Biography

Elizabeth Dorsi represents clients in disputes ranging from high-stakes civil litigation and trial to pre-litigation conflict resolution. Elizabeth leverages her practical experience handling a wide range of matters in state and federal trial courts, on appeal, and in arbitration to address her clients legal needs.

Her practice focuses on complex litigation with an emphasis on trust, estate, and probate litigation, unfair competition, elder abuse claims, false advertising consumer class action defense, breach of contract claims, and business dissolution disputes. She uses a combination of strategic, big-picture thinking, and close attention to detail to develop creative solutions when none appear to exist. Elizabeth focuses day-to-day primarily on advising clients on litigation risks and strategy, briefing dispositive motions, taking and defending depositions, and preparing for trial.

In her trust and estate litigation practice, Elizabeth regularly represents trustees and beneficiaries in a range of complex disputes, including trust administration claims, beneficiary disputes, will and trust challenges, disputes regarding disbursements owed to income and HEMS beneficiaries, and claims of breach of trust, undue influence, and elder abuse. She further leverages Farella’s extensive expertise in family wealth and tax planning to advise her clients on tax efficient solutions to their trust and estate disputes.

An experienced trial lawyer, Elizabeth successfully represented a developer in a complex Unfair Competition Law action brought by a District Attorney’s office alleging numerous “malicious” unlawful acts and omissions arising over a multi-year period from a large pre-historic Native American cemetery that was discovered and damaged during construction of a residential development project. After a month-long bench trial, the court found no unlawful acts and awarded a complete defense victory. She has additionally first-chaired five jury trials to verdict and has further experience representing clients in bench trials and evidentiary hearings arising from her trust and estate litigation practice.

Elizabeth has an active pro bono practice. She successfully argued the Ninth Circuit habeas appeal for a death row inmate, which resulted in her client’s 40-year-old conviction being overturned because the prosecutor had engaged in unconstitutional racial discrimination during jury selection. She has also represented parties in unlawful detainer actions, SSDI administrative appeals, and civil rights class actions challenging California’s DNA collection law and juvenile detention practices.

Elizabeth served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable William B. Shubb of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, and as a legal intern with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Distinctions

  • The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch, Commercial Litigation (2021, 2023)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars in Business Litigation (2020-2022)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Executive Committee, Harvard Law School Alumni Association of Northern California (2019-present)
  • Board of Directors, Pacific Crest Trail Association (2021-present)
  • Board of Directors, AIDS Legal Referral Panel (2014-2016)

Firm Highlights

Publication

A New Overtime Threshold Takes Effect in Mere Weeks: HR Should Assess Its Impact Now

On April 23, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its final rule increasing the minimum pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for various exempt “white-collar” employee categories beginning on...

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News

Farella Advises TILT Holdings Inc. on $10.5M Loan Transaction

Northern California legal powerhouse Farella Braun + Martel advised TILT Holdings Inc. , a global provider of cannabis business solutions, and its Pennsylvania subsidiary, grower and processor Standard Farms, on a $10.5 million loan transaction...

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Publication

REFRESH: Loot and Private Foundation Rules – Part 1

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . In this episode, I'm happy to refresh  EO Radio Show  episode 21, the first of our two episodes exploring private foundation rules using the...

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News

Housing Action Coalition and Farella Braun + Martel File Lawsuit Challenging the City of San Mateo’s Housing Element

Today, the Housing Action Coalition (HAC) and Farella Braun + Martel LLP filed a lawsuit against the City of San Mateo, challenging its recently adopted Housing Element in order to make the city comply with...

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Event

21st Annual Stanford Digital Economy Best Practices Conference

Erik Olson is speaking at the 21st Annual Stanford Digital Economy Best Practices Conference for the session "Track A: Content Moderation." To register for the event, please click  here .

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Publication

No Three-Year Bar on Copyright Damages (For Now): SCOTUS Issues Opinion in Warner Chappell Music, Inc. et al. v. Sherman Nealy et al.

In a 6-3 majority decision in Warner Chappell Music, Inc. et al. v. Sherman Nealy et al. , the Supreme Court held that the Copyright Act entitles a copyright owner to recover damages for any...

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Publication

REFRESH: Loot and Private Foundation Rules – Part 2

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . In this episode, I refresh  EO Radio Show  episode 22, the second of our two episodes exploring private foundation rules using commentary on the...

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News

City of San Mateo Sued by Nonprofit Over New Housing Plan

Tom Mayhew spoke to CBS News about the lawsuit filed by Housing Action Coalition (HAC) and Farella against the City of San Mateo. The lawsuit challenges the city's recently adopted Housing Element in order to...

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News

San Mateo signed off on its housing element this week. It's already facing a lawsuit.

Farella's Tom Mayhew, CJ Higley, Daniel Contreras, Vanessa Ing, and Alyssa Netto were mentioned in the Daily Journal article "San Mateo signed off on its housing element this week. It's already facing a lawsuit."...

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Publication

Navigating California Wage Statement Penalties After Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc.

On May 6, 2024, the California Supreme Court, in Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc. , clarified that an employer is not liable for statutory penalties for inaccurate wage statements when it had a...

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