David Newdorf has been a civil trial lawyer and business litigator in San Francisco since 1994. His law firm, Newdorf Legal, represents individuals, businesses and public entities in trials and appeals.
From 2001 to July 2008, he was a Deputy City Attorney on the trial team of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. At the City, he defended police civil rights claims, class actions and complex commercial disputes. He practices in both state and federal court at the trial and appellate levels.
Mr. Newdorf joined the City Attorney’s Office to get inside a courtroom on a regular basis and to try cases. Before joining the office, he was a litigation associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in San Francisco from 1994 to 2001.
At O’Melveny, he managed to get himself lent out to the City Attorney’s Office to handle a trial — a high-speed motor vehicle collision involving plaintiffs and an S.F.P.D. patrol car responding to a shooting call.
He got his first taste for trial work at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where the late Bill Hobbs taught an intensive trial advocacy class. The class was followed by an internship at the East Los Angeles Branch of the L.A. District Attorney’s Office. He was able to personally handle, under the supervision of a deputy D.A., felony preliminary hearings (mostly small drug offenses) and one misdemeanor DUI jury trial. (Defendant was convicted.)
Very early in his career (1995-96), he took a one-year hiatus from O’Melveny to clerk for Judge Charles A. Legge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It was there he got his first exposure to civil rights cases, which led to pro bono work at O’Melveny and more recently to his focus on police civil rights cases at the City. After court, Judge Legge would light up a pipe in chambers and regale the law clerks with trial stories from his days at Bronson Bronson & McKinnon (now defunct). The San Francisco legal community of Judge Legge’s early years seemed parochial and clubby compared to the bar today. These stories instilled in him an appreciation for local traditions, collegiality and a sense that San Francisco trial lawyers are part of a legal community with a proud history.
State of California
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
U.S. District Court, Central District of California
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.C. Berkeley, B.A., English 1982
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, M.S., 1983
Loyola Law School (Los Angeles), J.D., 1994
Professional Associations & Memberships
Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court (2008-11)
Bar Association of San Francisco
Legal Community Against Violence
Honors and Awards
Northern California Super Lawyers (2011)
James Madison Freedom of Information Award from the Society of Professional Journalists (2000) for a successful pro bono First Amendment lawsuit.