Gopi K. Panchapakesan’s practice focuses on the litigation and arbitration of complex business disputes.

Excelling in advising businesses and individuals facing their most significant legal challenges, Gopi is particularly adept in handling quasi-criminal matters and class actions. Gopi has handled some of the most significant civil RICO litigation on the West Coast in the past decade.  He has also successfully litigated complex disputes regarding joint development agreements and is at the forefront of navigating novel legal issues facing direct selling and multi-level marketing companies. Gopi has procured multiple early dismissals and settlements for his clients, yet still has the experience to take cases to trial when the situation demands it, having served as first-chair or second-chair in several trials.

Companies, both publicly-traded and privately-held, and leading executives entrust Gopi’s steady hand and calm guidance to efficiently resolve their complex civil and white collar matters early on in cases. His clients come from various industries, including e-commerce, consumer products, energy, apparel, biomedical/pharmaceutical, real estate, and payment processing. These clients include global, publicly-traded companies like Shopify and Herbalife.

Gopi’s extensive litigation experience includes not only complex civil disputes, but also several high-impact white collar matters. He has achieved significant pre-indictment resolutions to avoid criminal charges––particularly in connection with environmental offenses. In the summer of 2020, Gopi successfully resolved an investigation brought by the California Attorney General against a major oil pipeline operator regarding a large oil spill in Ventura County. The settlement was documented by the Los Angeles Times in a July 2020 article. In September 2021, less than three weeks into the three-month prosecution by DOJ in the District of Arizona attempting to hold the former owners of Backpage.com criminally responsible for the publication of content on its website, Gopi and the Bird Marella team secured a mistrial. The case involves significant First Amendment and Communications Decency Act issues that may affect the technology and publishing industries going forward, as courts assess the potential liability of internet platform providers.

Gopi has demonstrated significant thought leadership and has served in prominent roles within the legal community. He has presented numerous webinars dealing with class actions, data privacy law, and quasi-criminal civil litigation. He has also published multiple articles in Law360 and the National Law Journal regarding civil RICO practice and arbitration trends, most recently publishing the widely read article, “3 Ways Defendants Can Nip Civil RICO Claims in the Bud.”

Gopi served as the Co-President of the Southern California Chapter of the South Asian Bar Association for the 2020-2021 term. He is now a Fellow with SABA’s national Leadership Institute and previously served as a Fellow with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Leadership Advancement Program in 2019.

Education

  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 2011
  • Northwestern University, B.A., 2006

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, South Asian Bar Association Leadership Institute, 2022

  • Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), 2022

  • Co-President, South Asian Bar Association of Southern California, 2020-2021

  • Fellow, Leadership Advancement Program, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, 2019

  • Southern California Rising Stars, Los Angeles Magazine, 2018-present

Representative Cases

  • Won mistrial less than three weeks into a three-month federal prosecution in relation to Backpage.com in a case involving litigation of significant First Amendment and Communications Decency Act issues, the resolution of which are likely to have a significant effect on websites, social media platforms, and publishing companies going forward.

  • Defending publicly traded nutritional product company in civil RICO and unfair business practices class action.

  • First-chaired arbitration involving complex breach of contract claims asserted against client, an apparel company, securing over $1 million in offsets for client.

  • Represented publicly traded e-commerce company, successfully securing early dismissals in multiple cases.

  • Represented large Taiwanese conglomerate and other lead defendants in a 34-defendant civil RICO and alter ego action. Plaintiff sought over $80 million in trebled RICO damages. After winning key motions on the eve of trial, the case was successfully resolved for a nominal amount.

  • Represented major pipeline and renewable energy company in various compliance matters involving state and local government authorities.

  • Representing apparel company in its pursuit of contractual and fraudulent transfer claims against a former customer.

  • Obtained final approval of a class action settlement on behalf of a publicly traded nutritional product company, defeating objections made by several class members.

  • Represented a publicly traded company through final arbitration hearing in a multi-million dollar accounting malpractice case.

  • Represented global biomedical company in international arbitration.

  • Successfully defeated motion to compel arbitration on behalf of Labor Commissioner of the State of California.

  • Successfully settled several cases involving complex vendor and customer disputes on behalf of global supplier of consumer products.

  • Settled case brought by the government under the Federal Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act for less than one-sixth of the damages initially demanded by the government.

  • Settled action brought against a big-box retailer by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, in which the government alleged the retailer sold products in violation of air quality standards.

  • Defeated class certification on behalf of large retail bookseller in a wage and hour class action.

