In this Second Episode of the Elawvate Podcast, we spend time with a trailblazer, Kalpana Srinivasan. Part of being a successful trial lawyer is consistently making the right decisions. While that is easier said than done, Kalpana has done that her whole career. After graduating from Stanford Law School and receiving offers from all of the "big" firms, Kalpana accepted a job at the then four lawyer Los Angeles office of Susman Godfrey. She did that because she was impressed with the attorneys at the firm from top to bottom and saw them as people who would give her the opportunities to thrive and succeed. And that she did. Kalpana tried cases all over the country and consistently won -- including a $700 million verdict in Texas. Kalpana helped the firm grow its Los Angeles office and helped recruit the best of the best -- which included a significant number of female attorneys and minority attorneys. She is well liked both inside and outside the office and has become a leader in all professional aspects of law. Kalpana discusses her path, her vision for equality and unity in the practice of law, and shares her methods of succeeding without sacrificing happiness.
Kalpana Srinivasan is a graduate of Yale University, Stanford Law School, a trial lawyer with a $700 million verdict, co-managing partner of the Houston based law firm Susman Godfrey, a woman, and a South Asian. Her unparalleled success has paved the way for other talented minorities and females to reach their full potential in the field of law, particularly as a trial lawyer. In this Episode, Kalpana talks about how far we have come as a profession in reaching our goals of equality and where she believes we need to go from here. Kalpana also discusses how she stays happy while balancing her life as a trial lawyer, a managing partner, a mother, and a wife.
What Will You Learn From Listening to this Episode?
Ms. Srinivasan tries high-stakes cases for plaintiffs and defendants in courtrooms across the country. Susman Godfrey’s co-managing partner and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, she has secured significant victories for her clients in trade secret, antitrust, patent, copyright, class action and other complex disputes.
Ms. Srinivasan’s recent representations include serving as lead trial counsel in an entertainment insurance coverage dispute; acting as Court-appointed co-lead counsel for a certified class of hundreds of millions of consumers impacted by anticompetitive conduct in mobile chipset sales; securing a court approved class action settlement for music copyright holders valued at over $100 million with music streaming service Spotify; and prosecuting telecommunications patents against the three major wireless carriers.
In a groundbreaking misappropriation of trade secret, fraud and breach of contract case, Ms. Srinivasan won a $706.2 million jury verdict for real estate analytics company, HouseCanary. Ms. Srinivasan also argued the appeal of the jury verdict in 2020. Read more on the HouseCanary trial – deemed by Benchmark Litigation to be an Impact Case of the Year – here, as featured in Lawdragon’s, “Revenge of the Hatchlings: How Susman Godfrey Won Almost a Billion Dollars for HouseCanary,” or in Law360‘s “How They Won It” series. Hear Ms. Srinivasan discuss this landmark case on The Great Trials Podcast.
Ms. Srinivasan has been described as an “engaging, exceptionally smart and approachable lawyer” by Chambers USA; deemed a Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar by Law360; and recognized by Benchmark Litigation as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, its California Intellectual Property Litigation Attorney of the Year, Plaintiff Attorney of the Year, Trial Lawyer of the Year in California and one of the Top 10 Women Litigators. The Legal 500, in its Tier 1 rankings, described her work at “the intersection of intellectual property and unfair competition, all while displaying strong know-how of the technology industry.” She was also featured in Lawdragon’s Plaintiff Issue.
“She’s incredibly brilliant, but also down to earth, relatable and personable…. [S]he has great courtroom presence and is developing the trust of judges, which is critical to success,” says IAM Patent 1000, in its 2020 ranking of Ms. Srinivasan. Ms. Srinivasan has also been deemed one of the leading 500 lawyers in America by Lawdragon and a Winning Litigator by the National Law Journal (ALM). Law360 has called Ms. Srinivasan an Intellectual Property MVP and the National Law Journal (ALM) recognized her as an Intellectual Property Trailblazer. Ms. Srinivasan has also been named a Power Lawyer by The Hollywood Reporter.
Ms. Srinivasan and her co-counsel received a California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) award for their work in Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., a copyright class action involving pre-1972 sound recordings. Ms. Srinivasan argued the appeal of the underlying issue to the 9th Circuit in 2021.
In California, Ms. Srinivasan also has been recognized as one of the state’s Top 100 Lawyers and repeatedly as one of its Top IP Lawyers and Top Women Lawyers by the Daily Journal. The Recorder has included her among the Women Leaders in Tech Law. She also been named a California Trailblazer by The Recorder (ALM).
Ms. Srinivasan is also a leader in her passionate support for diversity in the profession. She has received the Cornerstone Award from the South Asian Bar Association of North America and been recognized as a Trailblazer by The South Asian Bar Association of Southern California for her dedication to furthering the professional development of the South Asian legal community. The National Law Journal (ALM) has named Ms. Srinivasan an Elite Woman of the Plaintiff’s Bar and called Ms. Srinivasan one of the nation’s 75 Outstanding Women Lawyers.
Ms. Srinivasan’s many significant class action and intellectual property achievements helped secure Susman Godfrey’s recognition as Law360’sClass Action Group of the Year in 2018 and Intellectual Property Group of the Year in 2019.
Ms. Srinivasan previously served on the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission of the California State Bar, which vets the governor’s potential judicial candidates. She has taught a course on Class Actions at UCLA Law School. Ms. Srinivasan serves as vice-president for the Western Justice Center and has previously served on the executive committee of the South Asian Bar Association of North America. Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Srinivasan reported for The Associated Press in Washington D.C., covering national media and telecommunications policy. Read about her prior career in Super Lawyers’ 2017 profile, “From AP to IP” (Thomson Reuters).