Firm

About Farella Braun + Martel

Overview

Farella Braun + Martel is a leading Northern California law firm representing corporate and private clients in sophisticated business transactions and complex commercial, civil and criminal litigation. Clients seek our imaginative legal solutions and the dynamism and intellectual creativity of our lawyers. We are headquartered in San Francisco and maintain an office in the Napa Valley that is focused on the wine industry.

Farella’s commitment to supporting the industries of Northern California and our entrepreneurial responsiveness to the regional demands, have driven our growth and evolution. Nimbleness and opportunistic management have propelled our success through almost 60 years. From trial prowess in high-stakes litigation to utility-scale renewable energy project development and complex transactional expertise, Farella’s clients rely on and appreciate our fierce focus on client service and high quality work.

Client Centric Approach to Business

Farella connects on a personal level with all of our clients, big and small. We have successfully fused the quality, experience and resources of large firms with the relationship, flexibility and personal attention associated with a mid-sized firm. Our low leverage and low attrition means clients build deep relationships with a stable team of lawyers with whom they work as long-term partners, helping them to pursue and realize their strategic business goals.

Partnering with our clients is imbedded in our ethos and sometimes includes literally becoming part of their in-house team, a win-win situation in that we provide our client with a temporarily needed resource and our lawyers and paralegals gain an insider’s view of a client’s business. Throughout our history, we have partnered with clients to develop fee models that meet their specific needs for entire relationships, specific matters or when change affects their business model. 

Within the industries that we focus, our attorneys work cohesively in interdisciplinary teams to advance each client’s objectives in the most effective, coordinated and efficient manner.

It Was a Good Idea Then: It’s Still a Good Idea (Thomas Elke)

The firm was founded in 1962 by Frank Farella, Jerome Braun and Thomas Elke. Their initial clients included American Push Broom, Jumbo Orange Drive-In, Home Insurance Company, Transamerica and Tyger Oil. Two years later, John Martel joined the firm, where his first desk was an orange crate in a small room at 333 Pine St. in San Francisco. In 1970, the firm moved to the Russ Building in San Francisco, the “Wall Street of the West,” where it remains today. The Wine Country office was opened in St. Helena in 1995 to serve the firm’s substantial wine, agribusiness and private clients.

Commitment to Diversity + Inclusion

We strive to ensure that everyone working at Farella feels like they belong. To that end, our recruiting, retention and practice development programs welcome, support and promote the interests of women, families and people of all ethnicities and sexual orientations. At Farella, we are committed to diversity, both as an ethical ideal and as a business imperative.

Recognition

Farella has received industry and peer recognition equal to any firm in the country. Our attorneys include fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers, American College of Appellate Lawyers, American College of Environmental Lawyers, American College of Coverage Counsel, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, and American College of Investment Counsel. Farella has been named among Law360’s California Powerhouses, featured on the National Law Journal’s Midsize Hot List and is named one of the Best Places to Work in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times / Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Green Business

In 2006, Farella was the first major law firm in San Francisco to obtain certification as a green business by the San Francisco Green Business Program, recognizing the firm for meeting the program’s stringent environmental standards. We received our third Green Business certification in 2015.

Firm Highlights

Publication

California's AB5 Codifies Stricter Rules for Independent Contractors - What Employers Need to Know

On September 18, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB5, codifying the ABC test for distinguishing employees from independent contractors and expanding its application beyond California’s Wage Orders. While AB5 does not...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Advises on Sale of 2,300-Acre Foote Ranch

Farella Braun + Martel represented a trust that owned 50% of the iconic 2,300-acre Foote Ranch in Sonoma, California in disputes with the ranch’s co-owners and in the subsequent $23.7 million sale of the...

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Event

CalCPA: Wine Industry Conference

Lauren Gilbreth will present the session "Succession Planning" at the CalCPA - Wine Industry Conference. The ever dynamic wine industry is fraught with complicated tax, labor and accounting issues. Please join us as we...

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Publication

How Napa County Seeks to Streamline the Winery Permit Process

Recently, local members of the wine industry in the Napa County area of Northern California have been actively engaged with county government in discussions regarding ways to streamline the winery use permit process. Frustrated with...

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Publication

3 Lessons For Calif. Insureds From Late-Notice Rule Decision

In Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company,[1] the California Supreme Court resolved two previously open questions in insurance law: (1) it concluded that the notice-prejudice rule[2] is a fundamental public policy of California...

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News

Kelly Matayoshi Installed as President of UC Hastings College of the Law Alumni Association Board of Governors

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News

Ninth Circuit Upholds Data Miner's Injunction Against LinkedIn

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sided with data analytics company hiQ Labs, Inc. and upheld an injunction barring LinkedIn from blocking it from accessing information made publicly available by the professional networking site’s users...

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Event

Litigating Civil and Criminal Trade Secret Cases: Trends, Best Practices, and Lessons Learned

Trade secret litigation is on the rise, both civil litigation and follow-on criminal prosecution for trade secret theft. Companies are grappling with how to protect their valuable information and minimize risk in their technological...

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Event

Complex Civil Litigation Symposium

Doug Dexter is a member of the planning committee for the 2019 Complex Civil Litigation Symposium.

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Publication

Facebook Suspends Apps That Scrape Data From Its Platform Following Cambridge Analytica Scandal

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