Daniel M. Kolkey has served as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, and as Counsel to the Governor of California. A partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher since 2003, Mr. Kolkey is chair of the firm’s California Appellate Law Practice Group, a member of the firm’s national appellate and constitutional law practice group, and a member of the Litigation Department.
Ranked in the first tier for California Appellate Litigation by Chambers USA in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 and awarded the prestigious Clay Award as an Attorney of the Year in the fields of Government/Public Policy, Appellate law, Real Estate and Development, and Sports Law for “extraordinary achievement” in the years 2004, 2006, 2015, and 2016, respectively, Mr. Kolkey’s practice focuses on appellate litigation.
He served for five years (1999-2003) as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, in Sacramento, served as Legal Affairs Secretary and counsel to Governor Pete Wilson for four years, has advised four different governors on legal issues, and acted as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lead negotiator for tribal-state compacts under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
In May 2010, the California Chief Justice appointed him to the California Judicial Council’s Appellate Advisory Committee, and in September 2013 and September 2016, the Chief Justice reappointed him to a second and third term, respectively. In October 2013, he was named as chair of the Appellate Advisory Committee’s Appellate Rules subcommittee, which recommends revisions to the appellate rules for the California Courts.
As a litigator (before and after his government service from 1995 to 2003), Mr. Kolkey has handled class and shareholder actions; construction, insurance, real estate, employment, and contract disputes; Proposition 65 litigation; unfair competition litigation; legal malpractice defense; California environmental law litigation; administrative law cases; and political law litigation, including ballot litigation, Voting Rights Act claims, and redistricting matters.
He also has drafted California initiative measures, including Proposition 20 (congressional redistricting reform), which was adopted by the voters in 2010, and Proposition 54 (the Legislature Transparency Act), which was adopted by the voters in 2016.
In his capacity as Legal Affairs Secretary and counsel to Governor Pete Wilson, he was responsible for all of the legal advice within the Governor’s Office; approving all state agency appeals; supervising and directing litigation strategy with respect to lawsuits brought against the Governor in his official capacity; drafting the Governor’s civil justice reform legislation; and negotiating tribal-state compacts under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
He has also maintained an international arbitration practice that has included matters under the English Arbitration Acts and before the International Chamber of Commerce, the American Arbitration Association, and the Iran-United States Claim Tribunal.
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