Brian P. Goldman


San Francisco

Brian Goldman litigates high-stakes appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate courts around the country.

Brian is a partner in the firm's Supreme Court and Appellate practice. He specializes in collaborating with clients and trial counsel to distill years of litigation and complicated fact patterns into compelling narratives that drive common-sense arguments on appeal. Brian has helped leading tech companies set groundbreaking precedent on privacy issues by combining traditional legal arguments with analogies showing how pre-internet-age laws should apply to novel circumstances. In addition, Brian has helped local government clients defend their policies and programs against constitutional attacks. Brian has also represented companies and individuals in cases involving copyright, trade secret, patent, employment-based visas, and general commercial disputes. 

Brian also maintains an active pro bono practice in the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals, with a particular focus on immigration matters. He has collaborated with several leading immigrants' rights organizations on their most significant impact-litigation cases.

The Ninth Circuit appointed Brian to serve as an Appellate Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. In 2020, the Court then made Brian the Chair of that group. As an appellate lawyer representative, Brian has served as a liaison between the bench and the bar, co-authored The Appellate Lawyer Representatives' Guide to Practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and created a "shell brief" for attorneys to use in preparing properly structured Ninth Circuit briefs.

Brian was named one of California's "Top 40 Under 40" in 2018 by the Daily Journal and one of the country’s “Appellate Rising Stars” by Law360. He also won a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award for his work defending a local firearms ordinance against a Second Amendment challenge.

Prior to joining Orrick, Brian served as a law clerk to Justice Sonia Sotomayor and to Judge Stephen Reinhardt. He also served in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division, where he briefed and argued cases on appeal for the federal government. 

  • Representative tech sector matters: 
    • Microsoft v. United States (Second Circuit, Supreme Court): Brian represented Microsoft in its successful Second Circuit challenge to the federal government's attempt to force Microsoft to turn over a customer's email content stored on a server in Ireland, beyond the reach of the federal Stored Communications Act. The Supreme Court then found the case moot after Congress updated the law with compromise legislation that was prompted by the Second Circuit decision. (Supreme Court Opinion) (CA2 Opinion) (Supreme Court Brief) (CA2 Opening Brief) (CA2 Reply Brief)
    • Idenix Pharmaceuticals v. Gilead Sciences (Federal Circuit): Brian represented Gilead in a case involving its revolutionary cure for Hepatitis C. After the district court vacated a $2.5 billion jury verdict against Gilead -- the largest patent verdict in history -- Brian and the Orrick team successfully defended the judgment on appeal to the Federal Circuit. (Opinion)
    • Blasdell v. Space Exploration Technologies (California Court of Appeal): Following Brian's briefing and oral argument, the Court of Appeal affirmed a jury verdict in favor of SpaceX in an individual employee's action alleging whistleblower retaliation. (Opinion)

    Representative local government matters:

    • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Bay Area Toll Authority (California Court of Appeal): Brian successfully defended the constitutionality of a voter-approved toll increase on Bay Area bridges that will generate several billion dollars for much-needed infrastructure and public transit improvements. (Opinion)
    • Teixeira v. County of Alameda (Ninth Circuit en banc, Supreme Court): Brian successfully argued a significant Second Amendment case before the en banc Ninth Circuit on behalf of Alameda County, California, persuading the court to uphold a county zoning ordinance regulating the location of gun stores. The Supreme Court then denied the challengers' petition for certiorari. (CA9 en banc Oral Argument) (CA9 en banc Opinion) (Supreme Court Brief in Opposition)
    • Cherk v. County of Marin (Supreme Court): When challengers to a Marin County affordable housing ordinance took their takings claim to the U.S. Supreme Court, the County turned to Brian to defend its victory. Brian convinced the Court to deny certiorari. (Supreme Court Brief in Opposition

    Representative pro bono matters:

    • Pereida v. Barr (Supreme Court): Brian argued a case before the Supreme Court regarding the immigration consequences of past criminal convictions. (Supreme Court Oral Argument) (Supreme Court Brief) (Supreme Court Reply Brief)
    • Marinelarena v. Barr (Ninth Circuit en banc): Brian persuaded the Ninth Circuit to overrule a prior decision that often had made it impossible for noncitizens with criminal convictions to apply for essential humanitarian relief from deportation. (CA9 en banc Oral Argument) (CA9 en banc Opinion
    • Sessions v. Dimaya (Supreme Court): In a major immigration case, Brian convinced the Supreme Court to strike down as unconstitutional a law that the government had frequently used to deport noncitizens. Brian was the lead author of the team's brief, which explained why the immigration law's "crime of violence" provision was void for vagueness. (Supreme Court Opinion) (Supreme Court Brief)
    • Volpicelli v. United States (Ninth Circuit): Brian successfully briefed and argued a tax case to the Ninth Circuit on behalf of a client whose property was wrongfully seized by the IRS when it was attempting to collect on someone else's tax debt. The Ninth Circuit issued a precedential decision holding that the statute of limitations for filing such suits could be extended in appropriate cases -- the first decision by any appellate court in two decades to allow a tax refund deadline to be extended. (Opinion) (Oral Argument) (Press coverage: Forbes, Law360)