  • Successfully represented several families (pro bono) who were living in dilapidated housing on skid row in Los Angeles. Procured a $750,000 settlement on behalf of the tenants in a partnership with the Inner City Law Center.

Affiliations

  • Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), 2022
  • Fellow, South Asian Bar Association Leadership Institute, 2022
  • Co-President, South Asian Bar Association of Southern California, 2020-2021
  • Member, Board of Directors, Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League, 2016 – 2019

Recent News & Events

  • Gopi Panchapakesan Named as Fellow in 2022 South Asian Bar Association Leadership Institute

    Principal Gopi K. Panchapakesan has been selected to join the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) 2022 Fellowship Class of the SABA Leadership Institute.   Previously serving as Co-President of SABA’s Southern California chapter, Gopi is one of sixteen Fellows chosen for the highly competitive leadership program. The Institute offers an innovative leadership program designed to advance the ...

  • Bird Marella Secures Mistrial in Defense of Backpage.com Executive

    In an abrupt end to a trial expected to last three months, Bird Marella won a mistrial in the highly-publicized Backpage.com federal jury trial. On September 14, 2021, U.S. District Judge Brnovich granted the defense motion that the prosecutors had presented irrelevant and inflammatory testimony in violation of her prior ...

  • Paul Chan and Gopi Panchapakesan to Present ACC Webinar on Litigating Quasi-Criminal Civil Claims

    Principals Paul Chan and Gopi Panchapakesan will be panelists in the upcoming MCLE webinar, “When Civil Cases (Almost) Go Criminal – Litigating Quasi-Criminal Civil Claims,” on June 29 at 11:00 am PST.   Hosted by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), Chan and Panchapakesan will be joined by Andrea Phillips, Chief Counsel of Litigation & Employment – Americas at Rolls Royce. The panel ...

  • Multiple Bird Marella Attorneys Named 2021 Southern California Rising Stars

    Attorneys Julia Cherlow, Gopi Panchapakesan, Ray Seilie, and Fanxi Wang have been selected for inclusion in the 2021 Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. All four attorneys have been recognized consecutively as a “Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney” in Southern California.  Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of ...

  • Nicole Rodriguez Van Dyk and Gopi K. Panchapakesan to Present Webinar on Recent Trends in Data Privacy Law

    Principals Nicole Rodriguez Van Dyk and Gopi K. Panchapakesan will be featured panelists in the upcoming webinar presentation, “Recent Trends in Data Privacy Law,” co-hosted by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and Bird Marella. Van Dyk and Panchapakesan will be joined by Shopify’s Associate General Counsel and Data Privacy Officer, Vivek Narayanadas, and Northrop Grumman’s Corporate Counsel, Kimberley ...

  • Gopi Panchapakesan to Present SABA Webinar on Class Action Litigation

    Principal Gopi K. Panchapakesan will be a featured panelist in the upcoming webinar presentation, “Recent Trends in Class Action Practice: Perspectives from Both Sides of the V,” hosted by the South Asian Bar Association of North America and the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC). Gopi, who currently ...

  • Five Bird Marella Attorneys Selected by Super Lawyers as 2020 Rising Stars

    Bird Marella attorneys Gopi Panchapakesan, Naeun Rim, Julia Cherlow, Ray Seilie, and Fanxi Wang have been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list for 2020. This marks the fourth consecutive year of selection for Cherlow, third consecutive year for Panchapakesan and Wang, and the second consecutive year ...

  • Bird Marella Elevates Gopi Panchapakesan to Principal

    Bird Marella is proud to announce the elevation of Gopi K. Panchapakesan to principal, effective January 1, 2020. Since joining the firm as an associate in 2014, Panchapakesan has established a successful practice focused on the litigation and arbitration of complex business disputes. He has particular expertise defending clients in civil ...

  • Paul Chan and Gopi Panchapakesan Analyze Recent Supreme Court Decisions Regarding Arbitration

    Managing Principal Paul Chan and associate Gopi Panchapakesan co-authored the article, “The Changing Scope of Arbitrability and Appealability.” Published by the National Law Journal, the article highlights the Supreme Court’s decisions in Henry Schein v. Archer & White Sales and Lamps Plus v. Varela. Chan and Panchapakesan comment on what those decisions ...

