Kelly Woodruff has more than 30 years of experience handling significant appeals and writs in state and federal appellate courts.

Her practice spans nearly all subject areas, including commercial disputes, intellectual property, real estate, antitrust, and trust and estate litigation, but she has developed a particular expertise in handling family law appeals and writs.


Kelly is certified by the California State Bar as an appellate law specialist.

In addition to appeals and writs, she is often retained to write amicus briefs to ensure her clients’ voices are heard in cases where they are not otherwise participating.


She often works with trial counsel to prepare more effective motions, preserve issues for appeal, and strategize on appellate impacts for clients.

Kelly also has experience assisting trial counsel in securing writs to obtain interlocutory review of orders before final judgment or to stay a damaging order pending full appeal.


Kelly was named one of the Top Women Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal.

She has been repeatedly named a Northern California Super Lawyer for appellate law as well, and listed in Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Appellate Practice and Commercial Litigation.


She is committed to giving back to the community.

Kelly was named by California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye to the Appellate Caseflow Workgroup led by First District Presiding Justice Jim Humes to study and recommend solutions to systemic delays impacting the speedy resolution of appeals in some of California’s appellate courts. She is also currently serving as the Chair of the California Lawyers Association Litigation Section’s Committee on Appellate Courts. She was Co-Chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Appellate Section from 2017-2020 and continues to serve on the Executive Committee of the Section. She is also on the UC Law San Francisco (formerly Hastings) Board of Governors and is Co-Chair of the San Francisco alumni chapter.  In addition, Kelly acts as a panel attorney representing indigent criminal defendants in their appeals, and she has succeeded in overturning death sentences in two capital cases.


Kelly graduated magna cum laude from the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings College of the Law), and clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

She received numerous awards for her law school academic achievements and served as Senior Executive Editor for the Hastings Law Journal. After graduating, she clerked for James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and David A. Ezra of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.


Judge James R. Browning

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Judge David A. Ezra

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii
Law School

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

  • Magna cum laude
  • Senior Executive Editor, Hastings Law Journal


California Litigation Star Benchmark Litigation

Best Lawyer Best Lawyers Magazine

Super Lawyer Super Lawyers Magazine

Bar Admissions


U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth, Ninth, and Federal Circuits

U.S. Supreme Court


Appellate Law

  • Certified Specialist, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Some of Kelly's cases

California Court of Appeal

Hadar v. Luria

Prevailed on appeal of order granting summary judgment in partition of real property arising from statutory right to end co-tenancy through partition by sale.

California Court of Appeal

In re Marriage of Kelpe

Defended a trial court’s ruling that the benefits from a retirement plan in which husband became eligible to participate only after separation when he became a partner in his firm were entirely his separate property.

California Court of Appeal

Geear v. Pulliam

Defended a trial court’s ruling in a probate case that a marital trust had been revoked upon the decedent’s divorce from his ex-wife, and decedent died intestate requiring his mother’s petition for letters of administration to be granted.

California Court of Appeal

Venuti v. Venuti

Obtained reversal of an order denying an accounting by the trustee and denying petitioners leave to amend their petition for an accounting in a probate case.

California Court of Appeal

Raynor v. Lipton

Obtained a writ of supersedeas staying a trial court’s order denying petitioners a preliminary injunction barring petitioners’ neighbors from continuing construction on their property that was causing damage to petitioners’ property, and reversing the denial of the injunction.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Degamo v. Bank of America

Obtained a Ninth Circuit decision vacating the district court’s dismissal of a putative class action brought by Hawaii homeowners to challenge Bank of America’s foreclosure practices during the 2007 mortgage crisis. The ruling gives the homeowners a new opportunity to show the bank discouraged competition at foreclosure sales so it could buy homes at depressed prices and resell them for a larger profit.

California Court of Appeal

In re Marriage of Ciprari

Spousal support reversed as not comporting with marital standard of living. Child support reversed. Denial of attorney fees reversed because financial disparity between parties made fee award mandatory. New standard created for tracing commingled property.

Publications & media appearances

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