Business Partner Spotlight: THE MOSCONE LAW FIRM

The Moscone Law Firm is the Foundation’s Business Partner of the Month

At fifteen years old, the law firm of Moscone, Emblidge, Sater & Otis would barely be old enough to be a Tam student.  But in the lifespan of a law firm, fifteen is more than old enough to have made a mark on the San Francisco legal community.  Small but influential, the twelve attorney firm already has been involved in numerous high profile commercial, real estate, civil rights, and public interest matters in and around San Francisco.

The firm was founded by Scott Emblidge and two partners, Chris Moscone and Rachel Sater, in 1988.  At the time, Emblidge was a Deputy City Attorney who had helped San Francisco prosecute some of the more notable local civil rights cases of the last twenty years, including the Olympic Club anti-discrimination litigation and an early case defending San Francisco’s then-pioneering domestic partner ordinance.  His work was “challenging and satisfying,” because San Francisco is often on the forefront of ground-breaking legislation and defending those laws put him on “the cutting edge” of many legal issues.

But it was also extremely time-consuming.  Emblidge, Moscone and Sater had young children at home, and they wanted greater control over their schedules.  “We wanted to make sure that we had the time to coach our children’s teams, attend their plays, and help them grow,” Emblidge says.  The Moscone firm is dedicated to doing excellent legal work “while recognizing that a work/life balance is critical to being good lawyers and good people.”

In private practice, Emblidge does the commercial litigation that is often a law firm’s bread and butter, but he’s also – as have his partners — continued to do public interest work.  The firm frequently acts as private counsel to public agencies and gives public policy advice to private clients, especially nonprofits.  Emblidge, for example, is currently representing a nonprofit that is renovating many of San Francisco’s baseball and soccer fields.  He also acted as outside counsel to the City Board of Supervisors when it had to decide whether to remove Police Chief Mirkarimi from office after a domestic violence accusation.

Overall, the firm offers a wide variety of services, which “has enabled us to have more lasting relationships with our clients than when we are simply hired to handle a particular piece of litigation,” Emblidge says.  Indeed, each of the firm’s partners shares the firm’s philosophy, which is that the most rewarding aspect of the job is not the grandstanding of a high-profile court case but “helping a client solve a problem, whether it be a relatively discrete dispute that needs to be efficiently brought to a close, or a broad public policy issue that requires creative, strategic thinking.”

The Moscone firm also takes seriously its obligation to give back to its community, which, since three of its partners are long-time Mill Valley residents, often means Mill Valley.  The choice to support the Foundation came easily when their children reached high school age, but Emblidge, a public school student himself, is also a passionate believer in public education.  He quotes James Madison, who famously said that a self-governing people must arm itself with knowledge – and adds his own caveat:  “That knowledge must reside in all citizens, not just those who can afford to pay for a private education.”

The Tam High Foundation thanks Scott Emblidge and the Moscone Law Firm for their support, and is proud to honor them as its Business Partner of the Month.


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