Main Menu
Photo of Wendy McGuire  Coats

Wendy McGuire Coats

Appellate Counsel, San Francisco
San Francisco
t: 415.490.9013
f: 415.490.9001


Wendy McGuire Coats is an appellate attorney and leads the firm’s California Appellate Practice. She represents clients in all aspects of appellate litigation in state and federal appellate courts. She also prepares trial counsel for appellate consequences before, during, and after trial.

Wendy is a member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association Board of Directors, the American Bar Association's (ABA) Council of Appellate Lawyer’s publication committee, and the California Women Lawyers amicus committee.

In 2016, she was named to Northern California Super Lawyers in Appellate Law, after being listed in Northern California Super Lawyers - Rising Stars in Appellate Law in 2009-2010 and 2012-2015.

Wendy clerked for the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew of the United States District Court, Central District of California.

In law school, Wendy was Editor-in-Chief of the Pepperdine Law Review. She won both the Vincent S. Dalsimer Moot Court Competition and the Armand Arabian Advocacy Tournament. At the 28th Annual Robert F. Wagner Labor & Employment Law Moot Court Competition, her team was named National Champions and she was awarded Best Oral Advocate in the Final Round.

Prior to law school, Wendy taught high school English, studied acting, lived in London, and was a Writing Fellow with the Missouri Writing Project.


Reported Cases

  • Stofer v. Shapell Indus. (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 176: Secured client’s right to a jury trial in a construction defect case involving a fraudulent concealment claim by reversing both the bench trial and summary judgments.
  • Carolyn Gregory v. Lorraine Cott (2014) 59 Cal.4th 996: Represented amicus curiae, a Texas Tech University School of Law professor and expert in Alzheimer’s and elder Law, when the California Supreme Court determined the scope and application of the assumption of the risk doctrine to professional caregivers of Alzheimer’s victims.
  • Spriesterbach v. Holland (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 255: Secured published decision that it was error to base a negligence per se instruction on California Vehicle Code sections 21650 and 21650.1 to require bicyclists ride with the flow of adjacent traffic when riding on the sidewalk.
  • In re F.F. (2013) Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 2324 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. Mar. 28, 2013): Obtained reversal of the dispositional order in a case where police interrogated a 12-year-old in his middle school principal’s office in violation of Miranda.

Honors & Leadership

Professional Activities

Before joining Fisher Phillips, Wendy founded McGuire Coats LLP and built a successful appellate practice. Prior to building her appellate firm, Wendy was an associate in the Global Litigation & White Collar Defense practice groups of an international law firm, where she was the primary associate dedicated to two federal criminal trials.

Community Activities

Wendy serves as a parent representative on the Alamo Elementary School Site Council, which is charged with implementing, monitoring, and updating the school’s Single Plan for Student Achievement, the Comprehensive Safety Plan, and the Emergency Plan.

She also serves as a volunteer moot court alumni coach and moot court judge for Pepperdine University School of Law.


Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • Guest lecturer and panelist, The Art & Craft of Oral Argument, Pepperdine School of Law (2016)
  • Panelist, The Sequel: Your Brief as a Best Selling Novel, Contra Costa County Bar Association MCLE Spectacular, with Claudia Hagadus Long (2015)
  • Speaker, Appellate Law – Mt. Diablo Legal Professionals Association (2015)
  • Panelist, Your Brief as a Best Selling Novel, Contra Costa County Bar Association MCLE Spectacular, with Claudia Hagadus Long (2014)


  • Author, To Change for the Better: a Primer Appellate Issues, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers
    September 2016
  • Author, Red Tie Guy: A True Story of the Overpowering Influence of Facts Outside the Record, Appellate Issues, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers 
    September 2015
  • Author, On Lamps, Lifeboats, and Ladders, Contra Costa Lawyer, guest editor, Women & the Law Edition, Contra Costa County Bar Association 
    February 2015
  • Author, Perspectives on Oral Argument, Appellate Issues, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers 
    February 2015
  • Author, Tips of the Trade: Transform the Readability of Your Legal Documents, Contra Costa Lawyer, Contra Costa County Bar Association 
    December 2014
  • Author, A Conversation with Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., Appellate Issues, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers 
    January 2014
  • Author, A “How To” When Preparing for Multiple Oral Arguments, Appellate Issues, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers
    Summer 2013
  • Author, Acting Advice for the Appellate Advocate, Appellate Issues, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers
    Summer 2012
  • Author, Book Review: Ross Guberman’s Point Made! How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates, Appellate Issues, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers 
    Spring 2012
  • Author, Building an Appellate Practice in the 21st Century, Appellate Issues, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers
    Winter 2012
  • Co-author with Jan L. Handzlik, Tide Turning Against Privilege Waivers for Prosecutors In Corporate Cases, The Los Angeles Daily Journal and The San Francisco Daily Journal, Nov. 27, 2006 & Nov. 28, 2006, respectively


Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Back to Page