Laurie Edelstein is a trial lawyer dedicated to partnering with her clients to tackle and solve difficult problems and known for her mastery of the facts and the law. She represents corporations and individuals in complex business disputes, energy matters, antitrust cases, and white-collar matters. She also advises companies on compliance issues and policies and procedures. Laurie is passionate about her work and combines creativity, sound judgment, and fierce advocacy to achieve results for her clients consistent with their business objectives and regulatory obligations. She uses targeted discovery and strategic motion practice to obtain successful outcomes before trial. But when necessary, Laurie is prepared to take a case to trial.
Laurie has been recognized by Legal 500 US, Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and Legal Media Group’s Expert Guides as a leading commercial and white-collar lawyer.
Laurie tailors the strategy to her clients' goals. For some clients, the goal is to avoid litigation. For other clients, it is litigate aggressively to position the case for settlement. And for some, the goal is to win at whatever cost.
Over the course of her career, Laurie has helped clients with complex contract disputes, business interruption loss claims, fraud allegations, securities matters, unfair business practice cases, and business tort claims. She has particular experience with energy-related matters. Laurie also has defended individuals and corporate clients in criminal investigations, prosecutions, and regulatory proceedings involving allegations of securities fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, and tax fraud.
Laurie has tried cases in both federal and state court. One judge before whom she tried a case remarked that Ms. Edelstein was "extremely knowledgeable both in the law and the minutiae of the facts" and provided "extraordinarily strong representation for her client."
Laurie maintains an active pro bono practice and also is active in her community. For many years, she served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Tandem, an early childhood literacy and family engagement organization. She also was on the board of the San Francisco Vikings Soccer Club and The Cutting Ball Theater, an experimental theater company.
- New York
- US District Court, Eastern District of California
- US District Court, Central District of California
- US District Court, Northern District of California
- US District Court, Southern District of California
- US District Court, Eastern District of New York
- US District Court, Southern District of New York
- Hon. Myron H. Thompson, US District Court, Middle District of Alabama
- J.D., Yale Law School, 1992, Joseph L. Parker Prize in Legal History
- M. Phil., Yale University, 1989, Mellon Fellow in the Humanities; Richard J. Franke Prize Fellow in the Humanities
- A.B., Stanford University, 1986, Phi Beta Kappa; President’s Award for Academic Excellence
Areas of Practice
- Defending a large energy provider in New England in a federal antitrust and state consumer protection class action lawsuit alleging manipulation of the natural gas transportation, wholesale gas, and wholesale electricity markets and seeking more than $3.6 billion in damages. The district court dismissed the action, holding the filed rate doctrine bars the federal and state law claims because they interfere with FERC's jurisdiction over the natural gas transportation and interstate wholesale electricity markets. The court also dismissed the federal claims on alternative antitrust law grounds. The case is on appeal.
- Representing a major electric utility in connection with a power outage at the world’s busiest airport during the holiday season and claims of business interruption losses.
- Defending a major public utility in four related RICO and antitrust cases in the Northern District of California brought by third-party suppliers of natural gas to residential and commercial customers. The third-party gas suppliers contend the utility has engaged in improper billing and collection practices, allegedly harming competition among suppliers of natural gas in Northern California.
- Achieved a significant victory for Pacific Gas and Electric Company as lead counsel in a federal court jury trial where a refinery was seeking more than $13.5 million in business interruption losses and prejudgment interest because of a power outage. PG&E accepted responsibility for the outage but maintained the refinery was responsible for a substantial portion of its damages because of the negligent construction and maintenance of its electrical systems. The jury agreed with Laurie and her team, finding the refinery was negligent and awarding the refinery only $3.5 million in damages, substantially less than it was seeking.
- Successfully represented a national department store in a series of expedited arbitrations against its landlord arising from a sale-leaseback transaction involving 12 department stores. The landlord had refused to reimburse the department store for costs incurred in relocating the stores in violation of the terms of the master lease. Several targeted pretrial motions and a hearing in the first arbitration led to a favorable settlement for Laurie’s client.
- Defended an investment broker charged with tax fraud, conspiracy, obstruction, and mail fraud in a federal criminal jury trial. After mounting a vigorous defense, which included Laurie's cross-examination of the government's expert and several other key witnesses, Laurie's client was acquitted of tax fraud and conspiracy. Ultimately, her client’s conviction on the obstruction and mail fraud charges was overturned because of juror misconduct.
- Succeeded in obtaining dismissal of a consumer class action alleging unfair business practices and fraud against Southern California Edison Company at the trial court level. Laurie then briefed and argued the appeal, which affirmed the dismissal. The appellate court recognized that state law foreclosed the action challenging implementation of a low-income customer assistance program because it would undermine a regulatory and supervisory policy of the California Public Utilities Commission.
- Successfully defended a high-level mutual fund executive in a shareholder derivative and class action suit and related litigation arising from a bond fund's investments in mortgage-backed securities. The derivative and class action suit claimed that Laurie's client, along with other executives and officers of the fund, had breached their fiduciary duties to the fund. The trial court dismissed the suit on summary judgment and the court of appeal affirmed the dismissal.
"California Trial Evidence 2015," Practising Law Institute, San Francisco, CA, October 22, 2015
"Distinguishing Between Business Ethics and Legal Ethics and Ensuring the Code of Professional Responsibility is Followed with Regard to Conflicts Challenges, Privileges, Internal Investigations, and Waivers," Women Leaders in Environmental & Energy Law Working Group, American Conference Institute, January 4, 2015
"Thinking Like a GC: Updates on the Substantive Legal Developments Affecting Energy Companies in 2015 and Beyond," Women Leaders in Environmental & Energy Law Working Group, American Conference Institute, January 3, 2015
News & Publications
September 17, 2018
August 15, 2018
July 10, 2018
May 7, 2018
August 15, 2017
August 10, 2017
July 14, 2017
July 11, 2017
June 2, 2017
December 30, 2016
- Daily Journal, Top Women Lawyers (2018)
- Super Lawyers, Northern California, Business Litigation (2017-2018)
- Legal 500 US, Litigation: Commercial Litigation (2017)
- Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation (2016-2019)
- Best Lawyers in America, Bet-the-Company Litigation (2019)
- Legal Media Group's Expert Guides: Leading Women in Business Law (2015-2019)
- Legal Media Group's Expert Guides: Leading Women in White Collar Crime (2015-2019)
- Edward J. McFetridge Inn of Court
- National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
- Bar Association of San Francisco
- Bay Area Women White-Collar Defense Attorneys