Since joining Keker, Van Nest & Peters in 1985 and becoming a partner in 1989, Susan has handled a wide range of complex business litigation. She has tried state and federal cases involving commercial disputes, real estate, and wrongful termination. She has also arbitrated cases before the American Arbitration Association, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and JAMS, Inc. She has represented groups as diverse as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, the Koret Foundation, Electronic Arts, Univision, and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
In addition to being elected a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, Susan serves the President-Elect for ACTL. She is also a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. She was named among California’s Top Women Lawyers by the Daily Journal for more than a decade, and has been listed by Best Lawyers in America for Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Legal Malpractice Law, Regulatory Enforcement, and Securities Litigation. The Legal 500 has named Susan a Leading Trial Lawyer and The American Lawyer included her among its Women Leaders in the Law.
After college, Susan served as Peace Corp Volunteer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Following law school, she clerked for the Hon. Robert F. Peckham of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. She formerly served on the San Francisco Ethics Commission, and was its chairperson from 2006 to 2008.
When not working, Susan enjoys walking her dog, rowing on the San Francisco Bay, kayaking on Narragansett Bay, and playing pickleball.
Susan Koret v. The Koret Foundation Board of Directors
To seize control of the Koret Foundation, Susan Koret, chair and wife of foundation founder Joseph Koret, filed suit against the Koret Foundation and six of the seven other board members, seeking their removal. On behalf of the foundation and its directors, we sought Ms. Koret’s removal as a director by way of a cross-complaint. A San Francisco Superior Court trial resulted in a tentative ruling rejecting Ms. Koret’s claims and granting the Foundation’s request that Ms. Koret be removed, and the parties settled the dispute on terms favorable to the Foundation.
Robin Antonick v. Electronic Arts Inc.
Robin Antonick, programmer of the John Madden Football video game for the Apple II that was released in 1988, alleged that EA owed him royalties on sales of all Madden Football video games over the last twenty-two years. Antonick claimed that all Madden games since 1990 are derivative works of the game he programmed, and he was therefore owed royalties under a 1986 contract with EA. On behalf of EA, we contended that none of Antonick’s source code, which was written for a more primitive platform and was outdated by the time it was released, was ever used in any subsequent Madden game. Although the jury found in favor of Antonik, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer later entered judgment for EA, reversing the award and strongly discouraging similar suits based on additional versions of the game. Judge Breyer's ruling was affirmed on appeal.
Javorsky v. Western Athletic Clubs, Inc.
We won summary judgment for a chain of luxury health clubs, which faced a class action alleging age discrimination based upon discounted pricing for the clubs’ younger members. After winning at the trial court, we then successfully defended our victory on appeal to the California Court of Appeal. In affirming the trial court’s order, the Court of Appeal held that our clients’ pricing model was not only non-discriminatory, but in fact was supported by public policy.
Televisa v. Univision Communications
We represented Univision, the country's leading Spanish language television network, in a breach of contract jury trial. Televisa, a Mexican multimedia conglomerate which supplied Univision with its most popular Spanish language programs, attempted to terminate a long-term exclusive licensing agreement and sought more than $100 million in damages. The case was settled during trial on favorable terms. We also represented Univision in a bench trial which sought declaratory judgment to prevent Televisa from broadcasting over the Internet the same highly popular programs that it exclusively licensed to Univision. We won a complete victory at trial.
Backers v. Alameda County District Attorney's Office, Tom Orloff
We successfully defended the Alameda County District Attorney and the District Attorney's Office from accusations of gender discrimination. Working with top female attorneys in the D.A.’s office, we proved the plaintiff’s allegations were unfounded and secured summary judgment.
Pande v. Chevron
We won a $5.5 million jury verdict against Chevron for wrongfully terminating and retaliating against a female petroleum engineer. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the award.
Maritime Association v. Miniace
We successfully defended an individual in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) action brought by her deceased husband’s employer. The employer sought to recoup the $10 million insurance proceeds paid to our client upon her husband's death. After a two-week court trial, judgment was awarded in favor of our client. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment.
Spitler v. Jenner Biotherapies, Inc.
We defended Jenner Biotherapies and one of its significant investors from breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and negligence claims. During a two-week jury trial, the federal court threw out five of the seven claims. The jury split on the remaining two claims, and awarded a fraction of the plaintiff's original demand.
The Daily Journal has recognized Susan Harriman and Jan Nielsen Little among the Top Women Lawyers in California. Read more
October 06, 2017
Longtime California trial staple Keker Van Nest & Peters LLP found success for a wide range of clients this year, winning a nationwide injunction against a presidential executive order, defending Arista Networks in a groundbreaking copyright suit and resolving a feud between two prominent San Francisco philanthropists. Read more
July 14, 2017
This is a one day trial boot camp featuring star trial lawyers on covering topics on cases analysis, theory of the case, civility, opening statements, direct examination, cross examination, and closing arguments. Read more
The Academy is a group of truly elite trial lawyers, limited to the country's top 500 active trial lawyers. Read more
Ms. Little was recognized for standing between clients and the court of public opinion. Ms. Harris was applauded for her ability to break down the most complex legal issues into very precise slices, making the case easier for a judge and jury to digest. Read more
A Bay Area company that operates fitness centers isn’t violating age-discrimination laws by charging reduced membership fees to 18- to 29-year-olds, who tend to have lower incomes than older adults, a state appeals court has ruled. Read more
The Daily Journal has named Ms. Little and Ms. Harriman to its prestigious list of the top 100 lawyers in California since 2005. Read more
One name mentioned by virtually everyone the Daily Journal spoke to was Keker & Van Nest. Lawyers at some of the best firms in California said they model themselves after the litigation powerhouse. Read more
Ms. Little was recognized for handling prestigious white collar litigation, and Ms. Harriman for defeating a high-stakes copyright case. Read more
In a stunning order, Breyer entered judgment for Electronic Arts in a dispute with video game designer Robin Antonick, who had accused the company of cheating him out of royalties for the wildly popular Madden Football series. Read more
Jan Nielsen Little and Susan Harriman are once again named to elite list of California's top women lawyers. Read more
Susan Harriman will speak before the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. Read more
Susan Harriman authors the "Law and Motion Practice" chapter for the 2012 handbook. Read more
The firm receives top rankings for bet-the-company, intellectual property, criminal defense, securities, commercial, legal malpractice, and appellate litigation. Read more
John Keker, Robert Van Nest and Susan Harriman win "Lawyer of the Year" for IP, Patent Litigation and Legal Malpractice respectively. Read more
Susan Harriman will speak at the ABA's 2011 Fall National Legal Malpractice Conference, the preeminent forum on lawyers’ professional liability issues and developments. Read more
Keker & Van Nest partners were recognized in more than ten categories, including bet-the-company litigation, criminal defense, and intellectual property litigation. Read more
Elliot Peters, Steven Ragland, Susan Harriman and John Trinidad use knowledge of the developing law involving malpractice claims against patent lawyers to win summary judgment. Read more
The partners have received this recognition for the past four years in a row. Read more
May 10, 2007
Jan Nielsen Little and Susan Harriman are among California's top 75 women litigators three years in a row. Read more
Steven Hirsch and Susan Harriman are defending Arizona-based Gradient Analytics, a securities research firm accused by Overstock.com of driving down its stock price. Read more
The Daily Journal honored the work of California's top women litigators, including Keker & Van Nest partners Jan Little and Susan Harriman. Read more
The Daily Journal has named Susan Harriman as one of California's top 50 women litigators. Read more