Hon. Marshall Whitley (Ret.)


Judge Whitley was the Probate Judge for Alameda County his last 10 years on the bench and served as Supervising Probate Judge from 2003 to 2007 and presiding judge of the department for Long Cause Probate Trials from 2007 to 2013. Having spent over 20 years in the California Courts, he presided over general civil trials and managed civil direct calendar departments. His depth of knowledge in Trusts, Estates, and Taxation, coupled with his excellent communication skills, have enabled him to settle cases with high emotional content as well as those involving technical and complex factual and legal issues.

Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge Whitley was in private law practice for 10 years in San Francisco focusing on the areas of tax controversy, business and tax planning, and estate planning. Before that, Judge Whitley worked as a government attorney in Washington, D.C. for 9 years, first as legislative counsel and then as trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice, where he represented the U.S. in complex tax litigation and related civil matters throughout the western region of the United States. In addition, Judge Whitley served as the Director of the LL.M. Tax Program at Golden Gate University School of Law for four years.

Judicial Experience

  • Judge, Superior Court, County of Alameda, 1999 – 2013
  • Judge, Municipal Court, County of Alameda, 1993 – 1998


  • Presided over Long Cause Probate Trials, 2007-2013
  • Supervising Probate Judge, 2003-2007
  • Chair, Superior Court Probate Committee, 2003-2008


  • Presided in Civil Trial and Civil Direct Calendar departments, 2007-2013
  • Included case management, motions, settlement conferences, and trial of all types of civil cases including: asbestos; commercial; collection; contract; copyright; labor; employment; environmental; malpractice and other tort; real property; and trade secrets


  • Supervising Judge of George McDonald Courthouse, 2009-2010
  • Supervising Judge of Berkeley Courthouse, 2007-2008
  • Supervising Judge of Wiley Manuel Courthouse, 1999-2000


  • Judicial Council Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee, 2010-2013 Chair, Subcommittees on Trusts and on Rules & Forms.
  • Judicial Education & Research Division of the Administrative Office of the Courts (CJER), 2005-2008 Chair, Committee on Probate and Mental Health.
  • California Judges Association Probate and Mental Health Committee, 2006-2008

Attorney Experience

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.

Academic Experience

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.

Memberships and Awards

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)

Representative Cases