ATTORNEYS

DAVID J. TAPPEINER

David Tappeiner was born and raised in Santa Barbara.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1997 (Law and Society) from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Thereafter, David moved to Colorado with his wife and daughter, intending to stay there.  While there, he attended the University of Denver College of Law, receiving his law degree in 2000 and was a member of the Denver University Law Review from 1998-2000.  

David practiced law in Denver, Colorado from 2000-2006 but returned to Santa Barbara in 2006 after receiving an offer to join the law firm of Fell, Marking, Abkin, Montgomery, Granet & Raney, LLP, becoming a partner there in 2008.  In 2020, David finally acted upon his desire to

start his own law firm with one his best friends, Mark A. DePaco.  Mark and David founded DT Law Partners, LLP as equal partners in August 2020.

David focuses his practice on estate and trusts and all matters related thereto, which includes preparation of moderate to complex estate planning documents, trust and estate administration, conservatorships, and trust and probate litigation.

David is admitted to both the State Bar of California (2006) and State Bar of Colorado (2000), is a member of the State Bar of California Trusts and Estates division, and has been certified as a Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trusts, & Probate by the California State Bar. David has an AV rating (preeminent) with Martindale-Hubbell and is a member of the Santa Barbara Estate Planning Council. David is also admitted to the United States Tax Court and the Federal District Court for the 10th Circuit. David has also routinely given lectures for NBI, Lorman, and others on various estate and trust topics.

David is passionate about his family, especially his three amazing children.  David also enjoys coaching youth soccer.  He has coached youth soccer for almost 20 years and currently coaches at Dos Pueblos High School. He has served on the board for CALM and currently serves on the local AYSO board.

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MARK A. DePACO

Mark earned his B.A. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1994. He received a law degree (J.D.) from the University of Southern California Law School (USC) in 1998 and is admitted to practice in California. He is the founding partner of the law firm DT Law Partners, LLP, in Santa Barbara, California, formed in 2020. Prior to joining that firm, he was a partner at Fell Marking LLP, in Santa Barbara, for ten years. Mark began his legal career as an associate with Hatch & Parent and transitioned shortly thereafter to Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth P.C., helping to establish their Santa Barbara office. Mark then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and spent eleven years there, practicing and growing his business at MBV Law LLP, before deciding to make the move back to his hometown of Santa Barbara. 

For more than twenty years, Mark’s legal practice has focused on corporate transactions, including securities offerings, debt and equity raises, mergers and acquisitions, and all matters related to corporate and business growth. Mark operates as outside general counsel to companies in all lines and phases of business, and counts angel investors, investment companies, funds and family offices among his clients. 

Mark currently serves on the Board of the Dream Foundation, is active in youth sports, and, along with his wife, is raising four young, active children.

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JOHN W. AMBRECHT

John has spent over 30 years integrating sophisticated and complex estate and tax planning for family business succession planning. John earned his B.A. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1966 and an MBA from there two years later. He then went on to study law, receiving a J.D. degree from Loyola University in 1973 and an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University (NYU) in 1974.

John is admitted to the State Bar of California (1974) as well as the United States Tax Court (1976), the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1978) and the United States Court of Federal Claims (1986). Over the years, John has received a number of distinctions and awards, including the Super Lawyer Award, 2013, and was named one of the Top Attorneys in Southern California for 12 consecutive years.

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During his career, John’s work has provided sustained longevity for family assets, including solving complex planning issues that arise from a client’s ties to multiple jurisdictions, both nationally and internationally, in trusts and estate planning, asset protection, and tax controversies. John was one of the principals and founders of Families & Wealth, LLC, which was formed to help families and their advisors to create succession, estate, and family governance plans where family issues or dysfunctions were present.

John has long been active in a range of associations and is a member of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), and since 2000 has been a Board Member of Westmont College Foundation, Montecito, CA.

LETICIA MARTINEZ

Leti has worked as an estate planning attorney for almost two decades. Her practice focuses on providing clients with a holistic approach to family and business planning, while simultaneously protecting client assets and creating lasting legacies. Her areas of expertise include business planning, trust administration, conservatorships, probate litigation and civil litigation matters.

A graduate of the University of California, Davis, Leti obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology in 1998, with high honors. She then studied at the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, graduating with her Juris Doctor in 2002 with academic distinction in oral advocacy. After working at various private law firms, she opened her own solo law practice in January 2008.


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The Pacific Coast Business Times has recognized Leti as one of the top 50 women in business in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, as well as one of the top 40 up-and-coming business leaders. When not practicing law, she volunteers with the Children’s Ministry at Calvary Chapel in Santa Barbara, and for the Good News Clubs of Santa Barbara County. She has also served on numerous boards and committees, including as event chair for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Santa Barbara, and as a committee member for the Women’s Club of Santa Barbara and the Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library.

Leti lives in Santa Barbara with her husband Edward and their two young children, Christian and Isabella. She is fluent in Spanish.