Ethan D. Dettmer

Ethan Dettmer is a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s San Francisco office, and is a member of the firm's Litigation Department.

Mr. Dettmer's practice includes a wide variety of business-related disputes, including securities, corporate governance, professional malpractice, and transnational litigation. He has represented clients in high-profile constitutional litigation involving equal protection and due process claims, and cases involving First Amendment and preemtion questions. He also represents clients in connection with governmental investigations, and has conducted internal corporate investigations.

He is a member of the team representing Chevron Corporation in multiple venues against a conspiracy seeking to extort billions of dollars from Chevron based on fraudulent environmental claims and a sham Ecuadorian lawsuit, and was a member of the trial team in Chevron’s RICO suit against the co-conspirators. Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, 974 F.Supp.2d 362 (S.D.N.Y. 2014).
He was a member of the trial team that successfully challenged California’s Proposition 8 in federal court under the United States Constitution, vindicating marriage equality in California. Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F.Supp.2d 921 (N.D. Cal. 2010), aff'd sub nom. Perry v. Brown, 671 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2012), vacated and remanded, 133 S.Ct. 2652 (2013). He represented 65 current and former California legislators as amici curiae in the California Supreme Court in the earlier challenge to Proposition 8 under the California Constitution. Strauss v. Horton, 46 Cal.4th 364 (2009).
He successfully defended the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) in a case challenging FINRA’s member disciplinary system. Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. v. FINRA, 861 F.Supp.2d 1063 (N.D. Cal. 2012).
He convinced the Ninth Circuit to affirm the immunity of two arbitrators who had been sued by a party’s representative in an arbitration. Sacks v. Dietrich, 663 F.3d 1065 (9th Cir. 2011).
He was a member of the team that won summary judgment on behalf of The Williams Companies, Inc. and its former CEO in securities litigation seeking nearly $3 billion in damages in connection with the bankruptcy of Williams’ former telecommunications subsidiary. He was also one of the Gibson Dunn lawyers who subsequently defended that summary judgment victory on appeal. In re Williams Companies Securities Litigation, 558 F.3d 1130 (10th Cir. 2009); see 558 F.3d 1144 (10th Cir. 2009) (upholding, in the same case, what plaintiffs labeled “the highest costs award in the history of American jurisprudence” in favor of Williams and the other defendants).
He was a member of the Gibson Dunn team that won summary judgment on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in a significant case brought under the California False Claims Act, and successfully defended that victory in the California Supreme Court. Harris v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 39 Cal.4th 1220 (2006).

Mr. Dettmer is the hiring partner for Gibson Dunn’s San Francisco office and the chair of the firm-wide Associates Committee. He is also a member of the firm’s Hiring and Professional Development Committees. He was one of the founding co-chairs of the Bay Area Offices’ Pro Bono Committee, and has argued appeals and led successful trial teams on behalf of pro bono clients in state and federal court. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the firm’s Securities Litigation Practice Group, and a co-author of the firm’s treatise entitled “Securities Litigation: A Practitioner’s Guide” (published by PLI).

Mr. Dettmer is a member of the State Bars of California and Michigan, and is admitted to practice in various federal courts. He was a law clerk to the late Justice James H. Brickley of the Michigan Supreme Court before joining Gibson Dunn, and is an honors graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Dettmer was an admissions and financial aid officer at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges before attending law school.

Good to know

Areas of Practice 1) Appellate and Constitutional Law, 2) Class Actions, 3) Media, 4) Entertainment and Technology, 5) Securities Enforcement, 6) Securities Litigation and 7) Transnational Litigation
Law School The University of Michigan Law School, J.D. 1997
Admitted Year 1990
Education Harvard University, B. A., 1993
Bar Member / Association California State Bar Association, Michigan State Bar Association
Most recent firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
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