Home|Attorneys|Elizabeth J. Cabraser

Elizabeth J. Cabraser
Partner, San Francisco Office
email
415 956-1000
vcard

“Justice is a bone-deep urge towards fairness in things large and small. It’s the human journey toward a better world.”
Elizabeth J. Cabraser
Elizabeth J. Cabraser

Under Elizabeth Cabraser’s leadership, Lieff Cabraser has become one of the country’s largest law firms serving clients seeking redress for financial and consumer fraud, anti-competitive practices, harmful drugs and products, and illegal employment practices. For four decades, Elizabeth has made sure that our firm remains dedicated to its core values.

Possessing unparalleled expertise in complex civil litigation, Elizabeth has served as court-appointed lead, co-lead, or class counsel in scores of federal multi-district and state coordinated proceedings. These cases include multi-state tobacco, the Exxon Valdez disaster, Breast Implants, Fen-Phen (Diet Drugs), Vioxx, Toyota sudden acceleration, numerous securities/investment fraud cases, and Holocaust litigation. Today, Elizabeth serves in court-appointed leadership positions in several of the nation’s highest profile civil cases, including serving as Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel in the GM ignition switch defect litigation, as Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” and Fiat Chrysler Ecodiesel Emissions MDLs. She is currently immersed in nationwide Opioids litigation. In January 2018, she was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and Settlement Negotiating Committee in the National Prescription Opiates MDL, and earlier this year was appointed Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel in the McKinsey & Co. National Prescription Opiate MDL.

A Pillar of the Plaintiffs’ Bar

Elizabeth has been repeatedly recognized as one of the foremost litigators in our nation, including being selected an unprecedented four times as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal, which has called her “a pillar of the plaintiffs’ bar.” She was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame in 2018.

A Daily Journal “Top California Woman Lawyer” since 2007, in 2018 Law360 named her a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar, the National Trial Lawyers Association selected her for its National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame, and California Lawyer named her “California Lawyer of the Year” for her work on the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Emissions Fraud case. In 2017, Elizabeth received the National Law Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Also in 2017, she was named “Plaintiff Attorney of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation, which noted that she “is known nationwide for having handled some of the largest class actions in US history, as well as being one the firm’s — and the country’s — foremost trial lawyers.” The publication also named her to its lists for “Top 10 Women in Litigation,” “Top 250 Women in Litigation,” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America.” The National Law Journal selected Elizabeth as a 2017 “Energy and Environmental Law Trailblazer,” and Chambers and Partners USA named her a “Leader in the Field” for General Litigation (California) and Product Liability (Nationwide).

Long form bio (click to open pdf).

