SAN FRANCISCO — Hopkins & Carley, a 65-lawyer firm with offices in San Jose and Palo Alto, has named a business and real estate litigator as its new managing shareholder.

Jeffrey Essner, who joined the firm in 1989, will begin his three-year term on July 1, the firm announced on Monday. He has been a member of the executive committee since 2008, and chaired the litigation department for a decade.

Essner said he plans to add IP litigators to the Palo Alto office as well as grow the firm’s employment and corporate practices. In addition, he plans to capitalize on the firm’s established family wealth and tax planning department because it has the potential “to feed into the firm’s various litigation practices, such as trust and estate and real estate,” he said.

“Our goal is to be the most highly regarded estate planning law firm in Northern California, possibly all of California,” he said. The estate planning department currently serves high net worth Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, he said.

Essner has big shoes to fill. Hopkins & Carley’s current managing partner, William Klein, has been at the helm for 15 years. Under his leadership, the firm doubled in size, according to Essner, and added its Palo Alto office in 2010 by partnering with a team of estate planners from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Klein will remain a partner in the litigation department, and he will serve in an advisory capacity to the management committee.

Contact the reporter at npierrepont@alm.com.