledge of the law and how things often work in the real world as played out in the courtroom.”
“The staff and Judge Whitley made the remote mediation seamless; it worked beautifully. Thank you.”
“Incredibly effective! Judge Whitley kept the parties calm and focused on settlement, but also appropriately pressed on parties/counsel where important”
“I thought Judge Whitley was prepared, grasped the issues and was incredibly effective in creating a climate for settlement on a difficult case. You all at ADR Services are pros.”
“Judge Whitley settled a case with an extremely difficult attorney and I am very grateful. I knew he could do it and it was a job well done.”
“Judge Whitley was very communicative, candid, professional, and patient. We would be more than happy to request his services again in the future. The parties were very emotionally at odds with one another with a prior mediation attempt failing due to tempers flaring. Counsel on both sides appreciated Judge Whitley’s firm and patient approach, coupled with his sense of humor that provided a more comfortable environment for open communication”