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Our team of seasoned attorneys is dedicated to achieving our clients’ objectives in the most cost-effective and practical way possible.
Scott Emblidge
Managing Partner

scott-emblidgeScott Emblidge founded the firm in 1998 along with Chris Moscone. He is a tenacious trial lawyer, a skillful appellate advocate, and a savvy strategist for dealing with issues where law and public policy overlap. Scott’s work covers many of the firm’s practice areas.

For example, he has litigated complex business and trade secret disputes for dozens of businesses and individuals. He has successfully fended off claims of trade secret misappropriation and has successfully pursued a wide range of tort claims for business clients, such as interference with contracts, unfair competition, and trade libel.

Scott has represented the State of California, almost every Bay Area county, and many cities as outside counsel in litigation involving constitutional and municipal law claims, real property and CEQA disputes, and ethics issues.

He also devotes much of his time to counseling clients seeking government contracts, permits or other approvals, particularly in the land use arena. This often involves representing clients in hearings before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, and Board of Appeals, as well as similar bodies in other Bay Area jurisdictions.

Before starting the firm, Scott served for ten years as a deputy city attorney in San Francisco when he represented the City in high-profile litigation, and advised the Mayor, Board of Supervisors and many City departments on legal issues ranging from First Amendment rights, disability access rules, open government regulations, affirmative action, civil rights and other constitutional claims, gun control, and state and federal preemption questions.

Scott has repeatedly been recognized in the Northern California edition of Super Lawyers–a listing of the top 5% of attorneys in Northern California who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. He has been named among the highest class of attorneys for professional ethics and legal skills with an AV-Preeminent rating by Martindale Hubbell. In addition, Scott was recognized by American Lawyer Media as one of San Francisco’s Top Rated Lawyers.

Scott is an experienced mediator and serves, pro bono, as a mediator for the United States District Court, Northern District of California. He has mediated dozens of cases in a wide variety of areas, including land use issues, business disputes, police misconduct claims, employment disputes, and disability access claims.

Representative Matters

  • Represented four California counties in litigation involving the provision of welfare benefits
  • Successfully represented Bay Area real estate company in unfair competition lawsuit against large, national real estate firm
  • Obtained a $1.8 million settlement for clients claiming retaliation by the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection for speaking out about perceived corruption or incompetence at Department
  • Represented the California State Auditor in litigation attacking California’s process for redistricting
  • Helped the University of California, San Francisco negotiate an agreement with the Golden State Warriors and the City and County of San Francisco relating to potential impacts on UCSF from the proposed Warriors Arena
  • Obtained a $1.3 million dollar fraud judgment after a six-day jury trial in San Mateo County
  • Oversaw a team of attorneys investigating conditions in Santa Clara County’s jail system
  • Assisted a towing dispatch service and software company negotiate agreements with San Francisco, San Diego and other public entities
  • Successfully extricated clients from major litigation relating to the design of the Beats headphones
  • Structured a public/private partnership facilitating a multi-million gift that improved soccer and baseball fields throughout San Francisco
  • Successfully represented the State of California in challenge to minority contracting programs
  • Helped a major corporation reverse a regional agency’s decision about the best vendor for the Bay Area’s electronic toll system
  • Assisted one of the nation’s largest parking garage operators oust the incumbent garage operator at San Francisco International Airport
  • Advised one the world’s largest Internet companies on how best to respond to scrutiny of donations to public officials
  • Counseled many schools, community organizations and individuals opposed to unwise or environmentally insensitive development projects
  • Helped an international, luxury hotel chain obtain tax credits for renovating an historic building in San Francisco

Appellate Decisions

  • Edelman, et al. v. Nicholson, 2018 WL 2998750 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018).  Successfully upheld fraud judgment in favor of firm’s clients who invested in unsuccessful real estate project based on misrepresentations by real estate developer.
  • Dispatch & Tracking Solutions, LLC v. City of San Diego, 2016 WL 1407739 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016).  Successfully defended the city and its towing dispatch contractor against claims that they misappropriated trade secrets of competing software company.
  • Sierra Club v. City and County of San Francisco, 2015 WL 5724809 (Cal. Ct. App. 2015).  Successfully defended the City Fields Foundation in challenge under CEQA and the Public Records Act to project pursued through public/private partnership.
  • Scheinberg v. County of Sonoma, 2014 WL 5305857 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014).  Successfully defended County on appeal in complex real estate and land use litigation.
  • Associated General Contractors of America v. California Dept. of Transp., 713 F.3d 1187 (9th Cir. 2013).  Successfully defended the State of California in challenge to State’s implementation of a federal disadvantaged-business program.
  • Coral Const., Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco, 50 Cal.4th 315 (2010).  Culmination of a dozen years of litigation defending the City and County of San Francisco in challenges under Proposition 209 to its minority- and women-owned business programs.
  • Wolfe v. City of Fremont, 144 Cal.App.4th 533 (2006).  Successfully defended city in trial and appellate courts in Brown Act litigation.
  • Air Transport Ass’n of America v. City and County of San Francisco, 266 F.3d 1064 (9th Cir. 2001).  Successfully defended city in challenge primarily on the basis of federal preemption to local program extending health benefits to domestic partners of employees.

Public Presentations

  • Presentation to the Santa Clara County Counsel’s office on Recent Developments in E-discovery (2016)
  • Presentation to County Counsel’s Association on the Voters’ Role in Land Use Decisions (2014)
  • Presentation to the Public Works and Contracts Section of the County Counsel’s Association on Navigating CEQA (2014)
  • Presentation to California State Bar’s Public Sector Conference on Post-Employment Benefits: Vesting, Impairment, and Bankruptcy (2013)


  • Harvard Law School, J.D. cum laude, 1985
  • California State University at Fullerton, B.A. Political Science, Highest Honors, 1982