Alternate Office
  • New York
  • 1114 Avenue of the Americas
  • New York, NY 10036
  • TEL: +1 212 378 7502
  • FAX: +1 212 506 3950

Areas of Practice
Education
  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1992, Joseph L. Parker Prize in Legal History
  • Yale University, M. Phil., 1989, Mellon Fellow in the Humanities, Richard J. Franke Prize Fellow in the Humanities
  • Stanford University, A.B., 1986, Phi Beta Kappa, President’s Award for Academic Excellence
Judicial Clerkships
  • Hon. Myron H. Thompson, Chief Judge, US District Court, Middle District of Alabama
Bar & Court Admissions
  • California
  • New York
  • US District Court, Central District of California
  • US District Court, Eastern 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
1 Market Street
Steuart Tower, Suite 1800
San Francisco CA 94105
TEL: +1 415 365 6770
FAX: +1 415 365 6699

Laurie Edelstein is a trial lawyer dedicated to partnering with her clients to tackle and resolve difficult problems.  Ms. Edelstein’s practice spans commercial litigation and white-collar matters, and she has tried cases in both federal and state court.  She combines sound judgment, meticulous preparation, and forceful advocacy to achieve successful outcomes for her clients consistent with their business objectives and regulatory obligations. 

Ms. Edelstein has handled a wide range of commercial cases, including complex contract disputes, securities and other class action litigation, antitrust matters, unfair business practice claims, fraud actions, and energy-related matters.  She also has substantial experience defending individual and corporate clients in criminal investigations and prosecutions and in proceedings before regulatory agencies that involve allegations of securities fraud, False Claims Act (FCA) violations, insider trading, market manipulation, and tax fraud.

Known for her mastery of the law and her ability to explain complex facts in an easy to understand way, Ms. Edelstein obtains excellent results for her clients based on her pretrial work.  Ms. Edelstein is equally effective at trial, providing vigorous representation for her clients in high stakes litigation.  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.”   

Ms. Edelstein is active in her community, serving as the chair of the board of directors of Tandem, an early childhood literacy and family engagement organization.  She is also on the board of the San Francisco Vikings Soccer Club.  Previously, Ms. Edelstein served on the board of directors of The Cutting Ball Theater, an experimental theater company.

Recent Trials

  • Lead counsel for a public utility in a federal court jury trial in a breach of contract and negligence action brought by a refinery seeking more than $13 million in business interruption losses arising from a power outage.  Jury rejected refinery’s breach of contract claim and awarded a comparative fault verdict based on the refinery’s negligent construction and maintenance of its electrical systems.
  • Second chair in a federal criminal jury trial defending an investment broker against charges of tax fraud, conspiracy, obstruction, and mail fraud.  Client was acquitted of tax fraud and conspiracy.  Conviction on other charges overturned because of juror misconduct.
  • Lead counsel for a group of plaintiffs in a breach of contract action to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in electricity overpayments from municipal and governmental entities arising from the manipulation of prices in the California wholesale energy markets.  Won a bench trial on defendants’ statute of limitations defense leading to favorable settlements and overall recovery of more than $200 million.
  • Key member of a trial team that secured the acquittal of a hedge fund manager of securities fraud and conspiracy charges in one of the only federal criminal jury trials arising out of recent financial crisis.

Commercial Litigation Matters

Ms. Edelstein’s commercial cases have included complex contract disputes, securities and other class action litigation, antitrust cases, business torts, and energy-related matters.  Ms. Edelstein has been successful in obtaining dismissal of actions prior to trial through strategic motion practice and targeted discovery.  But when necessary, she is prepared to take a case to trial.  Representative matters include:

