Kelly A. Woodruff

  • 415.954.4403
  • |

Kelly Woodruff’s success as a trial lawyer and appellate advocate makes her a go-to litigator for large, complex commercial litigation, at all phases of a case. For her, a client’s business goals and risk tolerance will dictate the approach to handling a matter and determining whether it is best resolved in the courtroom or across a negotiating table.

In more than 20 years of practice, Ms. Woodruff has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in significant business disputes, class action litigation and bankruptcy filings. While she has extensive experience litigating all types of commercial disputes, she has a particular focus on business torts, including trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, securities fraud, trademark and copyright infringement, products liability, breach of fiduciary duty, and employment claims. Ms. Woodruff draws upon her significant trial experience to write briefs and successfully argue numerous cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and all levels of California appellate courts.

Some of Ms. Woodruff’s recent experience includes: 

  • 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 defending an appeal of a sizable arbitration award and succeeding on appeal to pierce the defendant’s corporate veil to add its owner as a judgment debtor.
  • Successfully defeating an alleged $100 million breach of contract claim by a client’s competitor after a 25-day arbitration hearing.

In her active pro bono practice, Ms. Woodruff represents prisoners in civil rights appeals before the Ninth Circuit, as well as assisting habeas corpus petitioners facing the death penalty.

Ms. Woodruff, who heads Farella’s appellate litigation practice, serves as the Vice Chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Appellate Law Section and is a past chair of the California State Bar’s Federal Courts Committee. She also is the Partner Chair of Farella’s Women’s Leadership Committee, which is dedicated to the recruitment, retention and advancement of women at the firm and in the community.

After law school, Ms. Woodruff clerked for the Hon. James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Hon. David A. Ezra of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. She is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in California, as well as the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and United States Supreme Court.


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