  • California, 1978
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, 2011
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, 1994
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit, 2013
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 2001
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 1979
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, 1992
  • U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii, 1986
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 1992
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, 1979
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 1978
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, 1992
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2005
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1979
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Fellow)
  • American Constitution Society, Board of Advisors
  • American Association for Justice (Fight for Justice Campaign; Women Trial Lawyers Caucus; California State Liaison)
  • American Bar Association (Committee on Mass Torts, Past Co-Chair; Committee on Class Actions and Derivative Suits; Tort and Insurance Practice Section; Rules & Procedures Committee, Past Vice-Chair; Civil Procedure & Evidence News Letter, Contributor; Business Law Section)
  • American Law Institute (1993 – present; Council, 1999 – present; Adviser, the Restatement Third, Consumer Contracts project and the Restatement Third, Torts: Liability for Economic Harm; Members Consultative Group, the Restatement Third, Torts: Liability for Physical Harm; past Adviser, the Recognition & Enforcement of Foreign Judgments project and the Principles of the Law of Aggregate Litigation project)
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit
  • Bar Association of San Francisco (Past President, Securities Litigation Section; Board of Directors, 1997 – 1998; Judiciary Committee)
  • Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom
  • California Constitution Revision Commission (1993 -1996)
  • California Women Lawyers
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association (Northern District of California Chapter)
  • Federal Civil Rules Advisory Committee (Appointed by Supreme Court, 2011)
  • Lawyers Club of San Francisco
  • National Center for State Courts (Board Member; Mass Tort Conference Planning Committee)
  • National Judicial College (Board of Trustees)
  • Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (Lawyer Delegate, 1992 – 1995)
  • Northern District of California Civil Justice Reform Act (Advisory Committee; Advisory Committee on Professional Conduct)
  • Northern District of California Civil Justice Reform Act (CJRA) Advisory Committee
  • Public Justice Foundation
  • Queen’s Bench
  • State Bar of California
  • Editor-in-Chief, California Class Actions Practice and Procedures, LexisNexis, Updated Annually
  • Executive Editor, ABA Section of Litigation, Survey of Federal Circuit Courts’ Class Action Decisions – 2018
  • Co-author with Samuel Issacharoff, “The Participatory Class Action,” New York University Law Review, Vol. 92 (October 2017)
  • “Punitive Damages,” Proving and Defending Damage Claims, Chapter 8, Aspen Publishers, Updated Annually
  • “The Class Abides: Class Actions and the ‘Roberts Court’,” Akron Law Review: Vol. 48: Iss. 4, Article 3
  • “Symposium: Enforcing the Social Contract through Representative Litigation,” 33 Connecticut Law Review 1239, Summer 2011
  • “When Worlds Collide: The Supreme Court Confronts Federal Agencies with Federalism in Wyeth v. Levine,” 84 Tulane L. Rev. 1275, 2010
  • “Apportioning Due Process: Preserving The Right to Affordable Justice,” 87 Denver U. L.Rev. 437, 2010
  • “Due Process Pre-Empted: Stealth Preemption As a Consequence of Agency Capture,” 65 N.Y.U. Annual Survey of American Law 449, 2010
  • Executive Editor, ABA Section of Litigation, Survey of State Class Action Law, 2008-2010
  • “Just Choose: The Jurisprudential Necessity to Select a Single Governing Law for Mass Claims Arising from Nationally Marketed Consumer Goods and Services,” Roger Williams University Law Review, Winter 2009
  • “California Class Action Classics,” Consumer Attorneys of California, January/February Forum 2009
  • Coordinating Editor, ABA Section of Litigation, Survey of State Class Action Law, 2006-2007
  • “The Manageable Nationwide Class: A Choice-of-Law Legacy of Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Shutts,” University of Missouri-Kansas City Law Review, Volume 74, Number 3, Spring 2006
  • Co-Author with Joy A. Kruse, Bruce Leppla, “Selective Waiver: Recent Developments in the Ninth Circuit and California” (pts. 1 & 2), Securities Litigation Report, West Legalworks May & June 2005
