NAPA -- Gaw Van Male, a Napa-based law firm that specializes in business law, estate planning and related litigation, announced it has added six attorneys as it seeks to secure its rank as one of the top firms in the North Bay.

The firm, which has offices in Napa, Fairfield, Vacaville and the Redlands, also said it expects to hire two additional attorneys in 2013.

“The addition of these six attorneys to the (Gaw Van Male) family will only further our goals of providing personal service in a friendly and approachable manner while being active participants in the community," said firm co-founder Dave Gaw in a statement. "We know our clients – and community – will be well served by them."

The new hires bring the total number of full-time attorneys to 21, which makes it the third largest firm by that measure across Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties, according to the North Bay Business Journal's current Book of Lists.  Gaw Van Male said the hires reflect "an eye toward longevity." 

The new attorneys are:

-- Molly Garhart, who will be a senior intellectual property counsel.  Ms. Garhart began her legal career as an intellectual property attorney at a leading international law firm.  From there, she joined a major San Francisco law firm prosecuting domestic and international trademark applications and representing clients in complex trademark and other intellectual property disputes. She earned her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

-- Robyn Christo, who brings a background in general civil litigation and is a member of the firm's Wealth Preservation and Litigation teams. She specializes in handling contested probate and trust administration matters, as well as in trust and probate litigation. Ms. Christo started with Gaw Van Male in July. She started her career with an AmLaw 100 firm in San Francisco in 2009 and was recently recognized by Northern California Super Lawyers as a Rising Star. She obtained her degree from University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).

-- Jeffrey Stephens, who also joined the firm in July of this year and is a member of the firm's Wealth Preservation and Tax teams, specializing in high-end estate planning and trust administration. He  graduated from UCLA School of Law.

-- James Haskell, the third attorney who joined the firm in July 2012 and will be a part of the Wealth Preservation, Business and Tax teams. He has worked for the U.S. Senate and received his LLM -- Master of Laws -- from top-ranked Georgetown University Law Center.

-- Gantry Griffin, who joined earlier this year and who will be a part of the firm's Wealth Preservation Team. He graduated from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 2011 and is a member of the Order of the Coif.

-- Elizabeth Nuss, a Sonoma County native who was sworn in today as a member of the California State Bar by Diane Price, presiding judge of the Napa County Superior Court. She served as editor of the Santa Clara Law Review while in law school and as vice president of the Labor and Employment Law Society. She will be a part of the firm's Litigation team.

Gaw Van Male, which has operated in Napa for the past 40 years,  specializes in wealth preservation and business law, with teams dedicated to wine law, real estate law, litigation, and tax law.