The three founding members and name partners of Miller Starr Regalia, Harry D. Miller, Marvin B. Starr and Edmund L. Regalia (Harry, Marv and Ed) were contemporaries at Boalt Hall School of Law, with Harry graduating in 1957 and Marv and Ed the following year, in 1958.
After briefly practicing with smaller firms, Harry and Marv jointly opened their first office in Oakland. Soon after, Ed left his position with an old-line San Francisco firm and joined Harry and Marv in their rapidly expanding real estate practice, forming the firm Miller Starr & Regalia in 1964. The firm gained early prominence through its representation of the brokerage community and real estate syndicators and promoters, as well as institutional real estate developers and financial institutions.
For more than 30 years, the firm was headquartered in Oakland, which was then the epicenter of the East Bay real estate development boom of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Ed famously became the firm’s primary litigator while Harry and Marv handled the transactional side of the practice.
The first edition of the well-known and often cited treatise, Miller & Starr, Current Law of California Real Estate, was written and published in the earliest years of their partnership, with the first volume appearing in 1965. While the treatise bore the names only of Harry and Marv as authors, Ed was credited with writing several chapters in the first edition as well. All three founding members also taught real estate courses in the local community colleges and, in the case of Marv, in the business school of the University of California. Harry also taught real property law as an adjunct professor of the University of San Francisco School of Law from the 1970s into the 1990s, and Marv taught his real estate course at Cal for more than 30 years, developing a loyal following of former students who became prominent lawyers, real estate brokers and developers throughout California.
Harry passed away prematurely in 2002, and Ed took over Harry’s role as the editor in chief of the treatise for a number of years before retiring in 2008, and passing away in 2018. Marvin was an active and enthusiastic cheerleader for the firm in retirement and passed away in 2019.