Named 2018 Best Attorney in San Diego
Exciting news for this month’s blog post. The SD METRO Magazine (formerly San Diego Metropolitan Magazine) recently requested nominations for Top Attorneys in San Diego.
I am pleased to say my credentials spoke volumes to the judges -- as often we attorneys are known to do. And I’m pleased to announce that I, along with 22 other top attorneys, were featured in the April 2018 No. 4 Vol. XXXIII issue of the SD METRO publication.
My nominator, 1170AM Radio Talk Show Host Andrea Kaye, pointed out that of the 23 attorneys recognized, I was the only estate planning attorney selected as one of San Diego’s best attorneys. Now, that’s an outstanding honor I’m humbled to accept. People have asked me what criteria was used for the selection process, and how did I qualify. Three areas were taken into consideration: accomplishments, community involvement, and achievements.
Here’s my story, as they say, and I’m sticking to it: Nominee Accomplishments: Rodney J. (“Rod”) Hatley is the founder of San Diego-based Hatley Law Group, A P.C. Rod began his legal career working in personal injury litigation and then for the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, first as a Criminal Defense Counsel and Legal Assistance Attorney and then as a Staff Judge Advocate and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. His journey to becoming an estate planning attorney began with a devastating, drawn out seven-year probate. His father had been ill for a while before he died. Though Rod knew that his father needed to set up a trust and undertake additional advanced planning to prepare for his eventual passing, his father could not bear the thought of parting with legal title to the assets he had spent his life accumulating. Because of this lack of preparation, it took Rod and his sister seven years to get through probate in their hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. In 1995, based on this experience, Rod decided he wanted to learn more about tax law and to find out the best way to ensure that family wealth wouldn’t be devastated by confiscatory estate taxes and the costs and delays of probate. After coming off active duty in the JAG Corps, Rod pursued a Master of Laws from the University of San Diego School of Law’s acclaimed graduate tax program and shifted into estate planning, trust, and probate law. In addition, Rod was editor of For California Doctors: A Guide to Asset Protection, Tax and Estate Planning (Guardian Publishing, LLC, 2009) and co-author of Giving: Philanthropy for Everyone (Quantum Press, 2003). Rod is a firm believer that knowledge is power. For this reason, he sponsors and serves as guest host and/or guest on “The Andrea Kaye Show” on KCBQ AM1170. His “news you can use” segment on estate planning and tax law with call-in listeners is quite popular. He has also appeared on Craig Sewing’s “The American Dream” TV Show on the topic of understanding the importance of estate planning.
Nominee Community Involvement: Rod is active in both his professional and his community. Here are some of the organizations with which he is involved: San Diego Community Leadership Council, American Cancer Society; board member, Business Executives Council; member, Nice Guys San Diego; member, North County Estate Planning Council; member, Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Estates and Trusts Council; and, member, San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club. When he isn’t busy with his practice or volunteering, Rod enjoys scuba diving (he is open water certified), snorkeling, and surfing (which he does very badly). He is an avid fan of Mid-Century Modern architecture. When asked for one fact a lot of people don’t know about him, many are surprised to learn that Rod enjoys improv. He took an improv course at the Groundlings Theatre in Los Angeles when he was in the Navy and stationed in the High Desert of California back in the mid-1990s. He started doing improv again in 2016 with the National Comedy Theatre in San Diego. As Rod observes, “Improv is practicing failing—a lot!”
Nominee Achievements: Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal (gold star in lieu of second award); National Defense Service Medal; Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International; and, Finalist, BNY Mellon Advisor of the Year, Best Estate Planning for Pre-Merger & Acquisition.
Once again, I am honored to have been selected, out of the attorneys nominated, for the distinction of being a 2018 Best Attorney in San Diego!