John (“J.D.”) Rees is Special Counsel in the Business Trial Practice Group of Sheppard Mullin’s Century City office.
Areas of Practice
J.D.’s practice focuses primarily on trusts and estates litigation and administration. He litigates all manner of probate-court disputes, including trust and will contests, heirship disputes, fiduciary-removal and surcharge actions, elder-abuse actions, contested conservatorships and guardianships, and more. J.D. also practices in civil court regularly, both in probate and in general commercial matters. In addition to litigating matters through mediation and trial, J.D. advises his individual, institutional, and nonprofit clients on adverse administrations of trusts and estates with assets that span the globe. And for the past two years, J.D. has helped clients in drafting and revising their estate plans (including wills and trusts).
J.D. is an active member of the Los Angeles legal community, where he has served for more than three years as an Executive Committee Member of the Trusts & Estates Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. J.D. also dedicates significant time towards pro bono matters, including pro bono representations of unaccompanied minors in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases and of victims of financial elder abuse in partnership with Bet Tzedek Legal Services. For the past four years, J.D. has served on Sheppard Mullin’s pro bono committee.
In his spare time, J.D. enjoys working as an alumni coach and tournament director for the award-winning UCLA School of Law Mock Trial Program. J.D. also sometimes writes articles and gives presentations to clients and professional groups about the digital-asset issues relating to trusts and estates in California.
Through his work and various professional involvements, J.D. has built a reputation as a tenacious but fair advocate for his clients, with a relentless urge to solve problems and, above all, an honest broker.
Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, Best Lawyers, 2023-2024
- Cryptocurrencies and Trustees’ Duty to Invest Prudently: Navigating Fiduciary Duties in The Age of DecentralizationTrust and Estates Quarterly – Volume 24, Issue 3, 2018
- Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, 04.2018
- Land of Confusion: Attorney-Client Privilege and Duty of Confidentiality in Guardianships and ConservatorshipsCalifornia Trusts and Estates Quarterly – Volume 23, Issue 4, 2017
- "Ethica Ex Machina: AI Ethics for T&E Attorneys and their Clients," USC Trusts & Estates Conference, November 17, 2023
- "Professional Responsibility in the Age of ChatGPT – Legal Ethics for T&E Practitioners and AI," Woodland Hills Estate Planning Council, November 9, 2023
- “The Crypto Craze: Decoding Digital Assets For Estate Planners, Litigators, And Fiduciary Clients In Trusts And Estates,” California Fellows Meeting for the American College of Trusts and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), August 2023
- "Communicating With and Assisting Clients With Neurocognitive Disorders: Signs, Tools, and Tips for Court-Appointed Counsel and Fiduciaries," Aviva K. Bobb Advanced Court-Appointed Counsel Training, Trusts & Estates Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, March 2023
- “A Practical Guide to Crypto Assets for Estate Planners, Trustees, And Estate Administrators," Probate Attorneys of San Diego, August 2022
- "Administering Trusts and Estates in the Age of Cryptocurrencies," Fiduciary Roundtable of the San Gabriel Valley, November 2019
- "Crypto and Blockchain 101 for California Estate Planners, Fiduciaries, and Fiduciary-Litigation Counsel," Professional Fiduciary Association of California, Inland Empire Chapter, July 2019
- "Crypto and Blockchain 101 for California Estate Planners, Fiduciaries, and Fiduciary-Litigation Counsel," San Francisco Estate Planning Council, May 2019
Secretary/Treasurer, LACBA Trusts and Estates Section Executive Committee (2023–present)
Attorney Coach and Tournament Coordinator, UCLA School of Law Mock Trial Program (2014–present)
Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (2014–present)
Member At Large, LACBA Trusts & Estates Section Executive Committee
Assistant Vice President of Special Events, LACBA Barristers/Young Attorneys Section Executive Committee (2020–21)
Secretary, LACBA Barristers/Young Attorneys Section Executive Committee (2018–19)
Member At Large, LACBA Barristers/Young Attorneys Section Executive Committee (2016–18)
Member At Large, LACBA LA Lawyer Magazine Editorial Committee (2016–18)
J.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2014
B.A., University of San Diego, 2010, cum laude
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California