Mary V. J. Cataldo's Profile Image

Mary V. J. Cataldo

Phone: 760-747-3200
Fax: 760-747-5574

Mary Cataldo is a partner of White and Bright and represents clients in trust and estate litigation and civil litigation.

Ms. Cataldo’s legal practice has focused primarily on trust and estate litigation for over twenty years, including matters involving will and trust contests, breach of fiduciary duty, and elder financial abuse. She has represented private fiduciaries, trustees, beneficiaries, and heirs both in defending and challenging the validity of estate planning documents and in various administration disputes, including accounting disputes and breach of fiduciary duty cases. She has also litigated a number of general business and real estate matters, including partnership disputes, boundary disputes, unlawful detainers, and quiet title disputes.

Ms. Cataldo is also an experienced mediator, having acted as a Temporary Judge for the Probate Court in connection with mandatory settlement conferences as well as serving as a private mediator in trust and estate litigation matters. Her professional manner, deep understanding of both family dynamics and monetary considerations, and her calm approach to settlement, has been highly successful in settling even the most difficult of cases.

Litigation is expensive, time consuming, and stressful to all parties involved. Ms. Cataldo brings an even-tempered approach to this process. She is sensitive to the cost of litigation, yet is also aggressive when necessary in fighting for her client’s rights. As one client put it, “Mary looks like everybody’s Grandma, but underneath is a bulldog when it comes to her client’s interests.”

Prior to White and Bright, Ms. Cataldo was Senior Counsel with one of the largest local law firms in San Diego. She has engaged in the practice of litigation for her entire career and began focusing on trust and estate litigation even before she became an attorney in 1994. Virtually all of her time as a lawyer has been focused on the unique needs of North San Diego County. She is highly respected by both the Court and her colleagues.

Ms. Cataldo serves on the Board of Directors of the Probate Attorneys of San Diego (PASD). She served as President of the North County Bar Association (2010) and served two terms on that organization’s Board of Directors.


  • J.D., Western State College of Law, San Diego, 1994
  • B.A., Education, University of Arizona, 1975

Admitted to Practice

  • California
  • Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, State of Colorado

Professional Associations

  • Conference of California Bar Associations (CCBA)
  • North County Bar Association
    President, 2010
  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Colorado


  • Super Lawyers, 2015-19
  • James J. Pfeifer Award, CCBA
  • North County Bar Attorney of the Year, 2012

Publications & Speaking Engagements

Ms. Cataldo is a frequent speaker at various events across the state, including the Professional Fiduciaries Association of California, the Probate Attorneys of San Diego County, and the Bar Association of Northern San Diego County. She created and conducted training programs for the Superior Court of California, North County Division. She has served as an Adjunct Professor for the University of San Diego and for Palomar College, teaching classes in Civil Litigation, Business Law, and Torts.

White and Bright News & Blog

November 15th, 2022
Mary Cataldo, a partner at White and Bright, LLP, was featured in the October/November 2022 Issue of North County Lawyer. Cataldo’s article, Penal Code Section 496(C) and Treble Damages in Probate Actions, explores the implications of the recen… Read More
February 17th, 2022
Mary Cataldo, a partner at White and Bright, LLP, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Probate Attorneys of San Diego (PASD). Cataldo will serve on the Board for the 2022-2025 term. Giving Back to the Organization Cataldo first became in… Read More
July 22nd, 2019
White and Bright, LLP is pleased to announce the addition of Mary V.J. Cataldo as the firm’s newest partner. Ms. Cataldo brings valuable experience to White and Bright and will add to the firm’s trust and estate and civil litigation practices… Read More