Partner Emeritus

Robert A. Olson



More than 30 years ago Bob Olson found his passion and calling for appellate law.  It started with a clerkship with Hon. Anthony Kennedy, then on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after graduating Order of the Coif from Stanford Law School.  He eventually found his way to GMSR where he has practiced for more than three decades.

Bob is a leader of the appellate bar, a past president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a past president of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel (and a member of its Hall of Fame).  He has been a California Lawyer of the Year and recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America®.  He has represented individuals, companies, insurers and public entities in the California Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the California Courts of Appeal.  He also actively collaborates with local counsel on cases before several state Supreme Courts.

Bob has a breadth of experience, which helps in placing difficult cases in a context that will enhance the likelihood of success.  He has particular expertise, and successful appellate outcomes, in matters of insurance coverage and bad faith, tort liability, contract—including entertainment contract—claims, anti-SLAPP and defamation, family law, trusts, and arbitration.

High-Impact Wins


Sterling v. Sterling (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 185

Affirming sale of Los Angeles Clippers

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Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., LLC (2015) 61 Cal.4th 899

Determining that standard arbitration clause is not unconscionable

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Farmers Insurance Exchange v. Superior Court (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 1199

Writ petition establishing critical insurance doctrine.

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Celador Internat., Inc. v. American Broadcasting Cos., Inc. (9th Cir. 2012) 499 Fed.Appx. 721

$300 million “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” verdict against Disney affirmed

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Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc. (2011) 52 Cal.4th 541 (amicus)

Critical amicus involvement in limiting medical damage claims

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Ladd v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 1298

Obtained groundbreaking royalties for film producer

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Speaking and Involvement

The Year in Review: A Summary of Recent Cases, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel (1996 to Present)
"What makes a PAGA Penalty?" Daily Journal Podcast, audio interview available via SoundCloud
"The Bermuda Triangle of Coverage Issues," 2017 CLM New York Conference
"Going Postal--The Coverage and Insurance Guide for Religious and Non-Profit Organizations," 2017 CLM Midwest Conference
"Tort & Civil Procedure Appellate Update – Important 2016 Cases for Your Practice," South Bay Bar Association
"Best Practices When Dealing with Reptiles" and "Legal Writing in the Electronic Age," Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC) Annual Winter Meeting
"How to Use Amicus Support Effectively," Beverly Hills Bar Association
"Howell v. Hamilton Meats: What it Means, How to Take Advantage of it & What’s Left," Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
"About Face! Howell Reverses Direction in the Supreme Court," Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada
"Update on Insurance Issues," Lorman Education Services, Costa Mesa
"Winning Strategies Using Legislative Intent," State Bar of California Annual Meeting
"Appellate Practice in the 2nd District Court of Appeal," Bar Association of San Franscisco's Appellate Courts Committee, San Francisco
Adjunct Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (appellate advocacy)

Professional Associations

The Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Chair, Appellate Section
California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Past President
American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Fellow
California Judicial Council, Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee
Los Angeles County Bar Association, Appellate Courts Committee
Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, Past President
Association of Business and Trial Lawyers
Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
Defense Research Institute (DRI)
Beverly Hills Bar Association