Katie Balatbat

Of Counsel

Kathleen “Katie” Balatbat (née Lepore) focuses her practice mostly on estate planning, real estate, taxation, and trust administration. She is a proud Torero alumna three times over from the University of San Diego, receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy, a Master of Science in Taxation, and finally a few years later, her Juris Doctorate from the School of Law. After finishing her law degree and passing the California Bar Exam, Katie continued her studies in the areas of tax and estate planning in Washington D.C., pursuing a Masters of Laws LL.M. degree at Georgetown University Law Center.

In between graduate school and law school, Katie worked in Los Angeles at one of the “Big Four” accounting firms preparing tax returns for a variety of clients, including large C-corporations, pass-through entities, high net worth individuals, and complex trusts. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in California.

Katie clerked at the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Tax Division while attending classes at Georgetown, and worked at a boutique estate and tax planning law firm prior to joining WMA.  Katie was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star in years 2020-2024, nominated by her peers and awarded to the top 2.5% of attorneys in San Diego under age 40.  Katie was given the honor of being named by SD Metro Magazine as top 40 Under 40 in 2023, by San Diego Business Journal as a Woman of Influence in Law: Top 50 in 2022 and 2023, and as a finalist by San Diego Magazine as a Rising Star for the legal industry in 2023.  She has been an invited guest speaker at multiple real estate investor groups, as well as for the California Lawyer Association section of Young Tax Lawyers, and the local San Diego County Bar Association Taxation Section, teaching tax law concepts to fellow tax attorneys.

Awards & Professional Organizations

  • Licensed CPA in California
  • Super Lawyers Rising Star 2020-2024
  • San Diego Business Journal Women of Influence in Law: Top 50, 2022, 2023
  • SD Metro Magazine 40 Under 40, 2023
  • San Diego Magazine Legal Rising Star Finalist, 2023
  • American Bar Association Taxation, and Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law sections
  • San Diego County Bar Association Taxation, Estate Planning, and Real Property sections
  • California Lawyers Association Trusts and Estates section
  • CalCPA Member
  • Probate Attorneys of San Diego Member

Representative Matters

  • Estate Planning
  • Taxation
  • Real Estate
  • Entity Formation
  • Trust Administration


  • LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, taxation with certificate in estate planning
  • J.D., University of San Diego School of Law, cum laude
  • M.S. Taxation, University of San Diego
  • B. Acc, University of San Diego, summa cum laude  

Publications & Presentations

  • California Lawyers’ Association – Young Tax Lawyers, April 2023, continuing education presentation regarding estate planning, and estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer taxes
  • San Diego County Bar Association – Taxation Section, December 2021, presentation about recent tax law changes and upcoming legislation to other tax attorneys
  • SD Opportunity Knocks Real Estate Investment Group, October 2021, Real Estate Taxes, Real Estate Law, and 1031 Exchanges, regarding taxes, estate planning, entities, and other real estate matters
  • American Bar Association GPSolo eReport, February 2021, Estate Planning Lessons from Prince, Chadwick Boseman, and Kobe Bryant
  • San Diego County Bar Association For the Record, In the Presence of Greatness, October 2020
  • American Bar Association Tax Times, Trust and Estate Distributions in 2020 May Provide 2019 Tax Savings, Winter 2020
  • San Diego County Bar Association For the Record, Rent Control in California: How Will It Affect Landlords, October 2019
  • Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation Inside Basis, Safe Harbor for Pass-Through Deduction for Real Estate: Landlords Should Take Action Now, Spring 2019
  • San Diego County Bar Association For the Record, Fronting Money or Co-Signing for your Child’s Loan Can Have Hidden Tax Consequences, May 2019
  • San Diego County Bar Association For the Record, Adjust Your Tax Withholding to Avoid Penalties, April 2019
  • Close-Up on America’s Businesses, Guest Speaker Podcast, June 2018
Katie Balatbat portrait


Katie Balatbat, Esq.

Witham Mahoney & Abbott, LLP

401 B Street, Suite 2220
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619.407.0505
Email: balatbat@wmalawfirm.com
Web: www.wmalawfirm.com