Gary L. Fontana


The hallmark of Gary Fontana’s broad and varied career, has been continuing success winning difficult, high profile cases relating to antitrust, insurance and Constitutional law. In addition, he served in the Administration of President Jimmy Carter.

As an attorney in the White House, he was also a lobbyist and later worked in the Office of Management and Budget. He holds a JD from Yale Law School. He began his legal career as a litigation associate at Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe. 

In 1977, he joined the Carter Administration as an attorney and lobbyist, promoting the Administration’s energy policy initiatives in the House of Representatives. His work was instrumental in the passage of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1979 and the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of 1978.

From 1979 to 1981, he served as Deputy for Legislative Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget where he directed the staff responsible for lobbying Civil Service reform, the Department of Education Organization Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Act.

Fontana, who also holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Cornell, returned to the private sector in 1981 as a partner in Washington D.C.-based energy and environmental law firm of Van Ness, Feldman, Sutcliffe & Curtis.  He joined Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges as a litigation partner in 1986. The firm is now Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner.

During his private sector legal career, Fontana has litigated cases of national and international prominence, including a recent case involving Credit Lyonnais where he represented the California Commissioner of Insurance. The six-year legal battle has resulted in recoveries of nearly $900 million for the Executive Life Insurance Company (ELIC) estate and its 330,000 former policy holders.

Fontana is widely recognized as an aggressive, grounded-in-the facts litigator, who has argued many high profile cases both as a defense attorney and a plaintiff’s representative. He has litigated cases throughout California as well as the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New York and Ohio.

His clients have included the Commissioner of Insurance for the State of California as well as Levi Strauss & Co., Texas Commerce Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, 20th Century Insurance Co., Nationwide Insurance and Allied Insurance in prominent national and international litigation.

Fontana has bar memberships and appointments in California, the District of Columbia, before the 5th, 9th and DC Circuit Courts of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Practicing Law Institute (Member of the Insurance Law Advisory Committee), the State Bar of California. He has served as a member of the Committee on the Administration of Justice and the Insurance Law Committee and for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Civil Indigent Panel).

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