Carol Sherman Zaist


Carol Zaist is the firm’s General Counsel, Pro Bono Chair, and a partner in the Newport Beach office. Carol’s practice focuses on business litigation, construction disputes, real estate litigation, and trust litigation. Carol has significant experience advising clients in contract disputes, business and property torts, and trademark and trade secret disputes in both federal and state jurisdictions, as well as internationally.

Carol also has substantial experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants. Her work for plaintiffs has resulted in several multi-million dollar awards and judgments; her defense work has resulted in summary judgments, defense verdicts and creative settlements. Carol also has considerable experience in alternative dispute resolution and appellate work.

Representative matters include:
• Representing a wealthy family trust in a lengthy trial resulting in a $9.4 million judgment against a public entity.  
• Working with the arbitrator and all parties to create and implement a novel procedural structure to further the parties’ settlement goals.  
• Defending several residential homebuilders in putative class actions for alleged copper pipe leaks.
• Representing trustees of family trusts to administer the trust, and resolve the business and family challenges, which unfortunately often follow the death of a parent.
• Carol scours clients’ insurance policies, to maximize coverage for clients’ claims and defenses.  

Carol believes in being proactive and strategic. She serves as a counselor of law, helping clients navigate the legal system, towards the client’s own definition of success. 

Carol has served as strategic counsel, advising clients on the impact of multiple litigation matters in different jurisdictions, and integrating strategy and tasks efficiently and cohesively. In these situations, Carol will work with the clients to communicate larger strategic goals to local counsel in other jurisdictions for implementation.

Carol also has aided out-of-jurisdiction clients, facing business litigation proceedings in California.  She works with distant clients, and coordinates with their in-house and outside counsel in different states, to create and implement proactive strategies consistent with the clients’ corporate cultures and business goals.  

She serves as the Pro Bono Chair, handling pro bono matters and helping the firm’s attorneys find fulfilling ways to serve our community. 

She also is fluent in French, and proficient in sign language.

Speaking Engagements
• Panelist, OCBA Corporate Counsel Section Meeting, Renegotiating Our Role: How In-House and Outside Counsel Can Partner to Achieve Greater Value for the Business, 2016

Awards and Honors
• Selected to the Southern California Super Lawyers list, 2015-2018
• Selected to the Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Star list, 2006-2014
• Selected to the Orange County Best Lawyers list, Commercial Litigation, 2016-2018
• Selected to the Top Women Attorneys in Southern California, 2016-17

• University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall), J.D., 1999
• Scripps College, of the Claremont Colleges, B.A., 1996; magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa 

Bar Information
• California, 1999
• United States District Court, Northern District of California
• United States District Court, Central District of California
• United States District Court, Southern  District of California

Professional Affiliations
• Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Board Member
• Public Law Center, Board Member
• Orange County Women Lawyers’ Association
• Women Business Advocate Roundtable
• Orange County Bar Association
• California Women Lawyers’ Association