Dave Parnall is a seasoned trusts and estates attorney who focuses on litigation, administration, and mediation. He fights hard for his clients, but also emphasizes alternative dispute resolution when appropriate. Mr. Parnall has taken numerous cases through trial and has substantial appellate experience.

Mr. Parnall’s cases commonly relate to financial elder abuse claims; contested estate distributions and accountings; the validity of testamentary instruments; actions to remove trustees or other fiduciaries; and similar disputes stemming from wealth transfers and asset management following a loved one’s death or loss of capacity. He is based in the San Francisco Bay Area but his practice extends throughout California.

Prior to launching Parnall Trust and Estate Law, Dave spent several years with one of the preeminent trusts and estates firms in California. At that firm, among other things Dave single handedly took several cases through trial. He defended one of those cases through a successful, published appellate decision that addressed an opposing attorney’s incivility. (See Moore v. Superior Court (2020) 57 Cal.App.5th 441.) Dave started his career as a civil litigator in San Francisco, where he represented Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, and small businesses in real estate, products liability, and other matters.

Dave is a certified specialist in trust and estate law, which has been his primary legal focus since 2014. He frequently writes and presents on probate and other legal topics. He regularly serves as court-appointed trustee or guardian ad litem. He is a member of, and serves in leadership roles in, various bar associations and other organizations.

Dave was admitted to the State Bar in 2006. He earned his law degree from King Hall School of Law at U.C. Davis, where he was a law review editor and worked for the Alameda County Public Defender and then-Chief Judge Randall J. Newsome of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Dave earned his B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from U.C. San Diego in 1994.

Outside of his legal work, Dave serves a lifetime appointment as the lucky father of two wonderful children. He is also an accomplished musician. He was one of the original music analysts for Pandora internet radio, and he spent many years recording, touring, and composing music. His mentors include classical and flamenco guitar notables The Romeros and Mario Escudero.

Memberships and Certifications

  • Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization
  • East Bay Trusts & Estates Lawyers: Vice-Chair, Litigation and Mediation Committee (2022-2023); Delegate to California Conference of California Bar Associations (2021-2022); Member (2014-2022)
  • Bar Association of Alameda County: co-chair and secretary, Trust and Estate Executive Committee (2021-2022); volunteer, Community Legal Assistance Saturday Program (2021-2022); member (2006-2022)
  • 40-Hour Mediation Certification, Steven Rosenberg (March 2022)
  • Member, Earl Warren Inn of Court (2015-2018, 2021-2022)
  • Member, Bar Associations of Contra Costa and San Francisco
  • Member, Friends of Hyde Street (2021-2022)
  • U. S. District Courts, Northern, Central, Eastern, and Southern Districts of California
  • State Bar of California (December 2006, Bar No. 246140)

From Our Clients

paula gerhardt
paula gerhardt
Dave Parnell oversaw the research, writing of orders, the management of filings and court dates for an extensive Family Trust Litigation that I was involved in as a co-defendant. In addition he developed a legal strategy that enabled our side to stop the case in it's early stages and avoid prolonged litigation. He prepared the case for a very streamlined effective trial. At all stages of the process, Dave was always accessible, extremely detailed in reviewing multiple drafts of filings with me and my co-trustee and well beyond patient in explaining to us each step of the way through the legal process. By keeping us in-the-know about deadlines and court appearances Dave provided us with additional certainty and clarity that everything was on track. Ultimately, the detailed final order that Dave wrote was strong enough that the Judge's own final order copied it verbatim. Most importantly, Dave's expertise and compassion for seeing justice delivered gave me the peace of mind to navigate through a previously unknown and complex legal process. I highly recommend working with Dave Parnell, I felt like I was part of his team.
kenneth moye
kenneth moye
Dave Parnall was hired to help me in an estate litigation case to distribute assets to beneficiaries. I had never been involved in any type of litigation, but knew it would be expensive and time consuming. My biggest worry was how to navigate the legal maze, court system, and deal with opposing attorneys without stressing out and going broke. It was my good fortune to find Dave as my attorney who led me step-by-step through the entire case to conclusion over a 3-year period. After I established my goals for the case, he developed a strategy to attain them. No matter how complex events became, he remained focused on my goals. I really appreciated his efforts to avoid conflicts throughout the case, but was also willing to remove the gloves when it was necessary. Dave was a calming voice when things got heated in the case and clearly outlined my options at each stage of the litigation with their pro and cons. He was acutely aware of helping me keep the billable hours to a minimum by letting me do some of the leg work such as preparing statements, hiring appraisers, and contacting the beneficiaries. Dave consistently kept me up to date on the case and replied to my phone calls and emails within 24 hours or sooner. Can’t say enough how I appreciate Dave’s expert legal abilities and genuine empathy for me and my case.
Maria Elena Rodriguez
Maria Elena Rodriguez
Mr. Parnell took on our complicated elder/family case and stayed with during the many long months it took to resolve. He was a compassionate advocate and advisor, navigating with us through a change of judges, and seemingly endless continuations of the case. He was tenacious but elegantly avoided conflict with the opposing party. Yet he never shied away from it when their demands were unreasonable. We felt he generally cared about us, his clients, and was cost-conscious without ever compromising his service. The goals he set and explained to us were largely accomplished. We never felt neglected or shut out of the loop during this long ordeal. He welcomed and answered all questions we had along the way. I recommend him highly.
Rene Mandel
Rene Mandel
Dave expertly and effectively handled an aggressive opposing counsel and a highly complex set of beneficiaries. He developed a solid strategy and always kept sight of it. In fact, he was so good that when our case was over, the opposing law firm hired him!
Bryna Barsky
Bryna Barsky
Dave has helped me with a very complex legal issue for years now. He is an incredibly intelligent, ethical, competent and empathetic attorney. He writes legal briefs that are compelling and articulate. He goes above and beyond for his clients, often working after hours and weekends....whatever it takes to get the job done. He was amazing during trial, organized, composed, and respected by the Judge. He won a very difficult case for me and I am forever grateful. I couldn't have asked for a better attorney for my case.

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Dave Parnall is a seasoned trusts and estates attorney who focuses on litigation, administration, and mediation. He fights hard for his clients, but also emphasizes alternative dispute resolution when appropriate. Mr. Parnall has taken numerous cases through trial and has substantial appellate experience.