Other News & Events

  • Panelist, “When Civil Cases (Almost) Go Criminal – Litigating Quasi-Criminal Civil Claims,” Association of Corporate Counsel, June 2021
  • Panelist, “Recent Trends in Data Privacy Law,” Association of Corporate Counsel, January 2021
  • Panelist, “Recent Trends in Class Action Practice: Perspectives from Both Sides of the V,” South Asian Bar Association of North America, October 2020

Publications

Gopi K. Panchapakesan’s practice focuses on the litigation and arbitration of complex business disputes.

Excelling in advising businesses and individuals facing their most significant legal challenges, Gopi is particularly adept in handling quasi-criminal matters and class actions. Gopi has handled some of the most significant civil RICO litigation on the West Coast in the past decade.  He has also successfully litigated complex disputes regarding joint development agreements and is at the forefront of navigating novel legal issues facing direct selling and multi-level marketing companies. Gopi has procured multiple early dismissals and settlements for his clients, yet still has the experience to take cases to trial when the situation demands it, having served as first-chair or second-chair in several trials.

Companies, both publicly-traded and privately-held, and leading executives entrust Gopi’s steady hand and calm guidance to efficiently resolve their complex civil and white collar matters early on in cases. His clients come from various industries, including e-commerce, consumer products, energy, apparel, biomedical/pharmaceutical, real estate, and payment processing. These clients include global, publicly-traded companies like Shopify and Herbalife.

Gopi’s extensive litigation experience includes not only complex civil disputes, but also several high-impact white collar matters. He has achieved significant pre-indictment resolutions to avoid criminal charges––particularly in connection with environmental offenses. In the summer of 2020, Gopi successfully resolved an investigation brought by the California Attorney General against a major oil pipeline operator regarding a large oil spill in Ventura County. The settlement was documented by the Los Angeles Times in a July 2020 article. In September 2021, less than three weeks into the three-month prosecution by DOJ in the District of Arizona attempting to hold the former owners of Backpage.com criminally responsible for the publication of content on its website, Gopi and the Bird Marella team secured a mistrial. The case involves significant First Amendment and Communications Decency Act issues that may affect the technology and publishing industries going forward, as courts assess the potential liability of internet platform providers.

Gopi has demonstrated significant thought leadership and has served in prominent roles within the legal community. He has presented numerous webinars dealing with class actions, data privacy law, and quasi-criminal civil litigation. He has also published multiple articles in Law360 and the National Law Journal regarding civil RICO practice and arbitration trends, most recently publishing the widely read article, “3 Ways Defendants Can Nip Civil RICO Claims in the Bud.”

Gopi served as the Co-President of the Southern California Chapter of the South Asian Bar Association for the 2020-2021 term. He is now a Fellow with SABA’s national Leadership Institute and previously served as a Fellow with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Leadership Advancement Program in 2019.

Representative Cases

  • Won mistrial less than three weeks into a three-month federal prosecution in relation to Backpage.com in a case involving litigation of significant First Amendment and Communications Decency Act issues, the resolution of which are likely to have a significant effect on websites, social media platforms, and publishing companies going forward.

  • Defending publicly traded nutritional product company in civil RICO and unfair business practices class action.

  • First-chaired arbitration involving complex breach of contract claims asserted against client, an apparel company, securing over $1 million in offsets for client.

  • Represented publicly traded e-commerce company, successfully securing early dismissals in multiple cases.

  • Represented large Taiwanese conglomerate and other lead defendants in a 34-defendant civil RICO and alter ego action. Plaintiff sought over $80 million in trebled RICO damages. After winning key motions on the eve of trial, the case was successfully resolved for a nominal amount.

  • Represented major pipeline and renewable energy company in various compliance matters involving state and local government authorities.

  • Representing apparel company in its pursuit of contractual and fraudulent transfer claims against a former customer.

  • Obtained final approval of a class action settlement on behalf of a publicly traded nutritional product company, defeating objections made by several class members.

  • Represented a publicly traded company through final arbitration hearing in a multi-million dollar accounting malpractice case.

  • Represented global biomedical company in international arbitration.

  • Successfully defeated motion to compel arbitration on behalf of Labor Commissioner of the State of California.

  • Successfully settled several cases involving complex vendor and customer disputes on behalf of global supplier of consumer products.

  • Settled case brought by the government under the Federal Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act for less than one-sixth of the damages initially demanded by the government.

  • Settled action brought against a big-box retailer by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, in which the government alleged the retailer sold products in violation of air quality standards.

  • Defeated class certification on behalf of large retail bookseller in a wage and hour class action.

  • Successfully represented several families (pro bono) who were living in dilapidated housing on skid row in Los Angeles. Procured a $750,000 settlement on behalf of the tenants in a partnership with the Inner City Law Center.

