Kathy Kizer, Ph.D.

Associate
  • 415.625.1733

Kathy Kizer is an associate with SL Environmental Law Group and focuses her practice on complex environmental litigation representing public entities and water utilities.

Prior to joining the firm in 2015, Kathy’s clients ranged from Fortune 500 companies to public entities such as the City of Oakland, the San Francisco Unified School District, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the California Insurance Commissioner. She has counseled clients on a broad range of contentious disputes including lawsuits alleging fraud, unfair competition, breach of fiduciary duty, and conversion, and cases raising novel questions of law. She has represented plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts across the country.

In 2008 and 2009, Kathy served as second chair in a six-month trial in which she represented the California Insurance Commissioner as plaintiff in a fraud case against the directors and officers of an insolvent insurance company. The trial involved dozens of witnesses, including five expert witnesses for plaintiff, and required analysis of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. Kathy actively participated in all aspects of the case from inception to trial, including taking dozens of percipient witness depositions and preparing and defending depositions of expert witnesses in underwriting, reinsurance, actuarial science, corporate fiduciary duties and accounting. The case settled after the trial on terms favorable to Kathy’s client, including an eight-figure payment. Her experience also includes advising the San Francisco Unified School District in a complex bond finance dispute that was resolved favorably for the District. From 2009 to 2015, she represented several banks participating in a syndicated loan facility to a company importing household goods from China that converted more than $200 million in a complex fraud scheme involving falsified trade documents. Kathy helped uncover and document the details of the fraudulent scheme, which resulted in federal prosecution and criminal plea bargains by the perpetrators. More recently, Kathy helped prosecute a case raising issues of first impression related to federal regulation of medical marijuana businesses operating under California law and regulated by the City of Oakland. Kathy was a key contributor to the legal analysis and briefing, including in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kathy received an A.B. in English from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in English from Emory University. After discovering that her research and writing skills made her well-suited for a career in the law, Kathy attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law where she served as the Executive Production Editor for The Hastings Law Journal and received Witkin and CALI Awards for Legal Research & Writing before receiving her law degree in 2006. She has published legal articles on a variety of topics from preemption to punitive damages.

Kathy is an avid cyclist, having completed many 100-mile rides for charity, and a member of the Manatees Aquatic Masters Swim Team, for which she also serves on the board of directors. Before attending law school, she completed Ironman Coeur D’Alene, finishing in under 13 hours despite unprecedented 95 degree heat.