Daniel M. Kolkey

Daniel M. Kolkey

Partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Daniel M. Kolkey is a partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  A member of the Litigation Department, he is co-chair of the Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Group.  Mr. Kolkey returned to the firm in November 2003 after five years as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, in Sacramento. 

Recognized in 2005 and 2007 by California Lawyermagazine as an Attorney of the Year in the fields of Government/Public Policy and Appellate law, respectively, and ranked in the first tier for California Appellate Litigation by Chambers USA in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, Mr. Kolkey's practice focuses on appellate litigation.  He has also advised four different governors on legal issues, and served as Governor Pete Wilson’s and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's lead negotiator for tribal-state compacts under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.  He was named in 2004, 2005, and 2006 by the Daily Journal as one of the top 100 attorneys in California.  And in May 2010, he was appointed by the California Chief Justice to the California Judicial Council’s Appellate Advisory Committee for a three-year term. 

Prior to being appointed as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal, Mr. Kolkey served as Legal Affairs Secretary and counsel to Governor Pete Wilson for four years. As such, he was responsible for all of the legal advice within the Governor's Office; approving all state agency appeals; supervising and directing litigation strategy with respect to lawsuits brought against the Governor in his official capacity; drafting the Governor's civil justice reform legislation; and negotiating tribal-state compacts under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Before serving Governor Wilson, Mr. Kolkey was a partner at Gibson Dunn, where he handled litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, including commercial disputes, political law litigation, and international arbitration.

As a litigator (before and after his government service from 1995 to 2003), Mr. Kolkey has handled class and shareholder actions; construction, real estate, employment, and contract disputes; unfair competition litigation; and political law litigation, including ballot litigation, Voting Rights Act claims, and redistricting matters.

  • J.D., Harvard University 1977
  • B.A., Stanford University 1974


A person listed as a contributor has spoken or otherwise participated in Federalist Society events, publications, or multimedia presentations. A person's appearance on this list does not imply any other endorsement or relationship between the person and the Federalist Society. In most cases, the biographical information on a person's "contributor" page is provided directly by the person, and the Federalist Society does not edit or otherwise endorse that information. The Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues. All expressions of opinion by a contributor are those of the contributor.