Sarah Banola is a partner in the litigation department at Cooper, White & Cooper LLP’s San Francisco office. She concentrates her practice in the areas of regulatory law, employment law and professional responsibility. A significant portion of her regulatory practice includes representation of telecommunications companies in quasi-legislative, ratesetting, and adjudicatory matters at the California Public Utilities Commission as well as counseling public utilities regarding their regulatory compliance. Her employment law background includes defense of claims of discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, harassment and wage and hour violations. Ms. Banola also counsels clients on employee separations, severance agreements, classification of employees as exempt or non-exempt, disability, investigations of sexual harassment complaints, leave and accommodation issues, and personnel policies. She has represented employers in proceedings before the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, the Employment Development Department, the California Labor Commissioner, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and the National Labor Relations Board. Ms. Banola also represents lawyers and law firms in matters related to legal ethics, legal negligence, attorney-client fee disputes, professional discipline, State Bar admission, conflicts of interest, disqualification motions and law firm break-ups.
She earned her B.A. from Grinnell College in 1999 and her J.D. with honors in 2002 from Rutgers School of Law-Newark and was inducted into the Order of the Coif. While at Rutgers, Ms. Banola served as an Articles Editor for the Computer and Technology Law Journal and Vice Chair of the Public Interest Law Foundation. She also was the recipient of the second place award for the California Western Law Review Intellectual Property Writing Competition.
After law school, Ms. Banola served as a law clerk to the Honorable Louisa S. Porter, Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of California, and as a law clerk to the Honorable James J. Petrella, Presiding Judge of the Appellate Division for the Superior Court of New Jersey. Prior to joining Cooper in May 2007, Ms. Banola was a commercial litigation associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s Palo Alto office.
Ms. Banola is a member of the State Bar of California, the Bar Association of San Francisco, the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, the Conference of California Public Utility Counsel and Women in Public Utilities. She has been recommended and approved by the State Bar Board of Trustees to serve a four-year term beginning September 2019 on the State Bar of California’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC). She is the immediate past Chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Legal Ethics Committee and currently serves as its Legal Ethics Corner Editor. She served as a co-chair for the Queen’s Bench Amicus Briefs Committee in 2008. She is admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California and before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Selected Publications and Presentations
- Contributing Editor, Chin, Wiseman, Callahan and Exelrod, California Practice Guide: Employment Litigation (The Rutter Group, a division of West, a Thomson Reuters business, 2010-present) Ch. 2, Professional Responsibility
- Contributing Editor, Wiseman and Church Reese, California Practice Guide: California Claims and Defenses (The Rutter Group, a division of West, a Thomson Reuters business, 2012-present) Ch. 6.B, Legal Malpractice
- Speaker, Attorney Ethics Update: New and Proposed Rules and Key Opinions “National Business Institute, May 2019)
- Speaker, The Top 10 Ethics Rule Changes That May Affect Your Practice (Marin County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Brown Bag Series, March 2019)
- Speaker, I’m Just Here for the Ethics Credits: Discussing the New California Rules of Professional Conduct and the CPUC’s Rule 1.1 (Conference of California Public Utility Counsel and Women In Public Utilities, January 2019)
- Author, Ethical Walls Are Not a Panacea for Imputation of Conflicts Under New Ethics Rules (The Bar Association of San Francisco Bulletin, January 2019)
- Speaker, The Top 10 Ethics Rule Changes That May Affect Your Practice (The Bar Association of San Francisco, November 2018)
- Speaker, California’s New Rules of Professional Conduct: What You Need to Know (Marin County Women Lawyers, October 2018)
- Speaker, War and Peace (and Settlement): An Exploration of the CPUC Settlement Process (Conference of California Public Utility Counsel Young Utility Lawyers Committee, July 2018)
- Speaker, How to Use Ethics as a Sword and Shield (The Bar Association of San Francisco, January 2018)
- Speaker, Data Privacy for Lawyers (Marin County Women Lawyers, October 2016)
- Speaker, Privacy Best Practices for Lawyers: What Every Law Practice Needs to Know About Privacy Law (Law Offices of Diana Maier Lunchtime Legal Chat, January 2016)
- Author, Attorney-Client Billing Statements Are Protected By Attorney-Client Privilege Regardless of Whether They Contain Legal Opinions or Advice (The Bar Association of San Francisco Bulletin, July 2015)
- Speaker, Ethics in Social Media and Information Technology (Contra Costa County Bar Association 20th Annual MCLE Spectacular, November 2014)
- Author, Legal Malpractice Statute of Limitations Does Not Apply to Claims Based on Misappropriation of Funds (The Bar Association of San Francisco Bulletin, September 2014)
- Speaker, Human Resource Law: What You Need to Know Now, Workplace Behavior and Privacy Issues, (National Business Institute, May 2014)
- Speaker, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): Professional Responsibility Implications for Law Firms (The Bar Association of San Francisco Special Credits Festival, December 2013)
- Speaker, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) (Contra Costa Bar Association Law Practice Management Series, August 2013)
- Author, Ethical Guidelines for Practicing in a Virtual Law Office (Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine, May 2013)
- Speaker, Real Estate Closings from A to Z, Ethical Considerations (National Business Institute, November 2012)
- Speaker, Recent Developments for Professional Responsibility Lawyers (Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers Annual Meeting, August 2012)
- Author, Out-of-State Companies with California Employees Beware: Court Invalidates Non-California Choice of Law Provision in Independent Contractor Agreement (The Bar Association of San Francisco iCounsel Newsletter, May 2012)
- Speaker, Exempt or Nonexempt? How to Avoid the Misclassification Mistakes You Simply Can’t Afford To Make in California (Employer Resource Institute, May and August 2011)
- Author, Increased Importance of Teleglobe’s Guidance to In-House Counsel Representing Corporate Family Members After Akzo (Practising Law Institute, California MCLE Marathon 2010: Current Developments in Legal Ethics – Substance Abuse – Elimination of Bias in the Profession, December 2010)
- Co-Author, Ethical Issues In Licensing (Practicing Law Institute, Understanding the Intellectual Property License, December 2010)
- Author, California Appeals Court Approves of Screening for Conflicts in Private Law Firms Under Appropriate Circumstances (The Bar Association of San Francisco Bulletin, June 2010)
- Co-Author, Ethics Corner: What Does It Mean to Be a “Partner”? (MLRC MediaLawLetter, June 2010)