Kelly A. Woodruff

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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. Clients come to Ms. Woodruff for practical, creative and efficient resolution of all types of business disputes, class actions and trusts and estates litigation. In almost 25 years of practice, Ms. Woodruff has been the lead attorney in dozens of trials and appeals. Some of Ms. Woodruff’s recent experience includes:

  • Defeating an appeal by the personal representatives of a deceased, prevailing on cross-appeal, and ensuring her client will not be disinherited from a substantial inheritance.
  • Defeating an appeal of the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion by the defendant in a malicious prosecution action.
  • 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.
  • Submitting an amicus brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a group of public interest organizations in Perfect 10 v. Giganews, advocating a balanced copyright system that preserves legal protections for innovative new platforms of expression.
  • Successfully obtaining a writ of mandate ordering the California Bureau of Real Estate to remove defamatory information about a real estate agent from its website, and obtaining an award of attorneys’ fees under California’s private attorney general statute.
  • 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, and recently obtained a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a client facing the death penalty.

Ms. Woodruff, who chairs Farella’s Appellate Litigation Practice, serves as the Vice Chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Appellate Law Section, was appointed to the California State Bar’s Committee on Appellate Courts, and is a past Chair of the State Bar’s Federal Courts Committee. Ms. Woodruff regularly speaks and writes on topics involving appellate law and business litigation, and she co-authored a chapter on “Business Torts” in the California Business Litigation Handbook (2016 ed.). Ms. Woodruff also is the Partner Chair of Farella’s Women 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 Federal and Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.


  • Bar Association of San Francisco Appellate Law Section (Vice Chair, 2015-present)
  • California State Bar Committee on Appellate Courts (2016-2019)
  • California State Bar Federal Courts Committee (Chair, 2011-2012; Vice-Chair, 2010-1022; Member, 2008-2010)
  • California Women Lawyers Amicus Committee
  • ABA Woman Advocate Committee