Marwa Elzankaly

Marwa Elzankaly

Of Counsel

Marwa’s clients range from individuals to small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.  Talented and experienced, she represents her clients in general civil and commercial disputes.

Antitrust, trade secrets, unfair competition, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and business torts are all part of her extensive skill set.  Marwa also serves as outside counsel for small to mid-size companies.   She has represented enterprises in many industries, including technology, construction, entertainment, financial, food and beverage, clean energy, and web-based businesses.  She has conducted both bench and jury trials in state and federal courts.  She has experience handling state and federal appeals, including successfully obtaining en banc review of a Ninth Circuit Court decision.  In addition, she has appeared before various administrative tribunals.

Marwa was a Partner at McManis Faulkner for five years and received numerous awards recognizing her as one of the top attorneys in California.  Her practice is built on her ability to work closely with her clients, understand their businesses and their needs in order to develop the best plan to meet their goals.  Whether it be resolving conflict early on or taking the matter to trial, Marwa achieves excellent results. She takes a pragmatic approach to resolving her clients’ legal issues, taking into consideration all factors before deciding on the best course of action.

Unique to her practice, Marwa has worked with clients on developing public relations and media strategies and has extensive experience working with local and national media in high profile cases.  She has been quoted by the New York Times, the San Francisco Daily Journal, The Recorder, The San Jose Mercury News and the Los Angeles Times.  She has been interviewed by CNN and Fox News.  In addition, Marwa has argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a nationally televised appearance on C-Span.

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  • Credentials


    • State Bar of California
    • U.S. District Court, Northern, Central, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit


    • J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law, 1999
    • B.S., University of California, Riverside, 1996


    • Arabic
  • Experience

    Representative Matters

    • Successfully overturned a three-panel decision of the Ninth Circuit, upon rehearing en banc, arguing before a panel of 11 Ninth Circuit judges that the federal government acted in bad faith, entitling the client to an award of $3.8 million in attorneys’ fees.
    • Obtained the complete dismissal of an action filed against a commercial lender in a dispute involving a failed merger between two companies in the clean energy industry.
    • Successfully prosecuted three appeals on behalf of a Stanford graduate student from Indonesia who found herself inexplicably on the No-Fly List, and obtained a judgment in favor of her client. In a decided victory, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to allow federal trial judges to adjudicate the makeup of the No-Fly List.
    • Represented a major Silicon Valley company in a malicious prosecution action based on an underlying patent infringement lawsuit. Defended the same company in a copyright infringement action.
    • Secured a favorable appellate decision in an action for misappropriation of trade secrets, in a published opinion by the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District.
    • Represented Feld Entertainment, Inc., dba Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, obtaining the dismissal of a federal action filed against Feld Entertainment and successfully defending its former star performer, Mark Oliver Gebel, in a criminal trial, obtaining an acquittal in record time. Also secured her client’s right to do business without unwarranted interruption in an unpublished Ninth Circuit opinion.
    • Played a lead role in collaborating with joint defense counsel to dismiss a federal case involving 18 named defendants and a plaintiff seeking equitable relief for the alleged violation of title insurance laws in 49 states. Also defended the client when a similar action was filed in the San Francisco Superior Court. 
    • Secured a favorable judgment in an action against a local municipality seeking records under the California Public Records Act.

    Reported Cases

    • Ibrahim v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Security, No. 14-16161, 2019 WL 73988 (9th Cir. Jan. 2, 2019).
    • Ibrahim v. Department of Homeland Security (9th Cir. 2012) 669 F.3d 983.
    • County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (2009) 2009 WL 377172.
    • Sutter's Place v. Superior Court (2008) 161 Cal.App.4th 1370.
    • Ibrahim v. Dept. of Homeland Security (9th Cir. 2008) 538 F.3d 1250.
    • Jasmine Networks, Inc. v. Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. (2004) 117 Cal.App. 4th 794.
  • Awards & Honors
    • Minority 40 Under 40 Lawyers, The American Lawyer & The National Law Journal, 2011.
    • California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award, Civil Rights, 2009
    • Top 100 Litigators of 2009, Daily Journal.
    • Top 20 Under 40 California Lawyers, Daily Journal, 2009
    • Northern California, Top 40 under 40, Silicon Valley Business Journal, 2009
    • YWCA of Silicon Valley Tribute to Women and Industry (TWIN) Award, 2009.
    • Northern California Super Lawyers – Rising Stars, 2009
  • Articles & Blogs


    • “The No-So-Powerful Nondisclosure Agreement”  Daily Journal
    • 10 Tips for Deciding When to Litigate” The Recorder
    • "Practical Lessons for Litigating a Complex Case" Daily Journal
    • "Staying Off the ‘No-Fly’ List " The Recorder


  • Speaking Engagements & Presentations
  • Professional & Community Contributions
    • U.C. Berkeley, Instructor, Business Law
    • Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN Silicon Valley), Guest Speaker
    • California State Bar, Guest Speaker
    • San Mateo County Bar Association, Guest Speaker
    • Federal Bar Association, Member
    • California Minority Counsel Program, Member
    • Standing Committee on Professional Conduct, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Former Member
    • Zaytuna College, Management Committee, Former Member