Affiliations

  • Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), 2022
  • Fellow, South Asian Bar Association Leadership Institute, 2022
  • Co-President, South Asian Bar Association of Southern California, 2020-2021
  • Member, Board of Directors, Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League, 2016 – 2019

News & Events

Gopi Panchapakesan Named as Fellow in 2022 South Asian Bar Association Leadership Institute

Principal Gopi K. Panchapakesan has been selected to join the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) 2022 Fellowship Class of the SABA Leadership Institute.   Previously serving as Co-President of SABA’s Southern California chapter, Gopi is one of sixteen Fellows chosen for the highly competitive leadership program. The Institute offers an innovative leadership program designed to advance the ...

Bird Marella Secures Mistrial in Defense of Backpage.com Executive

In an abrupt end to a trial expected to last three months, Bird Marella won a mistrial in the highly-publicized Backpage.com federal jury trial. On September 14, 2021, U.S. District Judge Brnovich granted the defense motion that the prosecutors had presented irrelevant and inflammatory testimony in violation of her prior ...

Paul Chan and Gopi Panchapakesan to Present ACC Webinar on Litigating Quasi-Criminal Civil Claims

Principals Paul Chan and Gopi Panchapakesan will be panelists in the upcoming MCLE webinar, “When Civil Cases (Almost) Go Criminal – Litigating Quasi-Criminal Civil Claims,” on June 29 at 11:00 am PST.   Hosted by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), Chan and Panchapakesan will be joined by Andrea Phillips, Chief Counsel of Litigation & Employment – Americas at Rolls Royce. The panel ...

Multiple Bird Marella Attorneys Named 2021 Southern California Rising Stars

Attorneys Julia Cherlow, Gopi Panchapakesan, Ray Seilie, and Fanxi Wang have been selected for inclusion in the 2021 Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. All four attorneys have been recognized consecutively as a “Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney” in Southern California.  Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of ...

Nicole Rodriguez Van Dyk and Gopi K. Panchapakesan to Present Webinar on Recent Trends in Data Privacy Law

Principals Nicole Rodriguez Van Dyk and Gopi K. Panchapakesan will be featured panelists in the upcoming webinar presentation, “Recent Trends in Data Privacy Law,” co-hosted by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and Bird Marella. Van Dyk and Panchapakesan will be joined by Shopify’s Associate General Counsel and Data Privacy Officer, Vivek Narayanadas, and Northrop Grumman’s Corporate Counsel, Kimberley ...

Gopi Panchapakesan to Present SABA Webinar on Class Action Litigation

Principal Gopi K. Panchapakesan will be a featured panelist in the upcoming webinar presentation, “Recent Trends in Class Action Practice: Perspectives from Both Sides of the V,” hosted by the South Asian Bar Association of North America and the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC). Gopi, who currently ...

Five Bird Marella Attorneys Selected by Super Lawyers as 2020 Rising Stars

Bird Marella attorneys Gopi Panchapakesan, Naeun Rim, Julia Cherlow, Ray Seilie, and Fanxi Wang have been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list for 2020. This marks the fourth consecutive year of selection for Cherlow, third consecutive year for Panchapakesan and Wang, and the second consecutive year ...

Bird Marella Elevates Gopi Panchapakesan to Principal

Bird Marella is proud to announce the elevation of Gopi K. Panchapakesan to principal, effective January 1, 2020. Since joining the firm as an associate in 2014, Panchapakesan has established a successful practice focused on the litigation and arbitration of complex business disputes. He has particular expertise defending clients in civil ...

Paul Chan and Gopi Panchapakesan Analyze Recent Supreme Court Decisions Regarding Arbitration

Managing Principal Paul Chan and associate Gopi Panchapakesan co-authored the article, “The Changing Scope of Arbitrability and Appealability.” Published by the National Law Journal, the article highlights the Supreme Court’s decisions in Henry Schein v. Archer & White Sales and Lamps Plus v. Varela. Chan and Panchapakesan comment on what those decisions ...

Other News & Events

  • Panelist, “When Civil Cases (Almost) Go Criminal – Litigating Quasi-Criminal Civil Claims,” Association of Corporate Counsel, June 2021
  • Panelist, “Recent Trends in Data Privacy Law,” Association of Corporate Counsel, January 2021
  • Panelist, “Recent Trends in Class Action Practice: Perspectives from Both Sides of the V,” South Asian Bar Association of North America, October 2020

Publications