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Gary A. Watt

Gary A. Watt

(415) 995-5004


Gary chairs the firm’s Appellate Practice. He is a State Bar-approved Certified Appellate Specialist. Gary handles writs and appeals in all of the California appellate courts, including the California Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He has also handled appeals in the Federal Circuit, Sixth Circuit, and the Washington and Colorado appellate courts. His practice also includes petitions to compel arbitration, as well as to confirm or vacate arbitration awards. He also provides trial support such as anti-SLAPP, summary judgment, and post-trial motions. Gary also provides risk management services such as interpreting contracts, indemnity provisions, and more. 

Gary’s appellate experience gives him unique insights into complex cases and esoteric disputes Gary is the author of two Daily Journal columns: Evidence for Idiots, and Arbitration Angle. A prolific writer, he is a frequent contributor to the Daily Journal, The Recorder, and other legal publications on an array of subjects. Gary has published over 90 articles to date. He is also a frequent lecturer at CLE presentations throughout the Bay Area, and has taught hundreds of lawyers over the years on a vast array of appellate and litigation best practices.

Gary also chairs the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s appellate practice section. 

Pro Bono

Gary has been on the faculty at U.C. College of Law, San Francisco (formerly Hastings College of the Law) since 2001 teaching various appellate law courses and coaching intercollegiate moot court competition teams. Gary currently serves as general counsel and Chief Supervising Attorney for UC College of Law, San Francisco’s Ninth Circuit clinical program: the U.C. Appellate Project, supervising law students in the pro bono legal representation of appellants. 


J.D. UC Law San Francisco (Formerly UC Hastings) ( 1997 )
B.S. cum laude California State University, Hayward ( 1992 )

Admissions and Courts

Supreme Court of the United States
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
California Supreme Court
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California


Appellate Practice Leader

Contra Costa County Bar Association, Chair: Appellate Practice Section

Member, California Lawyers Association’s Committee on Appellate Courts

Bar Association of San Francisco, Appellate Practice Section

"Should Pretrial Detainees Be Paid Minimum Wage for Work?," The Daily Journal (February 2024)

"Court Revives California Public Beach Harassment Case," Law360 (March 2023)

Certified Appellate Specialist

California Lawyers Association, Wiley W. Manuel Pro Bono Legal Services Award (2020-2022)

Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent Rating

Super Lawyers, Appellate; Business Litigation (2011-2023)

Green Tree Headlands LLC v. Tara Crawford (2023) 316 Cal.Rptr.3d 297 (anti-SLAPP motion to malicious prosecution action)

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. County of Monterey (2023 Cal. Supreme Court) 20232 WL 4940263 (state law preemption)

Galanti v. Nevada Department of Corrections, 2023 WL 3067036 (9th Cir. 2023) (civil rights)

Cory Spencer v. City of Palos Verdes Estates (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 849 (environmental; Coastal Act)

McWhinney Centerra v. Poag & McEwen, 486 P.3d 439 (Co. Court of Appeals 2021) (establishing that Colorado economic loss rule does not apply to intentional torts)

Diaz-Reynoso v. Barr, 968 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2020) (administrative law)

Spencer v. Mowat (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 1024 (anti-SLAPP statute & conspiracy)

Schwan v. Permann (2018) 28 Cal.App.5th 678 (trust interpretation)

Barrientos v. Lynch, 829 F.3d 1064 (9th Cir. 2016) (administrative law)

Medina-Nunez v. Lynch, 788 F.3d 1103 (9th Cir. 2015) (administrative law)

Velasquez v. Centrome, Inc. (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 1191 (evidence law)

Castrijon-Garcia v. Holder, 704 F.3d 1205 (9th Cir. 2013) (immigration law)

Seabright Insurance Co. v. U.S. Airways (2011) 52 Cal.4th 590 (torts/administrative law)

Hernandez-Velasquez v. Holder, 611 F.3d 1073 (9th Cir. 2010) (administrative law)

Margaret W. v. Kelly R. (2006) 139 Cal.App.4th 141 (torts)

Perez v. Roe (2006) 146 Cal.App.4th 171 (constitutional law)