Dewey Watson has enjoyed riding the bucking bronco of a law practice since 1971 when he graduated from Hastings- along with his 6 female classmates out of 350. Coming from Honolulu (yes, Punahou School) to Pomona College before moving to the City, he settled into practice first (in law school) with the 24 member firm of Morrison Foerster Holloway Clinton and Clark then located 100 yards from his current office and then to anti-trust litigation without paralegals or computers at Sullivan Jones and Archer. In 1976 he struck out on his own with Joe Joiner to form Watson and Joiner. With the recession of 1990, he teamed up with an old friend, John O’Connor at Tarkington O’Connor and O’Neil to represent the RTC against his former industry. When that ride ended in 1993, another old friend had just lost a partner to the bench and Tierney Watson & Healy, APC was formed. In 2000, Tierney Watson and Healy associated itself with Cornerstone Law Group and currently enjoys an open association with 8 other attorneys all with separate specialties.
Areas of Practice
Once described (by a long time client) as a 19th Century lawyer with 20th Century capabilities, Dewey has done what most small firm attorneys do: a little bit of everything and finally, a lot of what he enjoys. In 1973 he got his first contested probate and has continued taking and pursuing estate planning (he got an LLM, Tax in 1982) since. At the same time he started representing out of state mortgage bankers- before the age of securitization- and continues to have many of the progeny of those companies as clients. That association got him involved in land use litigation and development which he pursued for many years until one of the many recessions finally ended his clients’ careers.
In 1993, sensing an opening in the market, he teamed up with Martin Tierney, then Chair of the Tax section of the State Bar, to practice tax litigation and tax planning on a more full time basis. After the decline of the IRS under the Bush Whitehouse, this practice area became moribund at the same time that Mortgage Banking and estate planning enjoyed resurgence. Today he practices mostly in the estate planning, small corporate and real estate realms. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and drawers full of nice people.
Since he began practicing, Dewey has engaged in charitable and public service. In the 70’s he was Chair of the Art Guild of the Oakland Museum, a community organizer and founder of Oakland Community Organizations, on the Sculpture Commission of the City of Oakland and on the Board of Pro Arts. In the 80’s and 90’s, he was elected twice to the Piedmont Unified School Board, serving as President, was on the Board and President of the Piedmont Council, Boy Scouts of America (and received Scouting’s highest award for volunteers), organized and chaired in conjunction with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce a successful “paint day” where in one weekend over 100 schools in San Francisco were painted with over 5000 volunteers; was a founding trustee of the Bay Area Coalition of Equitable Schools which received over $30 million in grants from the Gates Foundation to re-structure the Oakland Unified School District and which continues to operated effectively in the District. He has also served as Senior Warden at his church and continues to be involved in spiritual pursuits of all religious persuasions. He writes books and plays on non-legal subjects, blogs about Mafia Estate Planning Lawyers, makes wine and lives happily in West Sonoma County, commuting 3 days a week to San Francisco.
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|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Silver Beaver||Boy Scouts of America||2006|
|Partner||Tarkington O'Connor O'Neil||1990 - 1993|
|Partner||Watson & Joiner||1976 - 1990|
|Attorney||Brucher & Shiver||1973 - 1976|
|Associate||Sullivan Jones & Archer||1972 - 1973|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|St. John's Episcopal Church||Senior Warden||2004 - 2007|
|Piedmont Council, Boy Scouts of America||President||1997 - 2008|
|Piedmont Unified School District||President, Board of Trustees||1995 - 2002|
|Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools||Founding Trustee||1991 - 2007|
|Oakland Museum of California||President, Art guild||1976 - 1980|
|Estate of Linda Howe||Claim denied by trial court and Appeals Court|
|See all legal cases|
|Piedmont Post Newspaper||The Bari Chronicles||2006|
|Piedmont Post||The Blue Haze||1999|
|Golden Gate University||N/A||LL.M - Master of Laws||1982|
|UC Hastings COL||N/A||law||N/A|
|How to Run a Successful Small Practice||How to Run a Successful Small Practice||2010|
|Legal Roundtable||Estate Planning Fundamentals||2009|
|Small Business Fundamentals||Small Business Fundamentals||2008|