Kelly A. Woodruff

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With more than 20 jury and bench trials in her career and another 20 completed appeals, Kelly Woodruff has developed a reputation as a go-to litigator.  But Ms. Woodruff also understands that litigation is not always the best method for achieving her client’s business goals, and so often assists her clients in resolving disputes prior to trial or even prior to litigation being initiated.


Ms. Woodruff , a partner in Farella’s complex litigation and appellate groups, believes that the best way she can add value for her clients is by understanding the client’s culture, risk tolerance and goals so she can best advise the client as to strategic, creative and efficient approaches to solve her client’s litigation issues at the negotiating table or in the courtroom.  Ms. Woodruff has a broad-based civil litigation practice, with particular experience in disputes involving allegations of corporate wrongdoing, such as unfair business competition, securities fraud and insider trading, breach of fiduciary duty, trade secret misappropriation and intentional fraud.  Recent notable engagements include: 

  • Successfully defending a potentially $100 million claim by a clients competitor for $220,000.
  • Serving as Special Litigation Counsel for the Chapter 7 trustee of Cascade Acceptance Corp. to pursue insider claims in excess of $50 million for breach of fiduciary duty, mismanagement and fraudulent transfers.
  • Successfully defending an appeal of a sizable arbitration award and succeeding on appeal to pierce the corporate veil to add defendant's owner as a judgment debtor.
  • Settling a $15+ million case involving an international equipment leasing fraud scheme on behalf of a defrauded lender.

Ms. Woodruff’s appellate practice includes numerous writs and appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court, as well as numerous bankruptcy appeals in California and New York.  Her pro bono practice includes success at the Ninth Circuit, where she has obtained reversals of summary judgment against her clients in two reported opinions, Bruce v. Ylst, 351 F.3d 1283, 1289 (9th Cir. 2003), and Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006).  Ms. Woodruff was also on the Farella team that obtained a reversal of the death sentence of San Quentin inmate David Ghent, Jr., on grounds that his constitutional rights had been violated.


Ms. Woodruff was named to the Daily Journal's 2010 list of "Top Women Litigators" in California.  She serves on the Executive Committee for the Bar Association of San Francisco's Appellate Section and on the Events Committee of the Board of Directors of Equal Rights Advocates.



  • Chair, State Bar Federal Courts Committee (2011-2012)
  • Executive Committee, Bar Association of San Francisco Appellate Law Section
  • Member, California Women Lawyers
  • Member, ABA Woman Advocate Committee