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John G. Heller

Of Counsel

Executive Summary

Mr. Heller focuses on trials and appeals of commercial litigation, professional liability, civil rights, insurance coverage, employment and real estate matters. He is the former Chair of the Litigation Section Executive Committee of the San Francisco Bar Association, and former member of the Bar Association’s Judiciary Committee. He is Co-Chair of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation Practice Group. As an adjunct to his litigation practice, Mr. Heller serves as a mediator in a variety of civil disputes.

Professional Qualifications

Mr. Heller is an experienced trial attorney. In over 25 years of practice, he has successfully represented individuals and businesses in jury trials and litigation involving claims of breach of contract, fraud, retaliation, legal malpractice, bad faith, and products liability. Mr. Heller has obtained favorable rulings and settlements for attorneys sued for malicious prosecution and breach of fiduciary duty, threatened with judicial sanctions, or subject to disciplinary proceedings before the California State Bar. He has prevailed on numerous anti-SLAPP motions in litigation against professionals, and handled motions to disqualify.

Mr. Heller has also served as lead counsel representing parties in international arbitration proceedings arising from commercial disputes, and claims of accounting fraud. He represents parties in commercial real estate disputes, including those involving claims of misrepresentation, broker malfeasance, and lis pendens. He has obtained preliminary injunctions on behalf of clients in trade secret misappropriation cases.

Mr. Heller represents claimants in civil rights litigation involving excessive force, First and Fourth Amendment violations, and retaliation and harassment. As lead trial and appellate counsel, he has won and successfully defended significant judgments, and obtained published Ninth Circuit rulings on behalf of a female FBI agent suing for gender discrimination, and a claimant imprisoned for objecting to parole conditions violating the Establishment Clause. His resolution of a First Amendment claim was the top-ranked civil rights settlement in California in 2014, according to a survey by VerdictSearch and The Recorder.

Mr. Heller lectures to attorneys and trade organizations on ethics and professional liability, developments in civil procedure, anti-SLAPP jurisprudence, and insurance coverage. He has taught law school legal malpractice classes and served on the ABA Section of Litigation Legal Services Advocacy Training at Stanford Law School, providing trial skills training to public interest attorneys. He has served as a member of the Host Committee for the ABA Litigation Section Annual Meeting and been selected as a Northern California Super Lawyer every year since 2005.


J.D.,University of California,
Hastings College of the Law

B.A.,University of California at Berkeley
Magna Cum Laude in Political Science

Bar Admissions


San Francisco, CA
  • Robert Dollar Building
    311 California Street, 10th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94104-2695
  • Phone: 415.956.2828
  • Fax: 415.956.6457
Washington, DC
  • 1500 K Street, NW, Suite 800
    Washington DC 20005-1227
  • Phone: 202.777.8950
  • Fax: 202.347.8429