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About John

John Farrell is Of Counsel in the Silicon Valley office of Fish & Richardson P.C. A veteran trial attorney, he has tried over 120 trials and has been recognized as a top trial lawyer in intellectual property matters. In recent years, John has focused on pharma practice, where he has worked as trial counsel for clients in some of their biggest cases. He is valued for his trial skills as well as his strength in working with witnesses, guiding other lawyers at trial, and taking depositions of key witnesses. John’s colleagues routinely ask him to work with their trial witnesses and prepare witnesses for deposition.

One client, who worked with John on several cases, described John as “a world class trial lawyer” and added that “John is unassuming and the jury clearly loves him.” Clients have remarked on his skill in presenting expert witness testimony in ways that the trier of fact can understand and his extraordinary ability to cross examine key experts on the other side.

John teaches trial advocacy and deposition skills to firms across the country, including at the Microsoft Advocacy Academy. He is a long time member of the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and has done national webcasts for NITA on topics like direct examination and closing argument. His webcasts rank as some of the most watched. He lectures frequently on trial skills and soon will publish a book entitled Tools for the Trial Lawyer.

Before joining Fish & Richardson, John was an assistant district attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, rising to Head Attorney working in the Homicide Unit. In addition to his trial work as an ADA, John became a sought after lecturer for the California District Attorneys Association, giving three hour talks throughout the state on the use of uncharged acts and the law of hearsay. He was given the CDAA Instructor of the Year Award.

John attended Indiana University, where he graduated with highest honors, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science. He was named the top student in both departments. John received his law degree from the University of Chicago, where he served as President of the Law Students Association. He clerked for the Honorable S. Hugh Dillin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Client Name Confidential. A major pharmaceutical client said of John’s work handling worldwide litigation over its key patented treatment: “John has a very unique set of skills that make him an enormously powerful asset in each case and one of my favorite tasks is figuring out exactly how to deploy that for each case.” The client illustrated this point by noting that John had performed at a top level in trial over and over; he took “a brilliant and pivotal deposition” of an in house lawyer that resulted in a complete victory based on unclean hands; and he regularly worked with witnesses to render them effective on the stand.

  • Named a Northern California Super Lawyer (2011 – 2013, 2016 – 2020)
  • Recognized as one of the Daily Journal’s “California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year” (2018)
  • Selected as a Top Attorney in Intellectual Property Litigation since 2011
Focus Areas
Education

J.D., University of Chicago Law School (1979)


B.A. with highest distinction, Indiana University (1976)

Admissions
  • California 1981
Clerkships

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, The Honorable S. Hugh Dillin, 1979 - 1981

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