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


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

University of California, Berkeley, A.B. 1981

Honors & Awards

  • Top 100 Lawyers Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 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
  • 2011, 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
  • California Super Lawyer every year since 2004
  • Fellow in the Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • “Litigator of the Week” by the Am Law Litigation Daily
  • Anti-Defamation League Distinguished Juriprudence Award
  • International Society of Barristers

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 has extensive experience in representing the victims of financial fraud.  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.  In January 2016, she successfully defended and won two trials - one a claim of ostensible partnership and the other a claim of a covenant not to compete.  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, representing a bankruptcy trustee against officers of a company involved in financial manipulation, and representing CalSTRS and other investors in  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.  Currently, she represents the City of San Jose against President Trump and his administration for the unconstitutional recission of DACA; the City of Richmond against President Trump and his administration for their threat to withhold all federal funds from sanctuary cities, and on behalf of a 97-year-old woman who was threatened with eviction even though she was promised a life estate.

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.  In 2015, she received the Anti-Defamation League Jurisprudence Award and the George R. Corey Award from the San Mateo County Trial Lawyers Association.   

Ms. Fineman also has an active appellate practice.  Some of her reported decisions include: Broadway Grill, Inc. v. Visa Inc. (9th Cir. 2017) 856 F.3d 1274; Fazio v. City & County of San Francisco (9th Cir. 1997) 125 F.3d 1328; County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (2010) 50 Cal.4th 35; Bily v. Arthur Young (1992) 4 Cal.4th 370; City and County of San Francisco v. Cobra Solutions, Inc. (2014) 232 Cal. App. 4th 468; Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp. v. Actelion Ltd. (2013) 222 Cal. App. 4th 945; 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; County of Santa Clara v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2006) 137 Cal. App. 4th 292; 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 2015, Ms. Fineman was admitted to the International Society of Barristers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.  In 2011, she was elected to the California State Bar Board of Trustees for a three year term, which ended in September 2013.  She is the Intermediate Past 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 has been 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


Professional Affiliations

Association of Business Trial Lawyers

California Women Lawyers

San Mateo County Bar Association

Consumer Attorneys of California

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