Rob Epstein is a founding partner of Epstein Holtzapple Christo LLP. Rob specializes in estate, trust, probate, and fiduciary litigation, a highly specialized area in which he has represented clients for more than 25 years. Rob became interested in this field early in his career when he represented a law firm that was sued due to its estate planning for an elderly client. (She had bequeathed her substantial fortune to her boyfriend who later was held to have committed felony grand theft against her.) Since then, Rob has handled estate litigation cases throughout California. Nearly all cases in the probate court are bench trials that are decided by a judge with no jury. Rob has successfully tried many of these cases to judgment, including will contests, trust contests, and fiduciary liability trials in Marin, Napa, and Sonoma Counties.
The aging of the Baby Boomer generation has led to a massive transfer of family wealth that is well underway and likely will continue to spike for another 10 to 20 years. Due to Marin’s unique demographics -- its aging population combined with an average county income that is in the top five in the U.S. -- Rob refers to Marin County as "Ground Zero" for estate litigation. While Rob is known for his success in settling these matters, an unusually high percentage of probate litigation cases go to trial, often due to deep-seated intra-family conflicts that prove incapable of any resolution other than the judgment of a probate court. For these reasons, during the past six years alone, Rob has spent more than 65 days in probate court trials.
Rob's recent cases include the following:
In 2012, Rob founded Epstein Law Firm, which became Epstein + Holtzapple in 2019 and Epstein Holtzapple Christo LLP in 2021. Rob began his career with the San Francisco firm of Farella, Braun & Martel and later was a partner of Ragghianti Freitas LLP in San Rafael.
Rob draws on his extensive trial and mediation experience to provide highly skilled representation on behalf of his clients in a variety of civil litigation areas. During his more than 30 years as an attorney, Rob has conducted jury trials throughout California. Prior to specializing in trust and probate litigation, Rob represented hundreds of clients in litigation cases involving a wide variety of issues, including employment, insurance coverage, real estate, personal injury, medical negligence, government tort liability, and more.
The examination of expert witnesses at deposition and trial is a subject of particular interest for Rob. His cases have involved experts in an assortment of fields, including attorneys, accountants, engineers, bankers, and a wide variety of physicians and other health care professionals.
Rob serves as City Attorney of San Rafael (first elected in 2007, reelected three times). In 2021, Rob became the longest-currently-serving elected city attorney in California.
Rob previously served as Town Attorney of San Anselmo (2006-2018), and City Attorney of Belvedere (2006-2018). Rob also has served as Interim Town Attorney for Tiburon, and has represented the cities of Corte Madera, Novato, Piedmont, and Petaluma (and numerous special government districts) in litigation matters.
As a Marin County city attorney, Rob has provided legal advice and counsel to 47 elected city council members, 10 city managers, eight chiefs of police, and has attended more than 750 city council meetings.
Rob regularly assists the Marin County Court as a judge pro tem, and previously served for more than 10 years on the volunteer mediator panel for U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Rob is a past president of the board of Legal Aid of Marin, past president of the Richard Sangster American Inn of Court (Marin/Sonoma/Napa), and past vice president of the board of the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center. Rob has coached the San Rafael High School Mock Trial team since 2011.
Rob graduated with highest honors from UC Berkeley with a degree in Rhetoric (1985), and received his Juris Doctor from UC Hastings College of Law (1991), where he served as a federal judicial extern for the Hon. Fern M. Smith (Ret.).