Serving The Bay Area And All Of California For More Than A Decade

Photo of the reception room of Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP
John S. Rueppel

John S. Rueppel

  • Partner

Legal Secretary

Patty DeOcampo

Practice Areas:

  • Trust and Estates Litigation
  • Trust Administration
  • Probate


  • University of California College of the Law, San Francisco, (formerly U.C. Hastings) J.D., 2009
  • University of San Francisco School of Law, 2006 to 2007
  • Loyola College of Baltimore, M.Ed. 2000
  • Cornell University, B.A., Bachelor of Arts, 1993

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, CA State Bar, 2018


John Rueppel is a Partner at Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP.  John has extensive experience with trust and estate litigation in all Bay Area jurisdictions as well as around California.  He has represented trustees and trust beneficiaries in contested matters such as trust contests, removal petitions, contested accountings, and other trust matters.  He has also represented executors and administrations and estate beneficiaries in will contests, accountings, and Probate Code 850 claims as well as individual parties in cases involving financial elder abuse, fraud, and undue influence.

Before joining Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP, John was a founding partner at O’Neil & Rueppel, LLP, a trust and estates boutique firm located in San Francisco.

John is a member of the State Bar of California, the Bar Association of San Francisco, and is a member of the Litigation and Trusts & Estates Sections of both organizations.  He has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Star from 2015 to 2019, and in 2020 was recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer.  He earned his B.A. from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and his J.D. magna cum laude from University of California College of the Law (formerly UC Hastings).  John is a certified specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law.

John has contributed to the community through his pro-bono work for Bay Area organizations such as the Aids Legal Referral Panel, and the California Lawyers for the Arts.  He is also on the Diversity Committee of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association and is President of the Lawyers Club of San Francisco Inn of Court.

John lives in San Francisco with his wife and two sons.  In his spare time, John meditates, runs, and plays chess and archery with his boys.

Bar Admissions

  • California, 2009


  • “Perfectly Matched Client and Attorney = Another Successful LRIS Referral” February 25, 2016, Bulletin of the Bar Association of San Francisco

Professional Associations

  • San Francisco Bar Association, Member
  • Lawyer's Club San Francisco Inn of Court, President
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Diversity Committee, Membership Committee
  • California Lawyer for the Arts, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member

Community Involvement

  • AIDS Legal Referral Panel, 2010 to 2020
  • California Lawyers for the Arts, 2010 to 2018

Classes & Seminars

  • CLE Presentation: Trust and Estate Litigation, Trial, and People v. Sanchez June 7, 2022
  • CLE Presentation: “Uberwhelmed? Try Under? The Legal Troubles of an Upstart Business” January 10, 2018
  • CLE Presentation: “Discovery: It Isn’t Sexy, But It Makes You Attractive to a Potential Employer” October 19, 2016
  • CLE Presentation: “I See Dead People: Fatalities in Litigation” January 13, 2016