Over more than three decades, Joan Haratani has honed practical, goal oriented, strategic thinking and courtroom skills in high-exposure cases. A co-lead counsel on some of the largest mass tort litigations, Joan defends her clients in class actions, from product liability litigation, to complex licensing agreements, to trade secret indemnity issues. While her litigation experience spans industries, including retail and finance, she focuses much of her current practice on the banking and finance industries. She is co-lead national counsel for one of the world’s largest financial institutions. Joan's preferred pronouns are she/her/hers.
Joan’s practice spans state and federal law, including the Alien Tort Statute, California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), pharmaceutical and medical device liability doctrines, and national mortgage foreclosure issues.
Her crisis work includes serving as one of the lead national counsel in litigations involving the possible contamination of a blood product with hepatitis C. That case resulted in a worldwide recall. Joan also represented a major food manufacturer in a high-exposure product liability case alleging the product resulted in apoplexia to an infant, with a demand for more than $50 million in compensatory damages alone. As first chair trial lawyer, she reached a favorable settlement just as the trial was about to begin. She frequently represents medical device makers in product liability cases, including litigation involving surgical equipment and implantable intraocular lenses.
As co-lead counsel on behalf of a Fortune 50 retail company, Joan secured a dismissal at the federal court level in a worldwide class action concerning breach of contract allegations. That decision was later affirmed by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Currently, she serves as one of the firm’s national counsel for a financial institution.
Known for her work as a California litigator, Joan has been recognized as one of the "Top 100 Lawyers in California" and as a "Top 75 Women Litigator" by the Daily Journal. She was selected by the corporate members of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association as a "Female Litigator on the Rise" in Diversity & the Bar. She was also named one of the 500 most influential Asian Americans in America by Avenue Asia Magazine.
Joan plays an active role in the legal community, and has served as a member of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. She also served as president for the Bar Association of San Francisco, the first woman of color to hold that position. She is also a past president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, as well as past regional governor of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She is a past board member of several philanthropic organizations, including The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) of Northern California. Notably, she was the first runner-up in the 2017 LLS Bay Area Woman of the Year campaign and is also an Elite Athlete with its Team in Training program.
Volunteer Service Award, St. John’s College (Santa Fe and Annapolis campuses) (2021)
Recipient, Margaret Brent Award, American Bar Association (2021)
Recognized, Acritas Star, Acritas (2021)
Recipient, Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Diversity in the Legal Profession Award, Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards, Chambers USA (2020)
Recipient, International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law's Amel Zenoune-Zouani Rights & Leadership Award (2020)
Honored by Mayor of San Francisco Edwin Lee, August 2nd proclaimed as “Joan Haratani Day” in The City and County of San Francisco
Recognized, The Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business, San Francisco Business Times (2018)
1st Runner-up, Bay Area Woman of the Year, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (2017)
Past Board Member and Elite Team-in-Training Athlete, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Recognized, Best of San Francisco (2017)
Recognized, "Top 50 Women Lawyers," California Diversity Council (2017)
St. John’s College, Secretary and Executive Committee Member of the Board of Visitors and Governors, Annapolis and Santa Fe campuses (Fall 2011–Present)
Recipient, National Diversity Council's Multicultural Leadership Award (2013)
Recognized as one of the "Women Leaders in the Law" by The Recorder (2012)
Recognized as one of the "Top 75 Women Litigators" by The Daily Journal
Recognized, Top 100 California Lawyers Award
Recipient, "Trailblazers" Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
Recognized, Avenue Asia Magazine – 500 Most Influential Asian Americans in America
NAPABA Subcommittee of Partners in Senior Leadership of Large Law Firms (2020–Present)
Board of Directors, Center for Justice and Accountability (2016–May 2019)
Board of Directors, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, DC (2016–Present)
Leadership Council, Asian Law Caucus
Fellow, American Bar Foundation
Co-Chair, Outreach Committee, Marriage Fairness Task Force, Bar Association of San Francisco
Past Board Member, California Bar Foundation of the State Bar of California
Past Member, House of Delegates, American Bar Association
Advisory Board Member, The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession
Member, Professional Skills Advisory Committee, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
Recipient, American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award
Past President, Bar Association of San Francisco
Recipient, Anti-Defamation League Distinguished Jurisprudence Award
Recipient, Thurgood Marshall College Fund Award of Excellence