Neutral Profile



  • Based in Northern California, available in All of California
  • Available for Mediation, Arbitration, and Private Judging assignments


Dan has been a trust and estate litigator for more than 28 years. He is well known among his peers and colleagues as a trustworthy, smart, and fair negotiator, with excellent interpersonal skills. As a result, he has been requested to serve as a mediator, arbitrator, and referee in more than 100 matters in almost every type of dispute involving trust and estates, including claims for elder financial abuse, undue influence, and lack of capacity, contested conservatorships, legal malpractice involving estate planning and estate litigation, and difficult and/or complex family succession plans. Since 2020, Dan has also served as Pro Tem in the Sacramento County Superior Court’s Civil Settlement Conference Department and its Probate Division. Dan was part of the original bench-Bar committee that established a mediation panel in the Probate Division.

Dan is a subject matter expert in the field of trust and estate law. He serves on the Executive Committee for the Trusts and Estates Section of the California Lawyers Association (“TEXCOM”), has been designated as a SuperLawyer in the field of Trust and Estate Litigation since 2010, and has been named Best of Bar for Trusts and Estates and ADR in the Sacramento Region since 2019.

As a neutral, Dan has earned a reputation for his deep knowledge of trusts and estates and for having a thoughtful, pragmatic, and effective approach to resolution. One attorney commented, “Dan is a compassionate and patient mediator. He has a gift of flexibility and can adapt to any situation which allows a path of resolution.“ Another said, “I have chosen Dan to settle several matters for our firm because he has a deep understanding of trust and estate litigation. Many times, these matters are emotional and contentious; he handles all the parties with care and knows how to make them feel comfortable and focused on resolution.”

Practice Areas

  • All types of Probate including Trust and Estate
  • Contested Conservatorships
  • Professional Negligence regarding Estate Planning
  • Trust and Estate Litigation
  • Elder Care Law

Hobbies & Interests

Dan’s primary interests start with his immediate family, his wife, and their two grown daughters. He deeply enjoys the company of friends with whom they strive to make memories filled with laughter and occasional wonder. He loves to play golf, tennis, ping-pong, pickle-ball, corn-hole, dominoes, cribbage, or cards as well as listening and watch music, and enjoys the camaraderie of learning or even creating a piece of music with fellow enthusiasts. He also enjoys the adventure of discovery, whether it is out of the country or in his own backyard.


"Dan was great. He was very personable in addition to knowing the law and being familiar with the facts of the matter. The experience was very good. My client enjoyed working with Dan and thought he was very strong as a mediator."
- Attorney on an Estate Law Matter

Links and Articles

Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • Full Time Neutral, Judicate West (Present)
  • Partner, Law Office of Daniel I. Spector (2016-Present)
  • Partner, Spector Weir, LLP (2009-2015)
  • Senior Partner, Spector, Middleton, Young and Minney (1997-2008)
  • Junior Partner, Thompson, Meade & Nielsen (1997)
  • Judge Pro Tem, Probate Division, Sacramento Superior Court (2000 – Present)
  • Pro Tem Settlement Conference Judge, Sacramento Superior Court (2000 – Present)

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • J.D. Santa Clara University School of Law (1992)
  • B.A. University of California, Davis, magna cum laude (1989)
  • Certified Mediator, Center for Collaborative Solutions (2009)
  • Board Member, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Library and Learning Center (2018-Present)
  • Member, Sacramento County Bar Association -Litigation, Probate, and ADR Sections (1993-Present)
  • Executive Committee, California Lawyers Association, Trust and Estate Section (TEXCOM) (2019-Present)
  • Member, California Lawyers Association – Trust and Estate Section (1997-Present)
  • Board President and Member, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Sacramento (1994-2002)
  • Bench-Bar Committee, Sacramento Superior Court – Probate Division

Achievements & Awards

  • Named Top Rated Estate & Trust Litigation Attorney, Super Lawyers (2010, 2016-2020)
  • Named Sacramento Top Lawyers (2019, 2021)
  • The Guide to the California Rules of Professional Conduct for Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Counsel, Fourth Ed. (2020), California Lawyers Association- Contributing Editor.

Legal Experience

  • All types of Probate including Trust and Estate
  • Contested Conservatorships
  • Professional Negligence regarding Estate Planning
  • Trust and Estate Litigation
  • Elder Care Law

Recent Representative Cases