Lisa Gilford is consistently recognized as one of the leading complex civil litigators in California. Her practice is focused on class actions, products liability law and jury trials.


Ms. Gilford represents several major members of the automotive, pharmaceutical, communications, oil and gas, aerospace and chemical manufacturing industries. Since 2015, she was named one of the “Top Women Lawyers” by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, which also consistently lists her among the “Top 100 Lawyers” and “Top Women Litigators” in California. She also is repeatedly included in Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America and has been named to Best Lawyers in America. In 2016, she was named one of the “Most Influential Minority Lawyers” by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Prior to joining Skadden in 2013, Ms. Gilford was the co-chair of the products liability practice at another prominent law firm.

Her experience includes:

  • serving as lead counsel to Toyota in its “Unintended Acceleration” MDL involving more than 400 consumer class actions and personal injury cases, including successfully obtaining dismissal of the claims of plaintiffs from 14 different countries from that proceeding;
  • representing corporate clients in class actions brought under California consumer protection and unfair competition laws, including the Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act; and counseling clients in litigation prevention and risk management in California;
  • serving as trial counsel in products liability cases involving claims of design and manufacturing defect for a variety of consumer and commercial products, including motor vehicles, household appliances, pharmaceuticals, refinery equipment, industrial and agricultural chemicals, and food and nutrition additives;
  • obtaining a defense verdict for a major telecommunications client after a month-long jury trial in a case involving breach of contract and civil rights claims, and representing telecommunications clients in class actions brought under the Telephone Communications Privacy Act and California Invasion of Privacy Act; and
  • serving as coordinating counsel with scientific and technical knowledge for parallel personal injury and wrongful death actions arising out of claimed exposure to benzene, lead and solvents.

Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Gilford taught at The Georgetown University Law Center and was a graduate fellow and public service lawyer with Georgetown’s Institute for Public Representation. She frequently lectures on topics such as California tort, consumer protection and unfair competition claims; successful defense of class actions; best practices for outside counsel; and professional development for women lawyers and other diversity issues.

Ms. Gilford received the J. Michael Brown Award from DuPont in 2008 for her personal commitment to diversity, recruiting and mentoring in the legal profession. She is the former president of the National Association of Women Lawyers (2008-2009) and is actively involved in the Black Women Lawyers Association, Langston Bar Association and Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles. Ms. Gilford was profiled in two recent books on women in the legal profession, Courageous Counsel: Conversations With Women General Counsel in the Fortune 500 and Women on Top: The Woman’s Guide to Leadership and Power in Law Firms.



  • LL.M., Georgetown University, 1995
  • J.D., University of Southern California, 1993
  • B.A., Furman University, 1990


  • California


  • Board Member, California Women’s Law Center
  • Board Member, The Music Center
  • Former President, National Association of Women Lawyers
  • Defense Research Institute (Products Law and Toxic Tort Sections)
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
  • Women’s Rainmaker Roundtable
  • Black Women Lawyers Association
  • Langston Bar Association
  • National Bar Association

Lisa Gilford

Partner, Litigation; Mass Torts, Insurance and Consumer Litigation