The former Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California and a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, Hilary Potashner is highly regarded by the bench and bar alike. As underscored by Chambers USA, “she is held in particularly high regard for her excellent courtroom skills.”
Recognized by judges and peers for her “unwavering commitment to high-quality, client-centered representation,” Hilary applies this full-service approach by listening attentively, developing a strong working relationship with each client, and ensuring their perspective is clearly depicted through every stage of litigation. She uses a strategic blend of tenacity and creativity to excel at negotiation and prevail at trial. Having built her reputation as a skilled courtroom advocate, Hilary was honored by the Los Angeles County Bar Association Criminal Justice Section as the 2020 “Defense Attorney of the Year.”
Notable Experience and Results
Throughout her 30 years of practice, Hilary has tried dozens of cases to verdict and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She has developed a deep familiarity and impressive credibility with state, federal, and appellate courts, and her wealth of experience serves the advantage of her clients. Hilary successfully defends individuals facing charges in both state and federal court in a wide range of matters, including conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, healthcare fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and other white collar cases. She also represents public and prominent figures and entities in pre-indictment investigations.
In her civil practice, Hilary represents individuals and entities in high-stakes commercial litigation and appeals. Her experience includes representing both plaintiffs and defendants in intellectual property and contract disputes, civil forfeiture, misrepresentation, negligence, civil theft, and garnishment cases. Her appellate victories include the SEC v. Yang et al. decision in which she secured the reversal of a $15.5 million judgment in favor of her clients and reduced their final judgment by millions, and the KST Data, Inc. v. DXC Technology Co. et al. decision in which she secured the reversal of a summary judgment and a $5.24 million judgment in a commercial contract dispute.
Hilary’s impact on the law extends outside her practice to her involvement in committees and professional organizations. Based on her system-building experience and acumen, Hilary was selected to serve on the United States Courts, Defender Services Offices Performance Measurement Working Group; the Ninth Circuit Jury Trial Improvement Committee; the Systems Builders Committee of the National Association for Public Defense; and the Local Rules Advisory Committee of the Central District of California. In these current and former roles throughout her career, as well as through her role as a member of the Board of Directors for and the former president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and as a member of The Chancery Club of Los Angeles, Hilary collaborates with judges and other influential lawyers to effect systemic change in the law. She also serves on the Steering Committee of Just the Beginning—A Pipeline Organization, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the advancement of young adults from underrepresented backgrounds in the legal profession.
Hilary joined Larson after years of public service, having started her career in the state court as deputy defender for the County of San Diego and then serving in the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California for nearly two decades. She was twice appointed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as the Federal Defender for the Central District and was responsible for leading the largest defender’s office in the country, with more than 200 employees and an annual budget of nearly $40 million. As the chief defender, Hilary oversaw the representation of thousands of individuals facing federal charges in magistrate and district court.
Additionally, Hilary was instrumental in creating one of the first federal diversionary courts in the country, the Central District’s Court Conviction and Sentence Alternatives (CASA) program. This program successfully launched due in part to her effective collaboration with the Central District Court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services. As described at the time by U.S. Circuit Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, who chairs the Ninth Circuit’s Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders, “as the Federal Public Defender, Hilary has led by personal example, maintaining high morale within the office during the government shutdown, creating a non-capital habeas unit, working effectively with our courts and other stakeholders, and contributing on a national level. She has set a very high bar for anyone to follow.”
- UC College of the Law, San Francisco, J.D.
- Duke University, A.B.
- New York
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S.D.C. Central District of California
- U.S.D.C. Southern District of California
- U.S.D.C. Eastern District of New York
- U.S.D.C. Southern District of New York