Zachary Elsea’s practice focuses on the most challenging intellectual property, entertainment, and business disputes facing his clients. Mr. Elsea has handled complex cases from inception through trial on behalf of companies and individuals in the entertainment, technology, financial services, and real estate sectors, among others. He has particular experience litigating and counseling in copyright, patent, and trademark matters, and he has represented both employees and employers in trade secret and non-compete disputes.

Recognized for his expertise on entertainment and intellectual property issues, Mr. Elsea has been published in and quoted by major media outlets such as USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, BloombergLos Angeles TimesForbes, Los Angeles Lawyer, and others. He has also been named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine every year since 2017.

Mr. Elsea is active in the community and received the Pro Bono of the Year Award from Public Counsel’s Appellate Law Program in 2012 for his successful appeal in a housing discrimination case. He also sits on the Board of the Harvard Law School Association of Los Angeles.

Mr. Elsea previously served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Milan D. Smith, Jr., on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Elsea graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and also holds degrees from Harvard College and Oxford University.

Representative Matters

  • Co-chaired and delivered closing argument in a three-day arbitration involving financial technology and financial regulatory issues.
  • Represented a pioneering film production company in dispute over the ownership of rights in its film catalog.
  • Represented a financial data and technology company in a private arbitration trial regarding the alleged theft of trade secrets.
  • Represented a major music company in the California Court of Appeal regarding a royalty and digital rights dispute.
  • Represented the developers and equity holders of Lake Las Vegas Resort against claims of fraudulent transfer and fraudulent conveyance.
  • Represented a major mobile communications company in a series of patent disputes regarding wireless communications technologies.

Admissions, Memberships & Qualifications

  • Clerk to the Honorable Milan D. Smith, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2012–2013)
  • State Bar of California (Member)
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Harvard Law School Association of Los Angeles

Honors & Awards

  • “Rising Star,” Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine, 2017-2018.
  • “Pro Bono of the Year Award,” Public Counsel Appellate Law Program, 2012.

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • “IP Law Career Day,” LAIPLA and UC Irvine School of Law, February 2019.
  • “Jeff Bezos, The National Enquirer And The Meaning Of ‘Extortion,'” Forbes, February 8, 2019.
  • Guest, “Barely Legal with Joe Escalante” radio show, July 22, 2018.
  • “Do Sacha Baron Cohen’s Targets Have a Shot at Winning a Lawsuit?” The Hollywood Reporter, July 2018.
  • Moderator, LACBA Barristers “Careers in Government” Panel. May 2018.
  • “How Ginger and Fred Settled the Battle Between Two ‘Empires.’” Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine. Feb. 2018.
  • “Unprecedented Battle Looming: AT&T Threatens To Take Trump And DOJ To Court Over Time Warner Deal.” Forbes. Nov. 2017.
  • “AT&T’s Acquisition Of Time Warner Could Be In Jeopardy,” Forbes. Nov. 2017.
  • “Summary Analysis of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016,” Los Angeles Lawyer. Nov. 2016.
  • “SB 1177: Protecting Our Children on the Internet,” Daily Journal. Jan. 21, 2015.
  • “Oh, Say Can You ©: Jimi Hendrix, Shostakovich, and All That Jazz!” Century City Lawyer. Nov. 2011


  • Harvard Law School (J.D. 2011) cum laude, Senior Editor, Harvard International Law Journal
  • Oxford University (MSc, Social Anthropology, 2008)
  • Harvard College (A.B. Government, 2006)