Jacob C. Smith

Senior Associate

When facing trusts and estates disputes, clients turn to Jake Smith for his steady hand and creative solutions to ambiguous situations.

Jake applies his knowledge and experience as a Certified Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate & Trust law to shepherd clients through the valleys and peaks of trusts and estates disputes. His practice focuses on helping clients achieve the right result tailored to their situation.

Prior to joining Downey Brand, Jake honed his conflict resolution skills over years of experience gained while deployed across the globe as a United States Army special operations human intelligence collector.

While in law school, Jake participated in the Pacific McGeorge Elder Law Clinic, where he obtained elder abuse restraining orders on behalf of vulnerable elderly clients. Jake also participated in the Legislative and Public Policy Clinic where he co-wrote and advocated for legislation to improve peace officer training on recognizing the signs of financial elder abuse; AB 2623 (Pan) became law in 2014.


Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Sacramento Estate Planning Council, 2022-present
  • Rotary Club of Roseville, 2017-present; Charitable Giving Committee member, 2019-present; Charitable Giving Committee Chair, 2022
  • California Lawyers Association, Trusts and Estates Section, 2015-present
  • Guest Faculty, Elder Law and Social Policy, McGeorge School of Law, 2014-2020
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Civil Litigation Section, Probate & Estate Planning Section
  • Placer County Bar Association, 2017-2020
  • Anthony M. Kennedy Inn of Court, 2014

Honors & Rankings

  • California Board of Legal Specialization, Certified Legal Specialist, Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, 2020-present
  • Externship, Honorable Anthony W. Ishii, United States District Court, Eastern District of California, 2014
  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Moot Court Honors Board, 2012-2014; Executive Committee Member, 2013-2014
  • ABA San Francisco Appellate Advocacy Competition, Best Brief, 2014
  • Order of Barristers, 2014
  • Roger J. Traynor Honor Society, 2014
  • Witkin Award for Academic Excellence, Business Associations, 2014
  • Witkin Award for Academic Excellence, Drafting Laws and Regulations, 2014
  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Military Law Society, 2011-2014; Vice President, 2013-2014
  • United States Army, Bronze Star Medal, 2007 and 2008
  • Represented co-trustee in dispute with her co-trustee sister in El Dorado County Superior Court after it was discovered the co-trustee sister took tens of thousands of dollars from their mother. The matter was settled at mediation with the division and distribution of approximately $5 million in trust assets trust consisting of the family business, real properties, and cash and brokerage accounts.
  • Defended trustee-daughter in Solano County Superior Court action filed by aunt-beneficiary of mother’s trust. Resolved action alleging mismanagement of trust assets with no out of pocket payment by trustee.
  • Resolved trust dispute filed in Sacramento County Superior Court against surviving spouse client by his step-children who alleged he mismanaged trust assets. The matter was settled at mediation with an equitable distribution of trust assets.
  • Successfully represented a decedent’s sister against her brother’s competing petition to be appointed administrator of their deceased brother’s probate estate in Sacramento County Superior Court.
  • Represented the administrator of a probate estate in Placer County Superior Court wherein eight cousins each laid claim to a parcel of land owned by the decedent. Successfully negotiated the contested division and distribution of the parcel between the cousins.
  • Successfully defended trustee in Sacramento County Superior Court from his brother’s allegations that client mismanaged trust assets. The court dismissed the brother’s petition with no payment by client.

Announcements

1 related items

Speaking Engagements / Events

2 related items
  • 2018
    Honoring Gold Star Aggies
    Keynote Speaker, UC Davis, Memorial Day 2018
  • 2017
    Ethical Obligations to Clients
    Keynote Speaker, Legal Secretaries, Inc.

Jake enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and Goldendoodle pup named “Chewy.” When he is not hiking in the foothills, you can find Jake cheering on his son at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions.


Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Sacramento Estate Planning Council, 2022-present
  • Rotary Club of Roseville, 2017-present; Charitable Giving Committee member, 2019-present; Charitable Giving Committee Chair, 2022
  • California Lawyers Association, Trusts and Estates Section, 2015-present
  • Guest Faculty, Elder Law and Social Policy, McGeorge School of Law, 2014-2020
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Civil Litigation Section, Probate & Estate Planning Section
  • Placer County Bar Association, 2017-2020
  • Anthony M. Kennedy Inn of Court, 2014

Honors & Rankings

  • California Board of Legal Specialization, Certified Legal Specialist, Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, 2020-present
  • Externship, Honorable Anthony W. Ishii, United States District Court, Eastern District of California, 2014
  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Moot Court Honors Board, 2012-2014; Executive Committee Member, 2013-2014
  • ABA San Francisco Appellate Advocacy Competition, Best Brief, 2014
  • Order of Barristers, 2014
  • Roger J. Traynor Honor Society, 2014
  • Witkin Award for Academic Excellence, Business Associations, 2014
  • Witkin Award for Academic Excellence, Drafting Laws and Regulations, 2014
  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Military Law Society, 2011-2014; Vice President, 2013-2014
  • United States Army, Bronze Star Medal, 2007 and 2008