Nadia A. Sarkis



Nadia Sarkis is an experienced appellate advocate and innovative problem-solver who helps clients reframe and develop their cases for success in federal and state appellate courts.  That process begins not just during the post-trial motion phase when issues are first articulated for appeal, but often long before, strategizing with trial counsel and assisting with dispositive and other significant pretrial motions.

Ms. Sarkis’s colleagues and clients come to her with the hard cases, the ones that demand creativity and tenacity.  She brings those cases to life with structured and vivid writing that tells a compelling story and effectively frames the issues in a way that resonates with appellate courts.

Her appellate practice is broad-based, including the representation of public entities in constitutional, employment, and tort matters; working with businesses on product liability, arbitration, and other matters; and serving as amicus curiae in several cases before the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court.  Among her recent victories, she secured a per curiam reversal in the U.S. Supreme Court during the 2021 term in Rivas-Villegas v. Cortesluna and developed the law on managing-agent liability, obtaining reversal of a $15 million punitive damages award.

Before joining GMSR, Nadia worked as senior litigation counsel, including at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, representing clients in large-scale antitrust, intellectual property, and coverage litigation matters, and trying multiple jury cases to verdict.  She also has prior experience working in-house managing litigation, employment, and privacy matters, which informs her collaborative approach with clients and excellent communication skills.

Nadia started her legal career with two appellate clerkships, for Ferdinand F. Fernandez of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey of the Colorado Supreme Court.  Nadia is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional (“CIPP”) through the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

High-Impact Wins


Rivas-Villegas v. Cortesluna (2021) 142 S.Ct. 4 (per curiam)

Continuing GMSR’s record of success in the United States Supreme Court—prevailing in nine of ten cases before the Court—Tim Coates and Nadia Sarkis convin...

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Morgan v. J-M Manufacturing Co., Inc. (2021) 60 Cal.App.5th 1078

Obtained reversal of $15 million punitive damages award based on no substantial evidence of managing agent liability.

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B.Q. v. Mesa Union School Dist. (Dec. 2, 2020, No. B303351) 2020 WL 7052293 [nonpublished opinion]

Second appeal relating to student’s discrimination claim against school district.

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Shirvanyan v. Los Angeles Community College Dist. (2020) 59 Cal.App.5th 82

Court of Appeal reverses adverse jury verdict for lack of substantial evidence, clarifying plaintiffs’ burden of proof on FEHA interactive process claims.

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B.Q. v. Dekok (9th Cir. 2020) 825 Fed.Appx. 533

Ninth Circuit affirms qualified immunity for teacher sued by student for violation of the Establishment Clause.

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Speaking and Involvement

Getting it Right: Best Practices In Responding To Government Claims; California League of Cities Conference
Supreme Court Update and Amicus Brief Practice Seminar; County Counsels’ Association of California
Attracting Attention: How To Write Effective Petitions For Review & Amicus Briefs; Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles Online Panel MCLE
Be A Good Friend — A Guide To Amicus Briefs In Trial and Appellate Courts; International Municipal Lawyers Association annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Getting Younger — A Guide To Abstention, Rooker-Feldman, And Other Defenses To Federal Civil Rights Actions That We All Learned In Law School, But May Have Forgotten; International Municipal Lawyers Association Mid-Year Seminar
Reptiles, Picassos & Stealth Bombers: Tips for combatting plaintiffs’ Reptile Theory & other aggressive efforts to inflate non-economic tort damages; International Municipal Lawyers Association annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia

Professional Associations

Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA), Board of Governors, Co-Chair Amicus Briefs Subcommittee
International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA)
Defense Research Institute (DRI)
Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA)
Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL)