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240 Westgate Drive, Watsonville, CA 95076
Consultations vary based on type of case/practice area 831-740-8881 831-740-8881

James S. Farrar

Senior Counsel


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Prior to joining the Grunsky Law Firm, Mr. Farrar was an Assistant District Attorney in Santa Cruz County, where he first honed his trial skills. In 1975, he joined one of the oldest and most respected litigation law firms on the Central Coast, the Grunsky Law Firm, became a shareholder in 1979 and was the managing shareholder from 1990 through 1999.

For over 35 years Mr. Farrar has specialized in handling hundreds of trust, probate, elder abuse, fiduciary and conservatorship litigation matters and has vast experience in the courts of the Central Coast (Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito Counties) and Santa Clara County, California. He has a reputation as a tough, but fair, negotiator and trial lawyer, and the “go to” lawyer for trust and probate litigation on the Central Coast. In 2012, he successfully tried an elder abuse case resulting in a jury verdict that exceeded a million dollars, including punitive damages.

Mr. Farrar prides himself in finding practical solutions to complex and complicated legal problems. He has achieved excellent results by settlement, mediation and when necessary, bench or jury trial. Retired, long time Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge William M. Kelsay admires Mr. Farrar’s skill and ethics as an attorney and trial lawyer in his courtroom: “Jim is an excellent attorney who works in the best interests of his clients. He is always prepared, credible, and diligent in every legal task he performs.”

Mr. Farrar often serves as a Mediator, primarily in estate and trust litigation. Notably he mediated the resolution of a multi-party dispute in an $85,000,000 estate with complex litigation and tax issues.


Mr. Farrar received his law degree from U.C. Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, in 1973. He earned his B.A. degree from U.C. Berkeley in Anthropology with High Honors, in 1969.

In 2007, he completed specialized mediation training led by State Senator, Bill Monning, through the Mandell-Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law. In 2013, he completed intensive mediation training at the Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. He completed a further training at the Straus Institute in 2014.

Honors and Awards

Mr. Farrar is Peer Review rated AV Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (the highest rating of skill and ethics an attorney can obtain) for each of the last 23 years.

He has been selected a Northern California “Super Lawyer” for 10 years in Estate and Trust Litigation, a designation of the top 5% of lawyers in Northern California.  (www.superlawyers.com)

He is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (limited to top one-half of one (1) percent of trial lawyers). (www.litcounsel.org)

Professional Association Memberships

Mr. Farrar is a member of the State Bar of California and the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. .

He is a member of Santa Cruz County, Monterey County and Silicon Valley Bar Associations, Santa Cruz County Estate Planning Council, Monterey County Trusts and Estates Section (Executive Committee Member), and the Trusts and Estates Section of the State Bar. He is a frequent guest lecturer on a variety of estate, trust and elder abuse subject matters. Most recently he presented a program to the Monterey County Bar Association and Santa Cruz County Estate Planning Council:  “UNDUE INFLUENCE – What Is It and What Should You Know”

Community Activities and Personal Information

Mr. Farrar has been an active member of the Central Coast community. He has been a board member for Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Association and the Zero Balancing Health Association. For years he coached youth sports.

He is a long time volunteer on the Monterey County Superior Court Alternative Dispute Resolution panel.

Jim lives with his wife, Susan (CFO and Administration Director for Community Foundation Santa Cruz County) in Aptos, where they have raised five children. They are the proud grandparents of eight grandchildren. In his spare time, Jim enjoys the out of doors, gardening, hiking and most of all, spending time with his family.