Farella Braun + Martel LLP at a Glance


  • “Coworkers are like family”
  • “Manageable workload”
  • “Very smart”


  • “Slightly below market pay”
  • “Little opportunity to select your practice area”
  • “Occasional maladjusted partner”

About Farella Braun + Martel LLP

Farella Braun + Martel is a San Francisco-based firm which specializes in high-end transactions and complex commercial, civil, and criminal litigation.

Plus Signs In, Ampersands Out

Founded in 1962 as a three-lawyer firm, Farella Braun+ Martel now has a legal team of 120 attorneys and a Napa Valley outpost in St. Helena. A regional firm with a national reach, Farella represents a diverse client list of multinational corporations, privately owned concerns, exempt organizations and individuals in sophisticated business transactions, complex litigation and trust and estates. The firm has particular strengths in the technology, renewable energy, agriculture, real estate, financial services, cannabis, and wine industries.

Farella promotes itself as a haven of experienced trial attorneys capable of delivering results in legal areas involving commercial and consumer class actions, antitrust, securities and intellectual property. The firm is regarded highly for its capabilities in environmental, products, employment, construction, insurance recovery and white collar criminal litigation and appellate advocacy, Current matters includes playing a leading role on the team of firms that represents the plaintiff class of direct purchasers of hospital services in a ground-breaking antitrust action against Sutter Health, the dominant provider in Northern California, and defending Spanish locking solutions company Ojmar U.S. in a series of patent infringement actions filed by its direct competitor after it entered the U.S market and representing Ojmar in a lawsuit contending its rival violated federal antitrust laws.

The firm's corporate practice combines a lean deal team staffing model with a focus on closing mid-market M&A transactions-ranging from $10 million to several hundred million dollars. Recent deals include representing Treasury Wine Estates in its acquisition of substantially all of the winery assets of Diageo Chateau & Estate for approximately $600 million, the largest U.S. wine deal of 2015, and representing San Francisco Parking in the sale of City Park, which operates 85 parking facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area to Imperial Parking Corporation (Impark). In the emerging cannabis industry, Farella represents a hedge fund focused solely on cannabis investments and represents a number of cannabis companies as outside general counsel.

Farella has established itself as a leading renewable energy industry practice, especially well known for its abilities in utility scale solar farm development projects. The two largest projects handled by Farella were the development and permitting of its 550-MW Desert Sunlight project and its 550-MW Topaz Solar Farms project, both in California, along with representing Calpine on land use matters relating to the Geysers, the largest complex of geothermal power facilities in the world.

The firm takes advantage of its Napa Valley outpost with a wine industry team that brings to the (pardon the pun) table extensive industry knowledge and experience. The firm represents wine industry clients-including wineries, grape growers, wine makers, distributors, and wine industry investors-on transactional matters ranging from simple contracts or real estate leases to complex, tax-sensitive business transactions and investments. Farella also provides these clients environmental and land use advice, litigation and trial proficiency, employment counseling, insurance recovery, intellectual property protection, estate, business and organization succession planning and tax law concerns.

Commitment to Community

Committed to its core principle of giving back to the community, the firm actively participates in pro bono work, charitable giving and participation in charitable and civic organizations.  In 2012, the firm dedicated its 50th Anniversary to giving back to the community. The year-long program included $500,000 in direct gifts to community organizations and a volunteer challenge to the attorneys and staff culminating in more than 5,000 volunteer hours in support of more than 75 organizations. In July 2015, Farella was named the San Francisco Business Times' 2015 Corporate Philanthropy Education Partner of the Year for its long-standing commitment to growing the pipeline of diverse talent in the legal profession.


Farella Elects New Firm Chair
September 2016

Brian Donnelly was elected as the firm's new chair effective January 3, 2017. He succeeds Steven Lowenthal, who has served in the role since 2005. "Through Steve's steady and skillful leadership over the last 12 years, the firm has navigated tough economies and has experienced consistently and increasingly successful years, said Tax Partner Brian Donnelly. "Like the clients we serve, going forward we have to stay focused and nimble and we have to continue to provide those clients with timely, creative and efficient legal services and solutions as a trusted business partner. We are certainly poised to continue to thrive as a midsize regional firm providing legal services to clients both locally and nationally."

Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice
June 2016

Farella launched a multi-disciplinary Privacy and Cybersecurity Group. The firm has represented clients in suspected data security breaches and is well-versed in the law, data security concerns and compliance issues that companies are grappling with. Farella also has deep experience reviewing and negotiating cyber insurance policies for our clients. 

A Hot Midsize Firm
May 2016

For the fifth time, Farella was named to the National Law Journal's Midsize Hot List. According to the profile, Farella is "no stranger to big business." The profile featured the firm's role in representing Treasury Wine Estates in the acquisition of substantially all of the winery assets of Diageo PLC for approximately $600 million. 

2016 Diversity Scholarship Grants
May 2016

Farella awarded a total of $30,000 in scholarship grants to three Bay Area first-year law students. Dell Inc.'s Legal Department collaborated with Farella's Diversity Scholarship Program Committee to award the scholarships and is providing the students with Dell tablets.

Cannabis Industry Practice
March 2016

Farella launched a practice group dedicated to one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S.: the Cannabis Industry Practice. The practice is led by Transactional Partner Ryan Lowther, who has been working with industry clients for the past several years. "Businesses operating in California in particular need to continue complying with the current laws while at the same time planning for the new regulatory scheme coming into effect," said Ryan Lowther. "Our Cannabis Industry Practice group understands the complexities that businesses in this industry face and we help guide our clients through the myriad of legal frameworks applicable to them. These companies and investors-particularly once they get beyond the start-up stage-need an experienced team that has done this before in both the cannabis industry and other more developed industries."

Farella Braun + Martel LLP

235 Montgomery Street
17th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 954-4400


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Firm Chair: Brian P. Donnelly
  • Hiring Partner: Carly Alameda
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 126

  • Base Salary
    1st year: $160,000
    Summer associate: $3,080/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    5 out of 5 (2Ls only) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Antitrust • Appellate Litigation • Business Litigation • Business Transactions • Cannabis Industry • Construction • Employment • Environmental Law • Exempt Organizations • Family Wealth • Hospitality • Insurance Recovery • Intellectual Property Litigation • Life Sciences • Privacy and Cybersecurity • Private Clients • Real Estate and Land Use • Renewable Energy and Clean Technologies • Restructuring & Insolvency • Securities • Tax • White Collar Crime and Internal Corporate Investigations • Wine Industry

Major Office Locations

  • San Francisco, CA (HQ) St. Helena, CA