FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Joel Zeldin

Shartsis Friese LLP

San Francisco, CA, USA


Mr. Zeldin is a litigator with extensive experience in trials and other court proceedings, arbitrations, and mediations. He specializes in general business litigation, including contract disputes, real estate-related matters, business torts, corporate and partnership governance and dissolution matters, and the representation of lawyers in all professional and business contexts. He has extensive experience in both state and federal courts, at the trial and appellate levels. He was chosen as a "Super Lawyer" in Business Litigation by the Northern California Super Lawyer magazine and as one of The Best Lawyers in America in Commercial Litigation and Bet-The-Company Litigation by that publication.

Mr. Zeldin has handled nearly every type of real estate litigation matter, especially contract disputes. He has represented title insurance companies in major suits alleging escrow negligence, breach of a title policy, and real estate fraud. He has resolved numerous disputes through transactional solutions involving the sale or lease of real property.

A significant portion of Mr. Zeldin's practice includes the representation of lawyers in malpractice, fraud, and securities cases, the dissolution of and disengagement from law practices, and extrication from failed investments. He has also defended lawyers in sanctions proceedings and in disciplinary proceedings before the State Bar.

Mr. Zeldin has litigated many matters involving corporate or partnership governance. He has recently litigated two disengagements of adverse second generation family members from successful family real estate empires. He turned the defense of a dispute between venture capitalists into a multi-million dollar judgment against the plaintiff who initiated the action. He has also defended class actions and derivative suits.

Mr. Zeldin's clients have included entrepreneurial individuals, many small and medium-sized businesses, a number of publicly-traded companies, several public entities, and law firms of all sizes and specialties.

Mr. Zeldin's philosophy of litigation is: focus on the most effective way to achieve the clients' objectives in the shortest possible time. Be as imaginative, creative and aggressive as the facts and law allow. Do the very best for every client.

Mr. Zeldin taught a trial practice-type class and a class on alternative dispute resolution at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley over a 20-year period. He has authored and co-authored extensive teaching materials on litigation strategies and techniques as well as administrative and public interest law. He has lectured for Continuing Education of the Bar and the Federal Practices Institute for many years on civil procedure, evidence, and federal practices. He has conducted seminars and given guest lectures for various law school and continuing education programs on settlement strategies and techniques. His recent speaking engagements include presentations on:

  • "Qualcomm Resolved: By the Lawyers Who Ended A Lawyer's Worst Nightmare" to the Association of Business Trial Lawyers;
  • "Litigation in a Joint Venture Context" for Law Seminar International for the Real Estate Joint Ventures Funds Conference;
  • "Improving Mediation and Arbitration" to Judicial Arbitration and Mediation (JAMS)/Endispute;
  • "Zen and the Art of Representing Lawyers When A Conflict With Their Client Emerges in Ongoing Litigation" to MPC Claims Committee Symposium;
  • "Using the Deposition at Trial" for Practicing Law Institute (PLI).

His publications include an article on Choosing Between Federal and State Court (ABTL Report, Vol. 2, No. 1, November 1992), and The Ten Commandments for Avoiding a Fraudulent Real Estate Transaction (California Land Title Association Claims Awareness Hot Sheet, Vol. 10, No. 3, June 1999; republished in April 2006 in Click San Diego Real Estate). Mr. Zeldin is a member of the American Bar Association, Bar Association of San Francisco   and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers of Northern California, and has served as a Judge Pro Tem in the San Francisco Superior Court's Early Settlement Program.

Mr. Zeldin received a B.S. degree with honors in Business-Economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1968 and a J.D. degree (Order of the Coif) from the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, in 1971. He clerked for Chief Justice Donald R. Wright of the California Supreme Court in 1971-72. In 1972-73 he did test case litigation in Washington, D.C. as a Ford Foundation Fellow affiliated with the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center, from which he received an L.L.M. degree. He has been in private practice since 1973.


  • Business Litigation
  • Contract Disputes
  • Real Estate Disputes & Transactions
  • Employment Law
  • Securities & Business Entity Issues
  • Representation of Public Entities
  • Class Actions
  • Professional Liability for Lawyers

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