Phillip Shinn

Phillip Shinn

San Francisco, California

Phillip Shinn is a career trial attorney, a former Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal Staff Attorney and has litigated 20 trials and arbitrations to completion, including ten jury trials averaging a month each. Mr. Shinn has taken or defended approximately 500 depositions, briefed and argued scores of motions, and worked with or cross-examined expert witnesses in a wide range of technical fields. Mr. Shinn spent two and a half years in Seoul, Korea, where he worked in the international arbitration and cross-border litigation department of Korea’s largest law firm.

Mr. Shinn’s areas of practice include Commercial Litigation; International Arbitration & Cross-Border Litigation; Construction Litigation; Employment Litigation; Product Liability Defense; Insurance Coverage; and Intellectual Property Litigation.

Mr. Shinn is a former Northern District of California Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, and was elected to membership in the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC). He has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and has been named a Northern California “Super Lawyer.”

Mr. Shinn is a former president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), which is the voice of the 40,000 Asian American lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. He is also a former overseas president of the International Association of Korean Lawyers (IAKL), former president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, and a founding member of the Council of Korean Americans.

Mr. Shinn is based in San Francisco.

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1983
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California


  • University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, Berkeley, California
    • J.D. - 1983
  • University of California, Berkeley, California
    • B.A. - 1980

Representative Clients

  • Patent litigation: acted as local counsel in several major patent litigation matters
  • Employment & trade secret misappropriation matter in Northern California for major Korean high tech company
  • Regulatory/white collar defense matter involving networked transportation company
  • Employment discrimination defense for international logistics & warehousing company
  • International airline crash case: advised regarding legal issues & claims process
  • US DOJ investigation: advised executive regarding alleged CRT monitor cartel
  • $100 million ICDR commercial arbitration matter for Korean heavy industry manufacturer of oil-drilling equipment
  • ICDR arbitration for international energy company in tainted fuel oil case
  • ICDR arbitration against Brazilian entity regarding software license dispute
  • Litigated failure of hydro-electric generator for public utility against manufacturer, distributor and contractor
  • Defended insurers in bad faith earthquake litigation arising from the Coalinga, Loma Prieta & Northridge Earthquakes
  • Multi-million dollar construction and product liability litigation involving major hotel and 15 co-defendants. Attended 100 depositions across the US
  • Litigated over 50 property insurance coverage disputes and advised on hundreds of insurance coverage matters
  • Defended $10 million insurance coverage claim by major national bank


  • “The Nuts and Bolts of Expert Testimony,” panelist, 2016 NAPABA Convention (San Diego)
  • “Career Panel Discussions – Law.” panelist, 2016 Mentoring the Next Generation Conference, Berkeley Law
  • “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Under US Law,” presented to AMCHAM Korea, 2015
  • “Trans-Pacific Litigation,” presented to Legal Affairs Committee, AMCHAM Korea, 2010
  • “The Role of Experts in Institutional Bad Faith Litigation,” presented to Property Insurance Law Committee, American Bar Association, 2005
  • “Interpreting Insurance Policies (part of the “Basic Training” course),” presented to the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California, 2003
  • “Defending Business & Professions Code 17200 Actions,” presented to the California Minority Counsel Program, 2002
  • “Municipal law Institute Seminar on Expert Witnesses,” presented to the Practising Law Institute San Francisco, 2001
  • Punitive Damages & Class Actions Seminar for the International Association of Korean Lawyers Conference, 2001
  • The Expert Witness Workshop for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Annual Conference, 2000
  • “Diversity in Law Firms,” presented to the American Bar Association

Honors and Awards

  • AV Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, 2017
  • Northern California Super Lawyer, 2009 - 2012
  • Heritage Award for Legal Excellence – California State Assembly, API Legislative Caucus, May 14, 2007
  • Minority Bar Coalition & Korean American Bar Association of Northern California Award, November 2, 2000
  • Pro Bono Legal Services Award – State Bar of California Board of Governors, 1988 - 1989

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Member
  • Asian American Bar Association, Greater Bay Area, Former President, 2003 - 2004
  • Advisory Council for Democratic & Peaceful
  • Unification of the Korean Peninsula
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, elected March 21, 2005
  • Northern District of California Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, 2004 - 2007
  • International Association of Korean Lawyers, Former President of Overseas Chapter, 2011 - 2013
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Former President, 2006 - 2007
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Former Board of Governors, 2000 - 2002
  • Asian Law Caucus, Former Board of Directors, 1990 - 1993

Past Employment Positions

  • Thornton, Taylor, Downs & Becker, Associate, 1984 - 1990
  • Thornton, Taylor, Downs & Becker, Executive Committee Member, 1997 - 1999
  • Thornton, Taylor, Downs & Becker, Partner, 1991 - 2000
  • United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit, Staff Attorney, 1983 - 1984
  • Fox Rothschild, LLP, Partner, 2008 - 2012

Pro Bono Activities

  • Korean American Chamber of Commerce-North Pacific Coast, Former President, 2004 - 2005
  • San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation Former Board of Directors, 1989 - 1990