Philip Atkins-Pattenson

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

$ $$$

Embarcadero Center Four
San Francisco 94111 CA US

Phil F. Atkins-Pattenson is Of Counsel in the Business Trial Practice Group and is the former Co-Office Managing Partner of the firm’s San Francisco office. In 2007 California Lawyer magazine recognized him as one of its “California Attorneys of the Year (CLAY).” The Daily Journal recognized one of his cases as a “Top Ten Defense Verdict” in 2009.

Mr. Atkins-Pattenson’s practice focuses on complex business litigation where he represents clients in a variety of industries, including aviation, healthcare, high technology, insurance, manufacturing, real estate development, and telecommunications.

He regularly defends consumer class actions, and has extensive experience litigating cases involving business torts, bad faith, unfair competition and false advertising, contracts, fraud, partnership disputes, trade secrets, and land use and environmental issues (CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) and ESA (Endangered Species Act)). He has conducted numerous trials and arbitrations, handled internal corporate investigations and argued important cases before the California Court of Appeal and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Mr. Atkins-Pattenson has extensive experience in litigating attorneys’ fee awards (both contractual and statutory) and has recovered over $16 million in court-ordered fee awards and settlements. Mr. Atkins-Pattenson maintains an active pro bono practice, and has served on Sheppard Mullin’s Pro Bono Committee.

For more than 20 years, he was the lead outside lawyer representing the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) in federal court litigation to restore the San Joaquin River, California’s second largest river, and was the co-lead negotiator for the plaintiffs in the settlement negotiations of that case, which resulted in a comprehensive river and salmon restoration plan that the U.S. Secretary of the Interior described as “historic.”

The federal legislation to implement the settlement was among the first pieces of legislation signed by President Obama in 2009. Sheppard Mullin recognized Mr. Atkins-Pattenson for this work as the firm’s “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year” in 2007.


  • J.D., University of San Francisco, 1980, Articles Editor, Law Review
  • Masters of Divinity, Harvard University, 1977 (Rockefeller Fellow)
  • A.B., Stanford University, 1974


  • California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


  • American Bar Association (Litigation Section)
  • State Bar of California (Litigation, Environmental sections)
  • San Francisco Bar Association (Litigation Section)
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • Harvard Divinity School, Alumni/Alumnae Council (2012-2014)
  • Chair, Berkeley Pilgrimage Foundation
  • Member, First Church Berkeley (U.C.C.)


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