Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy

Speaker Bio

Nanci E. Nishimura is a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, where she handles complex civil litigation focusing on antitrust and business litigation–including representing municipalities whose investments of public funds have been defrauded by unscrupulous financial institutions–and businesses, non-profits and individuals involved in commercial disputes, or defending those we believe have been wrongly sued. Nanci is responsible for litigation in state and federal courts across the country, including mediation, and community-based pro bono work. In 2019, she was named for the second time as one of the Top 100 Women Lawyers in California. Nishimura was named one of fifty Top Women Lawyers in California for 2020.  This is the third time she has been honored as a leading woman lawyer in the State.

Professional Commissions and Committees

Nanci serves on the California Commission on Judicial Performance, where in March 2018, she was the first woman non-judge to be elected as Chair, and completed her second term as chair in March 2020. She was first appointed to the 11-member commission in 2011 by then-Governor Jerry Brown. Among her responsibilities on the Commission, she chairs the Education Committee, an outreach program to teach how the Commission serves to protect the public from judicial misconduct.

In December 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Nanci to the California Uniform Law Commission, where she serves on the Supply Chain Transparency study committee to explore nationwide regulations on coercive labor practices in America, including human trafficking, forced labor, and modern slavery in manufacturing industries. She has served on U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer's Judicial Appointments Committee for the Northern District of California, and the State Bar Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission.

Professional Associations

Nanci is a member of the San Mateo County Bar Association, Consumer Attorneys of California, Association of Trial Lawyers of California, Asian American Bar Association, and the American Bar Foundation. She is a Life Member, former Governor (District 3) and first Vice President of the California Women Lawyers, and past member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the LACBA Litigation Section Trial Practice Inn of Court.

Various Cases

Nanci's experience in civil and criminal appellate litigation includes First and Fourth Amendment and civil rights. She wrote the briefs on the merits and appeared before the United States Supreme Court in the precedent-setting privacy case Hanlon v. Berger, 526 U.S. 808 (1999), and co-authored, “An Invasion of Privacy: The Media's Involvement in Law Enforcement Activities,” 18 Loy. L.A. Ent. L.J. 313 (1999). Published cases, among others, include Berger v. CNN Inc., 188 F.3d 1155 (9th Cir. 1999); Ayeni v. Mottola, 35 F.3d 680 (2d Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 514 US 1062 (1995), aff'g Ayeni v. CBS Inc., 848 F. Supp. 362 (E.D.N.Y. 1994); Brunette v. Humane Society of Ventura County, 294 F.3d 1205 (9th Cir. 2002); Aquila, Inc. v. Superior Court, 148 Cal. App. 4th 556 (2007); Regents of University of California v. Superior Court, 165 Cal. App. 4th 672 (2008); In re LIBOR – Based Fin. Instruments Litigation, 27 F. Supp. 3d 447 (S.D.N.Y., June 23, 2014); and In re Ambac Bond Insurance Cases, 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1230 (Cal. App. 1st Dist., February 18, 2016).

Community Activities

For more than 20 years, Nanci has served on the Board of Trustees of the California Science Center Foundation, a state agency which promotes STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math), and is a board member of The MUSES of the California Science Center Foundation (past-president), which raises scholarship funds and hosts the annual State Science Fair. She is a Commissioner of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (appointed by then-Mayor Edwin Lee), and on the Board of Trustees of the Asian Art Museum Foundation, where she chairs the Education Committee (to promote education and integration of pan-Asian art and culture in California) and serves on the Ethics, Transformation Project, and Executive Committees. She Co-Chairs the Leaders Forum, a non-profit, non-partisan network of thought leaders and strategic partners in government and private industry modeled from the White House Commission on Asian American Pacific Islanders. She is active in Fund Her, to promote women in state legislatures, the San Mateo Rotary Club, and other community-based non-profits. She created Storytime with Argyle and Abby Rabbit, where children interact with live bunnies in costumes and learn to love reading, respect animals, and build self-esteem.


Nanci received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern California, and completed her undergraduate studies at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. She received a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Southern California and completed her graduate studies at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. She received her J.D. from The Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. While in the nation's capital, she worked at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and served on the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs as a Legislative Aide to Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.

Prior to law school, Nanci had a career in the United States and Japan as a business development and marketing consultant to major corporations, building products manufacturers, and urban developers and architects.