Kelly A. Woodruff

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With more than 20 trials and another 20 completed appeals over the course of her career, Kelly Woodruff has developed a reputation as a go-to litigator for large, complex commercial litigation.  Ms. Woodruff practices with the belief that she adds value by understanding the clients’ culture, risk tolerance and goals so she can best advise them with strategic, creative and efficient approaches to resolve conflicts, whether at the negotiating table or in the courtroom.  Ms. Woodruff’s clients consist of both plaintiffs and defendants in complex civil, bankruptcy and class action litigation, but she has particular depth in disputes involving allegations of corporate wrongdoing, such as trade secret misappropriation, unfair business competition, securities fraud, trademark and copyright infringement, breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence.  Recent notable engagements include:

  • Defeating all claims asserted by her client’s former employer (for trade secret misappropriation, securities fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and more) and prevailing on the client’s counterclaims for breach of contract and conversion, all on summary judgment. 
  • Successfully defeating a potentially $100 million breach of contract claim by a client’s competitor after a 25-day arbitration hearing.
  • Serving as Special Litigation Counsel for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee to pursue insider claims in excess of $50 million for breach of fiduciary duty, mismanagement and fraudulent transfers, and settling all claims shortly after obtaining an asset freeze on defendants’ assets.
  • 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.  Ms. Woodruff is committed to pro bono practice and devotes substantial energies to representing prisoners in civil rights appeals at the Ninth Circuit and death penalty habeas corpus petitioners.

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