from the Los Angeles Daily Journal July 1, 2014
Jon J. Gallo 1942-2014
Attorney was adviser on good parenting
By Alexandra Schwappach
Daily Journal Staff Writer
Jon J. Gallo, a nationally recognized trust and estates attorney who spent 45 years at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP in Los Angeles, died June 7 after a 19-month battle with cancer. He was 72.
As an attorney, Gallo was often part of his clients' extended family and used estate planning as a means to raise financially responsible children. He and his wife, Dr. Eileen Gallo, a nationally known psychotherapist, wrote two books together about raising financially intelligent kids, including "Silver Spoon Kids: How Successful Parents Raise Responsible Children." The two also developed a new approach to trust design called The Financial Skills Trust and other tax-based wealth transfer strategies.
"He helped wealthy families raise children who would be productive and fiscally responsible," said Dennis B. Ellman, real estate partner at Greenberg. "He was special in that regard."
Gallo would often create trusts where the availability of money to children was dependent on their productivity, Ellman recalled.
Friends and colleagues say Gallo leaves behind a lasting personal story as well. He was not only an attorney but a master chef, photographer, music and movie enthusiastic and fisherman.
"Jon was the brightest, most imaginative and creative attorney I have had the privilege of working with in my 43 years at the bar," said Robert Bennett, a retired Greenberg partner who worked with Gallo for 30 years.
Bennett said he often wondered if the "renaissance man" ever slept.
Gallo joined Greenberg as its ninth attorney in 1967 after graduating from UCLA School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and sat on Law Review. Gallo started at Greenberg during a time when many other firms were jettisoning trust and estate practices, said Norman H. Levine, a litigation attorney at Greenberg and its former managing partner.
"We've found it to be largely because of Jon that we were able to grow and build that practice area," Levine said. "Jon is responsible for the estate practice at Greenberg being what it is."
Gallo was a fellow at the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, founding member of UCLA's Estate Planning INstitute Advisory Board, and chair of several American Bar Association committees. He was also a sought-after public speaker.
In January he gave his last speech to the Institute on Tax, Estate Planning and the Economy sponsored by Los Angeles Branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Professionals and UC Irvine School of Law. The society recently announced that all future keynote addresses at that event would be known as the Jon Gallo Memorial Lecture.
Steve R. Akers, a managing director of Bessemer Trust who worked with Gallo at the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, said Gallo taught him to embrace the personal relationship aspect of estate planning.
"Jon was always thinking outside the box," Akers said. "He leaves behind quite a legacy of knowledge. He presented ideas that people will continue to work with and refine."
Jon is survived by his wife, Dr. Eileen Gallo, his children Valerie (Carlos) Olvera; Donald (Debbie) Gallo; and Kevin (Chandra) Gallo, and his grandchildren Emily Gallo, Joshua Gallo, Carlos Jon Olvera and Hayley Gallo.