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Dawn Hall Cunneen


Contact Information
2173 Salk Avenue
Suite 250
Carlsbad, California 92008
Office: 760.292.0144
Mobile: 760.421.9689
Facsimile: 760.683.6224
[email protected]

Dawn Hall Cunneen has over 30 years of experience representing clients in estate planning, estate and gift taxation, family succession planning, post-death trust and probate administrations, and trust estate and probate estate litigation.

When counseling clients on estate planning issues, Ms. Cunneen employs a collaborative approach and works closely with the client, the client’s financial advisors, and accountants to develop a customized, practical estate plan. Employing a strategic team-driven approach ensures all aspects of the client’s financial and family circumstances are taken into account in the most economic and productive manner. Ms. Cunneen has significant experience working with complex family dynamics, high concentrations of commercial real estate, and unique assets. Ms. Cunneen uses her extensive litigation experience to identify potential issues and create a strategy for avoiding litigation as she counsels and advises individuals in their estate planning.

Following the death of an individual, Ms. Cunneen represents lay trustees, licensed professional fiduciaries, and corporate fiduciaries in all aspects of trust and probate administration. Ms. Cunneen also counsels beneficiaries regarding their rights in the decedent’s estate. Ms. Cunneen writes and speaks on complex trust accounting issues and issues related to managing significant commercial real estate holdings.

Ms. Cunneen represents clients throughout Southern California (San Diego County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Los Angeles County) and in Northern California in probate and trust litigation matters. Ms. Cunneen represents clients in will and trust contests, complicated estate accounting disputes, disputes requiring extensive forensic accounting to identify misappropriated assets, disputes regarding how a fiduciary has managed an estate (breach of fiduciary duty claims), disputes concerning the construction or interpretation of a will or trust, contested conservatorship proceedings and elder financial abuse matters. Ms. Cunneen writes and speaks on complex trust accounting and breach of fiduciary duty litigation.

Ms. Cunneen is a 1991 graduate of California Western School of Law and a cum laude graduate of Bethel University.

Representative Matters

  • Represented individuals, licensed professional fiduciaries and corporate fiduciaries in probate and trust litigation.
  • Advised trustees regarding trust administrations.
  • Advised individual and corporate executors regarding probate administrations.
  • Advised beneficiaries regarding their rights in a decedent’s estate.
  • Represented clients in estate planning.


  • California


  • California Western School of Law, J.D., 1991
  • Bethel College, B.A., cum laude, 1986


  • Cunneen Booth LLP
    – Partner, 2018-Present
  • Duane Morris LLP
    – Partner, 2014-2018
  • Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP
    – Partner, 2002-2014
  • Lodge & Heller
    – Attorney, 2000-2001
  • Law Offices of Ann C. Harris
    – Attorney, 1995-2000
  • Bethel University
    – Adjunct Professor, 1995-1998

Professional Activities

  • North County Bar Association
    – Board of Directors, 2010-2012
    – Local Rules of Court Advisory Committee, 2006-present
    – Civil Litigation Section – Chairperson (1 year)
    – Trusts and Estates – Chairperson (4 years)
  • American Inns of Court, The Honorable Fiorenzo V. Lopardo Chapter
    – Executive Board Member, 2006-2012
    – Outreach Committee Chair, 2008-2012
    – Special Events Coordinator, 2007-2012
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego County, North County Chapter
    – President, 2008-2009, and 2012
  • Probate Attorneys of San Diego, 2012

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in San Diego Business Journal’s 2015 Best of the Bar List
  • Women Who Mean Business Honoree
  • Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Honoree
  • North County Philanthropy Council Volunteer of the Year
  • Lawyers Club, North County Chapter, Community Service/Volunteer of the Year

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • Art for Barks
    – Member, Board of Directors, 2015-present
  • Kathy’s Legacy Foundation
    – Inspiring Dreams Gala Co-Chair, 2015
  • Mainly Mozart
    – Member, Board of Directors, 2015
  • Hospice of the North Coast
    – Friends and Founders Committee Co-Chair (2013)
    – Friends and Founders Gala Emcee (2013)
  • Tri-City Hospital Foundation
    – Board of Trustees, 2011-2012
    – Executive Committee, 2012
    – Fiftieth Anniversary Golden Anniversary Ball Gala Committee, 2011
    – Diamond Ball Gala, Co-Chair, 2012
    – Development Committee – Chairperson
    – Fashion that Heals Gala, Co-Chair, 2012
  • Carlsbad Winter Music Celebration
    – Founding Member, 2008-present
  • La Jolla Music Society
    – Pat Stein North County Concert Series Chair and Founder
    – Society’s SummerFest Committee
  • The Preuss School
    – Gala Committee Member, 2007
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Carlsbad
    – Member, Board of Directors, 2003-2007

Selected Publications

  • Featured in “Industry advisers help clients prepare for 2014,” The Daily Transcript, December 20, 2013
  • Chapter author, Best Practices for Structuring Trusts and Estates, Aspatore, 2013
  • Featured in “Women’s Health is Always in Style,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, July 19, 2012
  • Featured on the cover of Giving Back magazine, June 2012 and November 2012
  • Featured in “Superior Court Makes Probate Documents Available Online,” The Daily Transcript, March 9, 2012
  • Author, “2011 Emerging Issues 6011, Compelling an Accounting From a Reluctant Trustee,” LexisNexis, October 18, 2011
  • Co-author, “Trust Accounting Actions,” Matthew Bender Practice Guide California, 2010
  • Featured in “Dispute over Music Legend’s Estate Moves Forward,” North County Times, May 9, 2008

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Moderator and Presenter, CEB Trusts and Estates Recent Developments Program, 2012-2016
  • Bar Association of Northern San Diego County/Trusts and Estates Section, Annual Case Law and Legislation Update, 2012-2016
  • Rady’s Children’s Hospital Financial Symposium, January 2016
  • Family Office and Private Wealth Forum, May 2015
  • Lorenz Fiduciary – Estate Planning Basics, 2015
  • George Chamberlain Money Matter Series, NBC Television News Segment, 2012
  • Tri-City Hospital Foundation, KUSI and NBC Television News Segments, 2012
  • “Trust Litigation,” Matthew Bender LexisNexis Speaker, Orange County and San Diego, CA, 2011
  • Trust & Estates Topics, NBI Panelist, 2007-2011
  • “Probate and Trust Administration,” PFAC Annual Conference, 2007

Let’s Work Together

We work as a single united team to give our clients the highest quality advice possible.