  • Defense of a major public utility in four related antitrust and RICO actions alleging anticompetitive conduct in the retail natural gas supply industry.
  • Defense of a company in an antitrust and consumer protection class action lawsuit alleging manipulation of the natural gas transportation industry leading to increased gas and electric prices.
  • Representation of a public utility in connection with a major power outage at the world’s busiest airport.
  • Representation of a major national department store in a series of expedited arbitrations arising from a sale-leaseback transaction.
  • Defense of a public utility in a breach of contract and negligence action brought by a refinery arising from a power outage.  Federal court jury rejected contract claim and returned comparative fault verdict on negligence claim.
  • Representation of a tech start-up company in an investor dispute.
  • Defense of a company in a consumer class action alleging unfair business practices and fraud in connection with implementation of a low-income customer assistance program.  Won dismissal of the action in trial court and secured affirmance on appeal on state preemption grounds.
  • Defense of a high-level mutual fund executive in a shareholder derivative suit and civil litigation arising from a bond fund’s investments in mortgage-backed securities.  Derivative suit dismissed on summary judgment.
  • Defense of companies in a multiple-plaintiff lawsuit alleging products liability and negligence in connection with installation of wireless meters and alleged harmful radio frequency emissions.  Secured dismissal of the action pre-discovery on federal and state preemption grounds.
  • Representation of individuals in connection with arbitration between two biotech companies in dispute over rights to drug.
  • Defense of investment brokers in multiple breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud actions arising from customers’ participation in investment strategies deemed to be tax shelters.  Favorable settlements secured after motion practice.
  • Defense of a hedge fund manager in breach of contract and fraud actions arising from the collapse of hedge funds invested in mortgage-backed CDOs.  Favorable settlements secured after motion practice.
  • Defense of a tech company in a misappropriation of ideas suit.  Secured voluntary dismissal of the action after plaintiff’s deposition.
  • Representation of a hedge fund in a jury trial seeking to enforce a stock purchase agreement against claims of alleged market manipulation activities.  The trial court set aside the jury verdict and directed specific performance of agreement.  Court of appeal affirmed judgment.
  • Defense of an international bank against fraud and negligent representation claims in a long-running dispute with a hedge fund arising from an international securities transaction.  Appellate court ultimately determined that the bank – a non-party to the share purchase agreement – was entitled to enforce the agreement’s arbitration clause.

Government Investigations and White-Collar Matters

Ms. Edelstein has defended individual and corporate clients in criminal investigations and prosecutions and in proceedings before regulatory agencies, including the SEC and FINRA.  Her white-collar matters have involved allegations of securities fraud, False Claims Act (FCA) violations, insider trading, market manipulation, and tax fraud.  Representative matters include:

  • Defense of an investment broker in a federal criminal jury trial against charges of tax fraud, conspiracy, mail fraud, and obstruction.  Client was acquitted of tax fraud and conspiracy. Conviction on other charges overturned because of juror misconduct.
  • Defense of a hedge fund manager in a federal criminal jury trial charging securities fraud and conspiracy arising out of hedge fund’s investments in mortgage-backed CDOs and defense of the manager in a parallel SEC enforcement action.  Client was acquitted of all charges.
  • Representation of individuals in US Department of Justice false claims investigation into medical device company.
  • Defense of a bank employee in a FINRA insider trading case.
  • Defense of a high-level mutual fund executive in a SEC enforcement action arising from a bond fund’s investments in mortgage-backed securities.
  • Representation of a national winery in an investigation related to its liquor marketing practices.

Appellate Matters

Ms. Edelstein is also an experienced and successful appellate advocate, having won several appeals in recent years. 

  • Affirmance of a trial court’s dismissal of class action complaint in an unfair business practices and fraud action.
  • Reversal of a trial court order denying arbitration in a renewable energy contract dispute.
  • Reversal of a trial court order dismissing a defendant because of an alleged failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Noteworthy

  • Legal 500 US, Litigation: Commercial Litigation, 2017
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2017 
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, 2016-2018
  • Legal Media Group’s Expert Guides:  Leading Women in Business Law, 2015-16; White Collar Crime, 2015-16

Select News & Events

Selected Publications

  • “Landmark 'Willful Blindness' Decision Has Failed to Deliver,” Daily Journal, April 4, 2014
  • "Jury Instructions: Key Topics in Federal White Collar Cases,” The Champion, September-October 2012
  • “A Year Post-‘Janus,’” The Recorder, July 2, 2012

Professional Affiliations

  • Edward J. McFetridge Inn of Court
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Bay Area Women White-Collar Defense Attorneys