Alameda County
Bar Association

VLSC Donor Spotlight: Herman Trutner and Elizabeth Trutner 

246_Herman-A.-Trutner-3_600 250_TrutnerFather and daughter team Herman (Tony) and Elizabeth (Beth) Trutner practice trusts & estates law at Trutner Law Office in Livermore. Both are generous supporters of VLSC, giving individually and as a firm. We asked them to tell us a little about their firm and why they support pro bono legal services.

1. Your practice, Trutner Law Office, has a long history in Alameda County, please tell us more about your firm.
Herman (Tony) A. Trutner and his daughter Elizabeth (Beth) E. Trutner formerly merged their trusts and estates law firms in 2011 and now practice together as Trutner Law Offices in Livermore. Tony began his career as a trust officer with Central Bank of Oakland in 1953, proceeded to study law, and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1965. From 1965 through 1991, he practiced law as an associate attorney and subsequently became a partner of Larson, Burnham & Trutner in Oakland, focusing on estate planning and probate law, and providing fiduciary services as well. In 1991, Mr. Trutner established his own solo practice in Oakland. He is a certified specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law.

Beth Trutner started practicing law in 1989, and in 1991 joined the downtown Livermore law firm of Varni, Fraser, Hartwell & Rodgers, becoming a partner in the firm in 1995 at the same time she too became a certified specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. Following Keith Fraser’s death in 2004, Ms. Trutner was the sole principal of Fraser, Hartwell & Trutner until she and her father joined forces in 2011. Alex Bowman recently joined the firm as an associate attorney, also focusing his practice on trusts and estates.

2. You and your firm are long-time supporters of VLSC, what inspires you to give?
The attorneys and staff at Trutner Law Offices are keenly aware of the high cost of quality legal representation and celebrate the work of Volunteer Legal Services Corporation (VLSC) in providing free legal assistance to low-income and poor people in Alameda County. We are on occasion contacted by grandparents seeking their appointment as guardians of their grandchildren, but who don’t have the means to pay the court costs let alone the legal fees. Similarly, the ever expanding population of seniors encounters a variety of problems, from financial abuse to paying for long term care. VLSC’s mission is to help these underserved groups, which is why we are inspired to help VLSC.

3. If you weren’t attorneys, what career would you choose?
A tough question! Beth’s dream career would probably be travel writer, but if she were to quit and become one, I’m afraid her essays would be full of “then living issue,” “attorney in fact” and “decedent’s intentions,” greatly limiting the appeal of her work!

As for Tony, he would have enjoyed running the Bay Area Single Handed Sailing Society while organizing the bi-annual Trans Pac sailing races from California to Hawaii.

4. What do you want to share with others about the impact of pro bono work in our community?
Pro bono work is essential to any community in which we would like to live. Simply put, bad things happen to good people, and having a social safety net which allows everyone equal access to a well-functioning legal system minimizes potentially damaging stress and tension throughout all segments of our society.

Thank you Tony and Beth for your support! To read more about VLSC volunteers, clients, trainings and recent events, please click here for the Fall 2014 VLSC Newsletter.