Gretchen Tomanek Shaffer


  • Gretchen Tomanek Shaffer
  • Phone: +1 619 744 2268

    Import to Address Book

  • Duane Morris LLP
    750 B Street, Suite 2900
    San Diego, CA 92101-4681

Gretchen Tomanek Shaffer focuses her practice on a wide variety of estate planning matters, primarily in the context of estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax, revocable and irrevocable trust planning, estate and trust administration, life insurance planning, charitable planning and intra-family transactions. She works with estates ranging from negligible assets, on a pro bono basis, to estates in excess of $2 billion.

Ms. Shaffer handles planning for clients with closely held businesses, concentrated real estate holdings, concentrated positions of publicly traded stock and ownership of professional sports franchises. She advises affiliates of publicly traded companies on estate and gift tax matters and represents corporate and private fiduciaries in estate and trust administration matters.

Ms. Shaffer works closely with private foundations and advises boards of trustees and boards of directors of charitable organizations on fiduciary duties and liabilities. She has drafted and overseen the operation of multiple charitable grant agreements in excess of $1 billion on behalf of her clients.

Ms. Shaffer is a 2007 magna cum laude graduate of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, where she was symposium editor of the Villanova Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif, and a magna cum laude graduate of Colgate University. Prior to entering law school, Ms. Shaffer worked as a project manager for Accenture in New York, where she implemented technology solutions for clients in the financial services industry.


  • California


  • Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2007
    - Symposium Editor, Villanova Law Review
    - Order of the Coif
  • Colgate University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1999


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2024-present
    - Special Counsel, 2022-2023
  • DLA Piper LLP
    - Associate, 2007-2022
  • Accenture LLP
    - Manager, 1999-2004

Professional Activities

  • California Lawyers Association
    - Trusts and Estates Section
    -- Member, Executive Committee
  • California Lawyers Association
    - Trusts & Estates Section
    - Taxation Section
  • American Bar Association

  • San Diego County Bar Association

  • La Jolla Estate Planning
    - Trust and Probate Section, Former Member

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2024

Selected Publications

  • Issue Editor, California Trusts & Estates Quarterly, Volume 28, Issues 1, 2, 3, 2022

  • Co-author, “Windsor’s Impact on Estate Planning and Administration,” California Trusts & Estates Quarterly, 2012

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Estate Planning,” County Counsels’ Association of California, Probate & Mental Health Section Meeting, March 2022

  • Speaker, “Going Beyond Traditional Wealth Planning,” Town Hall for Jewish Community Foundation of Minneapolis, August 2020

  • Speaker, “Philanthropy, Financial and Estate Planning for the Modern Family,” Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego’s Discoveries in Charitable Giving for Professional Advisors Program, January 2020