1000 Main Street, 3rd Floor, Napa, CA, US 94559
707 486-5171


David B. Gaw, Managing Partner Co-Founder In 1972, Dave co-founded Gaw Van Male with his friend Nick. Over the next 45 years, the firm grew to become Napa Valley’s premier law firm. Dave serves as the firm’s managing partner, guiding its lawyers and creating strategies for the near future.
A core GVM value is community involvement. Dave has lived this value the entirety of his legal career. Dave is heavily involved in the Napa Valley community, having been present for much of the community’s change over the years. He has seen Napa grow from a small town into the thriving center for wine and business that it is today. Dave is a past Chairman of many Napa Valley organizations including North Bay Bancorp and most recently the Napa Valley Community Foundation. Dave’s gratitude for his wonderful life encourages him to give back to the community that has fostered Gaw Van Male and served as an outstanding place to raise a family.
Dave Gaw advises high net worth individuals and families in all aspects of estate planning, including tax-advantaged transfers of assets, multigenerational planning, the taxation of trusts and estates and charitable giving. As a trusted advisor, he counsels a broad range of clients, including owners of national companies, closely held businesses, and international clients with multi-jurisdictional contacts. He proudly lists some of California’s leading vineyard owners, winemakers, farmers and ranchers amongst his most significant clients.
Dave is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law, designated by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He is a former member of the Executive Committee for the State Bar of California Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section. He is also a certified Elder Law Attorney of the National Elder Law Foundation, a member of the prestigious Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and an ACTEC fellow; as well as Vice President of LAWPACT, an International Association of Independent Business Law Firms.
Dave is a frequent lecturer for the State Bar of California, the Continuing Education of the Bar, the CalCPA Education Foundation, and various private groups throughout California and the nation. He is the creator of The Gaw System: The Art of High End Estate Planning, and The Gaw System of Trust Administration which are widely used by attorneys and CPAs. He has authored the California Trust Administration (CEB) chapters Administering the Single-Person Trust After Settlor’s Death, and Subtrust Allocation and Funding on the Death of the First Spouse, and co-author of Administering Moderate Married Settlor Trust on the Death of the First Spouse and Further Steps After the Death of the First Spouse. He is also the author of the CEB Action Guides Marital Deduction Subtrust Funding and Administering a Single-Person Trust After Settlor’s Death.

Areas of Practice
Basic and Advanced Estate Planning | Trust and Probate Administration | Wine Law

University of California, Hastings College of Law, J.D., 1971
Order of the Coif, 1971
University of Colorado, B.A., 1967

State Bar of California, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section, Member, Executive Committee Member for six years
National Elder Law Foundation, accredited by the American Bar Association, Certified Elder Law Attorney
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Council of Advanced Practitioners, Member
LAWPACT, International Association of Independent Business Law firms, Vice President
Napa County Bar Association, President (1994), and Chair (1982-1986), Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Section
Solano County Bar Association, Member
American College of Trust and Estate Council, Member

Honors & Awards
Northern California Super Lawyer, 2004 – 2015
Matindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent, 2015
California Continuing Education of the Bar, Spirit of CEB Award for contribution to the continuing education of the legal profession, 2008
California CPA Education Foundation award for the single all-around most outstanding Education Foundation course author in 2007
Napa County Legal Secretaries Association, Attorney of the Year, 1998
California Continuing Education of the Bar, Outstanding Educator, 2006, 2005

Joined the Firm
Co-Founder, 1972