Ethan P. Schulman is a senior counsel in Crowell & Moring's San Francisco office and is a member of the firm's Litigation Group. He is an experienced appellate and trial attorney whose practice focuses on appeals, writs, and complex commercial litigation and class actions, including representation of colleges and universities, public entities, law firms and attorneys. Mr. Schulman is certified as an appellate specialist by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California and is a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He has successfully argued numerous cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the California Supreme Court, and the California Courts of Appeal, and is a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Schulman recently was named a recipient of the 2011 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award for his victory in Martinez v. Regents of the University of California, 50 Cal. 4th 1277 (2010). Mr. Schulman and his co-counsel obtained a unanimous ruling by the California Supreme Court upholding a state law that allows undocumented immigrant students to pay lower in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities if they have attended a California high school for three years. The Court rejected arguments that the state legislation is preempted by federal immigration laws or violates nonresident students’ rights under the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The closely watched case garnered national attention, with amicus briefs filed by scores of immigrant rights, civil liberties, and conservative political organizations, as well as two members of Congress. Mr. Schulman also was awarded the Guardián de Justicia (Guardian of Justice) Award by the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County for that case.
In a second recent landmark case, Mr. Schulman represented Hastings College of the Law, University of California, in a successful defense of a constitutional challenge to the law school's denial of official recognition to a Christian student group for violating the law school’s open membership by denying membership to gay and lesbian students. The United States Supreme Court decided the case in Hastings’ favor by a 5-to-4 vote; on remand, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected all remaining claims. Christian Legal Soc'y v. Martinez, 130 S. Ct. 2971 (2010), on remand, Christian Legal Soc’y v. Wu, 626 F.3d 483 (9th Cir. 2010).
Before joining Crowell & Moring, Mr. Schulman had practiced for many years as a litigation partner in the San Francisco law firms of Folger Levin & Kahn LLP and Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin, P.C. He is AV Peer Review Rated and has been selected as a Northern California Super Lawyer each year since 2004. Mr. Schulman has been a visiting lecturer at Boalt Hall School of Law, and serves as a mediator for the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District.
Other Recent Representative Matters
- Baragona v. Kuwait Gulf Link Transp. Co., 594 F.3d 852 (11th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 3473 (2010). Successfully represented Kuwaiti company on appeal from order setting aside $5 million default judgment for lack of personal jurisdiction.
- Bosack v. Soward, 586 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 1522 (2010). Successfully represented private investment manager in commercial arbitration proceedings resulting in recovery of $24 million award for breach of contract, conversion, and breach of fiduciary duty, including substantial punitive damages.
- LandValue 77, LLC v. Board of Trustees of California State University, 194 Cal. App. 4th 675 (2011). Represented California State University and affiliated parties in challenge to environmental impact report and alleged conflict of interest violations in connection with approval of 45-acre mixed-use development project on Fresno campus.
- Cortez and Downing v. San Diego Gas & Electric Co., D055750 and D055820 (Fourth App. Dist., Div. One, Oct. 27, 2010). Successfully represented Cox Communications, Inc. and CoxCom, Inc. in two appeals from orders denying class certification of proposed classes of 100,000 or more persons in mass tort actions arising out of 2007 wildfires in San Diego County.
- DiQuisto v. County of Santa Clara, 181 Cal. App. 4th 236 (2010). Successfully represented California county in challenge to collective bargaining negotiations with public employee unions and to alleged illegal use of public funds for campaign activities.
- Successfully represented law firm and individual lawyers in trial court and on appeal in $8.1 million legal malpractice action. Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment for clients.
- Successfully represented twelve court-appointed class counsel in litigation arising out of objections to $1.55 billion settlement of antitrust claims and $60 million attorneys' fees award. District court dismissed action and awarded $45,000 in sanctions against plaintiff's counsel and Ninth Circuit affirmed.
- Lead trial lawyer for Insurance Commissioner of the State of California in three-week arbitration. Arbitrator ruled in Commissioner's favor on all claims, awarding $295 million to policyholders, plus $4.5 million in attorneys' fees.
- Successfully represented employer on petition for review of remedy imposed by National Labor Relations Board for unfair labor practices. Sever v. NLRB, 231 F.3d 1156 (9th Cir. 2000).
Member, American Bar Association
Member, State Bar of California and admitted to practice in federal courts throughout California including U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; member, Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Member, Bar Association of San Francisco, Appellate Practice Section
Member and former chair, Legal Committee of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, 1996 to present
Volunteer mediator for the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, 2002 to present