About Us

Shirley Tam

About Shirley

Why Trust and Estate Law?

Not many people are fortunate enough to have a job they truly enjoy. Few attorneys are lucky enough to practice in a field of law that they are passionate about. I am happy to say I have both.

How I came to choose to practice in the field of trusts and wills law was serendipitous. As a young attorney, I first practiced tax law. Although I enjoyed tax law, I was unhappy about my lack of client contact. There was little job satisfaction working day in and day out lowering the effective tax rate of large corporate entities.  Instead, I wanted to help individual people in my law practice.

Then, over a family dinner one night, my uncle casually asked me if I did anything with living trusts. The answer at the time was “no.” He explained that he was in need of a trusts and wills attorney to help set up his estate plan, because he was very concerned about what would become of my young cousins if something were ever to happen to him. He asked me to recommend someone, since he didn’t know how to differentiate one estate-planning attorney from another.

It was that pivotal night that made me realize I wanted to be trust and will attorney. It was what you might call an epiphany. My tax law background made it easy for me to transition into this area of law, and I would finally have the ability to meet with and directly help individual clients on a daily basis.

Since that fateful dinner conversation, I have worked diligently to become an experienced trust and estate lawyer, including litigating trust and estate matters as well as drafting and administering estate plans. My litigation experience distinguishes me from most other estate planning attorneys and my tax background has been very useful in reviewing and litigating over trust accountings.

I truly enjoy practicing trusts and estate law and am passionate, experienced, and knowledgeable. It gives me great satisfaction knowing that I have helped my clients. I serve each client with patience, attentiveness, and empathy. 


I was born and raised in southern California. For most of my life, I lived in the City of Monterey Park. I left for the Bay Area when I was accepted to the University of California at Berkeley (GO BEARS!), where I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with an emphasis in political theory. I attended Loyola Law School of Los Angeles directly after college and was admitted to the California Bar on December 2001.

I am also bilingual. I fluently speak Cantonese, a dialect commonly spoken in southern China, where my father is from, and Hong Kong, where my mother is from. I also speak some conversational Mandarin, the official Chinese dialect.

I am a member of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Silicon Valley Bar Association, and the Santa Clara County Estate Planning Council. I also participate in a local estate planning litigation group, which is where I meet with other trust and estate litigators to discuss the latest law cases and legal issues.

Well-Rounded Experience

My litigation experience distinguishes me from most other estate planning attorneys by giving me a unique perspective on how to create estate plans to withstand litigation or argument after the settlor is gone. A poorly drafted estate plan is rife with ambiguity, which makes it susceptible to multiple interpretations and oftentimes leads to arguments in Court.


I am married and a working mother of two young children. I maintain a good work-life balance and whenever time allows, like to scrapbook and throw dinner parties for my family and friends. Aside from law books, I have a large collection of recipes and cookbooks.