Admissions

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal
  • United States Supreme Court

Education

University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, J.D., 1986

University of California, Berkeley, A.B. 1981

Honors & Awards

  • 2014 Top 50 Women Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 2014 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year
  • 2014 San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyer of the Year
  • 2013 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America
  • Consumer Attorneys of California Women's Caucus 2012 Woman Trial Lawyer of the Year
  • Recognized by California Women Lawyers as a 2010-2011 Woman of Achievement          
  • 2011 Law Dragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America
  • California Super Lawyer every year since 2004
  • “Litigator of the Week” by the Am Law Litigation Daily

Nancy Leavitt Fineman, a Principal at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, was born in San Francisco and raised in the East Bay.

She joined Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP in 1989, after practicing with a San Francisco firm and working as a Research Attorney for the San Mateo County Superior Court. At Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, her practice currently emphasizes complex business litigation, employment litigation, securities cases, antitrust and intellectual property.  She is currently a member of the Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP team representing victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme.  She and partner, Joseph W. Cotchett, were the first lawyers to interview Bernie Madoff in prison.  She was one of the lead attorneys who obtained a $1.15 billion judgment against lead paint manufacturers for creating a public nuisance.  This lawsuit, filed in 2000, was brought by ten cities and counties on behalf of the People of the State of California and seeks to improve the lives of children by removing the lead paint from pre-1978 homes.  She also currently represents the Liquidating Trustee of Humboldt Creamery in litigation against certain of Humboldt Creamery’s officers and HSBC customers in an overdraft fee class action for financial fraud.  Her cases have also included FINRA arbitrations on behalf of investors, representing the bankruptcy trustee in litigation involving the collapse of the Montana Power Company, and representing CalSTRS and other investors in Homestore.com.  She represented public and private entities pursuing litigation against natural gas companies for manipulation of retail natural gas prices in California and individuals who invested in tax strategies now called tax shelters by the IRS.  She has successfully challenged certain provisions in arbitration agreements so that the arbitration provisions are more favorable to individuals.

Although most of her cases involve the representation of plaintiffs, she does defense work, having defended Actelion, Ltd., Fisher Investments, Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders, Charles Schwab Co., E. & J. Gallo Winery and others. She also has represented many pro bono clients.

She has substantial trial and arbitration experience in the areas of professional negligence, personal injury, employment, business matters and trade dress infringement.  She obtained one of the few Plaintiff’s verdicts ever received in a PSLRA securities case, and was recognized for her efforts as the “Litigator of the Week” by the Am Law Litigation Daily. She was also one of the lead attorneys in People v. Atlantic Richfield which resulted in a $1.15 billion judgment for which she and the team received the 2014 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year and the 2014 San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyer of the Year awards.  

Ms. Fineman also has an active appellate practice.  Some of her reported decisions include: Simpson v. AOL Time Warner Inc. (9th Cir. 2006) 452 F.3d 1040) vacated by (9th Cir. 2008) 519 F.3d 1041; Fazio v. City & County of San Francisco (9th Cir. 1997) 125 F.3d 1328; Baker v. BDO Siedman, L.L.P. (N.D. Cal. 2005) 390 F.Supp.2d 919; County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (2010) 50 Cal.4th 35; Bily v. Arthur Young (1992) 4 Cal.4th 370; Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy v. Universal Paragon Corp. (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 1405; Regents of the Univ. of California v. Superior Court (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 672; Centerpoint Energy Inc. v. Superior Court (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 1101; Aquila Inc. v. Superior Court (2007) 148 Cal. App. 4th 556; City of Santa Cruz v. PG&E (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 1167; Holmes v. Lerner (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 442; County of Alameda v. PG&E (1997) 51 Cal.App.4th 1691; Balthazar v. Verizon Haw. Inc. (2005 S. Ct. Hi.) 109 Haw. 69; 123 P.3d 194.  She also has been the appellate attorney in many unpublished decisions.

Ms. Fineman has lectured and written extensively.  In December 2009, she was interviewed by the National Association of Corporate Directors, Silicon Valley Chapter about preventing financial fraud.  From 2001-2009, she was an annual speaker for the CEB Torts Practice: Recent Developments.  She is a regular speaker to lawyers and paralegals on trial preparation and trial.  She has addressed the Annual State Bar Convention, the State Bar’s Labor and Employment Section, the California Trial Lawyers’ Association, the San Mateo County Bar Association, the San Mateo County Women Lawyers, Boalt Hall and other groups.

In 2011, Ms. Fineman was elected to the California State Bar Board of Trustees for a three year term.  She is the President of the Boalt Hall School of Law Alumni Association and the past Chair of its Annual Fund.  She is a past Board Member of the San Mateo County Bar Association, and past President and current board member of the San Mateo County Women Lawyers Section Educational Foundation.  She was appointed by the California Supreme Court to the Applicant Evaluation and Nomination Committee. She serves as a Judge Pro Tem for San Mateo County Superior Court.  She has served as the Chair of the San Mateo County Bar Association Professional Equality Committee, a member of the California State Bar Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission and California Bar Association, the San Mateo Women Lawyers’ Board, the Boalt Hall 20th and 25th Year Reunion Committees and other boards and commissions.

She is a member of Consumer Attorneys of America, American Association for Justice, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, California Women Lawyers and other legal organizations.

Ms. Fineman and her husband, Ed, are very active in community affairs. She served as past president Council member of The Christian Action Life Line (“CALL”) Primrose Center, a Burlingame food bank and emergency referral facility.  She was an Honorary Member of the Contra Costa Civic Theatre’s 50 Year Reunion Committee.  She also is involved in her children’s school through serving in a number of positions.

Community/Civic Activities

The Christian Action Life Line (“CALL”) Primrose Center, a Burlingame food bank and emergency referral facility

  • Past President and Council Member

Contra Costa Civic Theatre’s 50 Year Reunion Committee, Past Honorary Member

UC Berkeley, Cal Parents Oraganization

Jewish Community High School 

  • Past Co-Chair for Annual Fund (2 years)

Burlingame Community for Education Foundation

  • Past Co-Chair for Direct Mail Campaign

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

Publications

Professional Affiliations

California Supreme Court's Applicant Evaluation and Nomination Commitee, Member

Association of Business Trial Lawyers

California Women Lawyers

San Mateo County Bar Association

Consumer Attorneys of California

California State Bar Board of Trustees, District Four

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