  • Co-Author with Fabrice N. Vincent, “Class Actions Fairness Act of 2005,” California Litigation, Vol. 18, Nov. 3 2005
  • Co-Author, “2004 ABA Toxicology Monograph-California State Law,” January 2004
  • Co-Author, “Decisions Interpreting California’s Rules of Class Action Procedure,” Survey of State Class Action Law, updated and re-published in 5 Newberg on Class Actions, ABA 2001 – 2004
  • Co-Author, “Mass But Not (Necessarily) Class: Emerging Aggregation Alternatives Under the Federal Rules,” ABA 8th Annual National Institute on Class Actions, New York (Oct. 15, 2004) & New Orleans (Oct. 29, 2004)
  • “Human Rights Violations as Mass Torts: Compensation as a Proxy for Justice in the United States Civil Litigation System,” Vanderbilt Law Review, November 2004
  • “Mass Tort Class Actions,” ATLA’s Litigating Tort Cases, Vol. 1, Chapter 9, June 2003
  • “A Plaintiffs’ Perspective On The Effect of State Farm v. Campbell On Punitive Damages in Mass Torts,” May 2003
  • Co-Author with Fabrice N. Vincent, “Ethics and Admissibility: Failure to Disclose Conflicts of Interest in and/or Funding of Scientific Studies and/or Data May Warrant Evidentiary Exclusions,” Mealey’s December Emerging Drugs Reporter, December 2002
  • “The Shareholder Strikes Back: Varied Approaches to Civil Litigation Claims Are Available to Help Make Shareholders Whole,” September 2002
  • Coordinating Editor/Co-Author, California section, ABA State Class Action Survey, 2001 – 2002
  • “Unfinished Business: Reaching the Due Process Limits of Punitive Damages in Tobacco Litigation Through Unitary Classwide Adjudication,” 36 Wake Forest Law Review 979, Winter 2001
  • “Equity for the Victims, Equity for the Transgressor: The Classwide Treatment of Punitive Damages Claims,” 74 Tulane Law Review 2005, June, 2000
  • “Class Action Trends and Developments After Amchem and Ortiz,” ALI-ABA Course of Study, Civil Practice and Litigation Techniques in Federal and State Courts, 1999
  • Contributor/Editor, Moore’s Federal Practice, 1999
  • Co-Author, “Preliminary Issues Regarding Forum Selection, Jurisdiction, and Choice of Law in Class Actions,” December, 1999
  • “Life After Amchem: The Class Struggle Continues,” 31 Loyola Law Review 373, 1998
  • “Recent Developments in Nationwide Products Liability Litigation: The Phenomenon of Non-Injury Products Cases, the Impact of Amchem and the Trend Toward State Court Adjudication,” Products Liability, ABA, February, 1998
  • Contributor/Editor, California Causes of Action, 1998
  • “Beyond Bifurcation: Multi-Phase Structure in Mass Tort Class Actions,” Class Actions & Derivative Suits, Spring, 1997
  • “The Road Not Taken: Thoughts on the Fifth Circuit’s Decertification of the Castano Class,” SB24 ALI-ABA 433, 1996
  • “Getting the Word Out: Pre-Certification Notice to Class Members Under Rule 23(d)(2),” Class Actions & Derivative Suits Newsletter, October, 1995
  • “Mass Tort Class Action Settlements,” 24 CTLA Forum 11, January-February, 1994
  • “Do You Know the Way from San Jose? The Evolution of Environmental and Toxic Nuisance Class Actions,” Class Actions & Derivative Suits, Spring, 1994
  • “An Oracle of Change? Realizing the Potential of Emerging Fee Award Methodologies for Enhancing The Role and Control of Investors in Derivative and Class Action Suits,” Principles of Corporate Governance, ALI, October, 1994
  • “How To Streamline Complex Litigation: Tailor a Case Management Order to Your Controversy,” 21 The Brief 12, ABA/TIPS, Summer, 1992
  • “The Applicability of the Fraud-On-The-Market Theory to Undeveloped Markets: When Fraud Creates the Market,” 12 Class Action Reports 402, 1989
  • “Mandatory Certification of Settlement Classes,” 10 Class Action Reports 151, 1987
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected for inclusion by peers in The Best Lawyers in America in the fields of “Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Plaintiffs,” “Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs,” “Product Liability Litigation-Plaintiffs,” and “Consumer Protection Law,” 2005-2022
  • “Lawyer of the Year,” Best Lawyers, recognized in the category of Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Plaintiffs, Litigation-Securities, Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs, and Product Liability Litigation-Plaintiffs for San Francisco, 2014, 2016, 2019, 2020
  • “Top Lawyers of the Decade,” Daily Journal, 2021
  • “Top 100 Lawyers in California,” Daily Journal, 2002-2007, 2010-2016, 2019-2021
  • “Top Plaintiff Lawyers,” California Daily Journal, 2016-2017, 2019, 2021
  • “Ramey Gender Justice Award,” Equal Rights Advocates, 2021
  • “Lawdragon 500 Hall of Fame,” Lawdragon, 2021
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2019-2021
  • “Super Lawyer for Northern California,” Super Lawyers, 2004-2021
