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David C. Codell

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Phone: +1-858-964-4589
Fax: 858-964-2301

4275 Executive Square #200
La Jolla, California 92037

David Codell is a Harvard Law School graduate—with clerkships at the D.C. Circuit and Supreme Court of the United States—and has wide-ranging trial and appellate litigation experience that includes numerous precedent-setting victories.

His legal practice focuses on trial-court and appellate constitutional litigation, business litigation, antitrust litigation, and entertainment litigation. Mr. Codell has represented clients from many industries, but has particular experience representing major clients in the television, motion picture, recording, and advertising industries.

Mr. Codell has significant experience in class action, securities, and antitrust litigation, as well as extensive experience in appellate litigation, having handled a wide variety of appellate matters involving constitutional issues, business disputes, employment law, land use, securities law, intellectual property, and arbitration. He also has significant experience handling disputes involving First Amendment, copyright law, antipiracy and internet issues, idea origination, defamation, rights of publicity, talent contracts, profit participation, employment discrimination, anti-competition, and insurance Mr. Codell received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Harvard College, and his J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a Supreme Court Editor of the Harvard Law Review. Mr. Codell served as a law clerk for Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Before opening his own law office in 2003, Mr. Codell practiced constitutional law in association with Harvard University Professor Laurence H. Tribe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was a partner at Irell & Manella LLP in Los Angeles, where he practiced in the litigation, intellectual property, and appellate practice groups.

In 2013, Mr. Codell served as Visiting Legal Director and Senior Scholar of Law at the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA School of Law that focuses on sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy. In 2014, Mr. Codell became Constitutional Litigation Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), litigating cases successfully seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples in Utah, Alabama, Florida, Idaho, and Tennessee. In the Tennessee case, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that same-sex couples throughout the nation have a constitutional right to marry.

Mr. Codell has provided pro bono representation to individuals and organizations in numerous cases that have resulted in historic rulings advancing civil rights, and he has been honored for his pro bono work by numerous organizations. Mr. Codell also is a frequent speaker about legal issues at universities and continuing legal education events.

Mr. Codell will continue to work in Los Angeles.


J.D., Harvard Law School, 1995
magna cum laude
Harvard Law Review
Supreme Court Editor

A.B., Harvard College, 1991
summa cum laude
Phi Beta Kappa

  • Supreme Court of the United States: Law Clerk, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit: Law Clerk, Judge David S. Tatel
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice



U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Awards and Honors
  • Southern California Super Lawyer for fourteen consecutive years (2006-2019)
  • Humanitarian Award, presented by L.A. synagogue Beth Chayim Chadashim (2013)
  • Liberty Award, presented by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (2008)
  • Lawyer of the Year, presented by the Orange County Equality Coalition (2008)
  • Equality Advocate Award, presented by Equality California (2006)
  • LGBT Advocacy Award, presented by the ACLU of Southern California (2006)
  • Defender of Democracy Award, presented by People for the American Way (2000)
Volunteer Activities
  • Board President, Humanist Legal Society
  • Former Board Member and Vice President, Equality California
  • Pro bono litigation for and/or with numerous civil rights organizations, including:
    • Equality California
    • ACLU Foundation of Southern California
    • ACLU Foundation of Northern California
    • National Center for Lesbian Rights
    • Lambda Legal
    • National Women’s Law Center
    • California Women’s Law Center
    • People for the American Way