Attorney Profile

John M. Van Atta - Patten, Peterman, Bekkedahl & Green, PLLC in Billings MT
University of Montana, Missoula, BA English Literature, High Honors (2005)
University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, JD (2008)


John M. Van Atta

John practices in the areas of closely-held business planning, estate planning, trust and estate administration, tax, real estate and commercial transactions, and entrepreneurial planning and finance. John also litigates shareholder and partner disputes and will, trust, and probate controversies.

John graduated from the University of Montana, Missoula with high honors where he competed for the Griz in track and field and was named Academic All-Conference. From Missoula, John attended the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, California, where he obtained his law degree in 2008. While at Hastings, John competed for the Hastings Trial Team and Moot Court Team and served as a production editor for the Hastings Constitutional Law Journal. During law school, John interned for the United States Attorney’s Office, the California Attorney General’s Office and performed a summer clerkship on the Montana Supreme Court with Justice James C. Nelson.

Before practicing law, John worked in wealth management as a registered securities broker and investment advisor, obtaining his FINRA Series 7 and series 66 licenses. John was also a Level 1 candidate for the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. John continues an interest in business analysis and securities transactions in the practice of law.

John’s experience includes business planning, formation, and operation; working with entrepreneurs and emerging companies to organize and plan for funding and capitalization; helping families, business owners, and farmers and ranchers plan for their estates and business succession; and administering both taxable and non-taxable estates and trusts. John’s litigation experience includes will and trust contests and defense; brining and defending claims for breach of fiduciary duty; partnership and limited liability disputes and dissolutions, minority shareholder oppression and fraud. John has experience in complex, multi-state commercial arbitration involving claims of securities fraud, constructive fraud, and breach of contract.

Memberships and Recognition
State Bar of Montana, Business, Estates, Trusts, Tax and Real Estates Section BETTER Section
American Bar Association, Real Property, Trusts and Estates Section
American Bar Association, Taxation Section
American Bar Association, Business Section
State Bar of North Dakota
State Bar of Wyoming
Presenter, CLE Institute - State Bar of Montana, LLC v. S Corp: What’s best for your client?, August 2017
Presenter, National Business Institute, Estate Planning for Owners of Oils and Gas Rights, July, 2015
Presenter, National Business Institute, Grantor Trusts from Start to Finish, November 2016
Presenter to financial advisors and insurance agents
Instructor, Montana State University-Billings, Business Law
North Dakota
Montana District Courts
North Dakota District Courts
Wyoming District Courts
United States District Court for Montana
United States District Court for Wyoming
Community Involvement
Downtown Billings Rotary (2009-Present)
Board Member, Downtown Billings Rotary, 2013-2015
Board Member, Billings Studio, 2014-Present