  • “Top 50 Women Northern California Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers, 2005-2021
  • “Top 10 Northern California Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers, 2011-2021
  • “Top 250 Women in Litigation,” Benchmark Litigation, 2016-2020
  • “Top 20 Trial Lawyers in America,” Benchmark Litigation, 2020
  • “Top Women Lawyers in California,” Daily Journal, 2007-2020
  • “Vern Countryman Consumer Law Award,” National Consumer Law Center, 2019
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2006-2020
  • “Trial Lawyer Excellence Award,” Law Bulletin, 2019
  • “Elite Women of the Plaintiffs Bar,” National Law Journal, 2018
  • “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America,” Benchmark Litigation, 2015, 2017, 2018
  • “Champion of Justice,” Public Justice, 2018
  • 2018 “National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame,” National Trial Lawyers Association
  • “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar,” Law360, 2018
  • “California Lawyer of the Year,” California Lawyer, 2018
  • “Plaintiff Lawyer of the Year,” Benchmark Litigation, 2017
  • “Lifetime Achievement Award,” National Law Journal, 2017
  • “Consumer Attorney of the Year Finalist,” Consumer Attorneys of California, 2017
  • “Top 10 Women in Litigation,” Benchmark Litigation, 2016, 2017
  • “Energy and Environmental Law Trailblazer,” National Law Journal, 2017
  • “Leader in the Field” for General Commercial Litigation (California); Product Liability – Plaintiffs (Nationwide), Chambers USA, 2017
  • “MVP for Class Action Law,” Law360, 2016
  • “Litigator of the Week,” American Lawyer Litigation Daily, October 28, 2016
  • “Judge Learned Hand Award,” American Jewish Committee, 2016
  • “25 Most Influential Women in Securities Law,” Law360, 2016
  • “California Litigation Star,” Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2017
  • “Women Trailblazers in the Law,” Senior Lawyers Division, American Bar Association, 2015
  • “Outstanding Women Lawyer,” National Law Journal, 2015
  • “Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyers,” Super Lawyers, 2005-2016
  • “Recommended Lawyer,” The Legal 500 (U.S. edition, 2000-2014)
  • “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” The National Law Journal, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2013
  • “Lifetime Achievement Award,” American Association for Justice, 2012
  • “Outstanding Achievement Award,” Chambers USA, 2012
  • “Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award,” American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, 2010
  • “Edward Pollock Award,” Consumer Attorneys of California, 2008
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiffs’ Lawyers,” Lawdragon, Winter 2007
  • “50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America,” The National Law Journal, 1998, 2007
  • “Award For Public Interest Excellence,” University of San Francisco School of Law Public Interest Law Foundation, 2007
  • “Top 75 Women Litigators,” Daily Journal, 2005-2006
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America,” Lawdragon, 2006
  • “Distinguished Leadership Award,” Legal Community Against Violence, 2006
  • “Women of Achievement Award,” Legal Momentum (formerly the NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund), 2006
  • “Top 30 Securities Litigator,” Daily Journal, 2005
  • “Top 50 Women Litigators,” Daily Journal, 2004
  • “Citation Award,” University of California, Berkeley Law, 2003
  • “Distinguished Jurisprudence Award,” Anti-Defamation League, 2002
  • “Top 30 Women Litigators,” California Daily Journal, 2002
  • “Top Ten Women Litigators,” The National Law Journal, 2001
  • “Matthew O. Tobriner Public Service Award,” Legal Aid Society, 2000
  • “California Law Business Top 100 Lawyers,” California Daily Journal, 2000
  • “California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY),” California Lawyer, 1998
  • “Presidential Award of Merit,” Consumer Attorneys of California, 1998
  • “Public Justice Achievement Award,” Public Justice, 1997
  • Faculty Member, “Mass Tort MDL Certificate Program,” Duke Law School Bolch Judicial Institute, 2019, 2020
  • Visiting Professor, Columbia University School of Law, Spring 2003–Present (Complex Litigation/Mass Torts; Consumer Litigation Advanced Seminar)
  • Visiting Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Law Fall 2006 (Complex Litigation Short Course)
  • Adjunct Professor, Berkeley Law, Spring 2002-Present (Advanced Course in Civil Procedure: Complex Litigation/Mass Torts, Spring Semester 2002, Fall Semester 2003–2008, Spring Semester 2010; Class Actions, Spring Semester 2008; Consumer Class Actions, Spring Semester 2016)
  • Panelist and Contributor, Charleston Law School (Punitive Damages Symposium, Fall 2007)