Pamela Graham is Senior Counsel and a member of Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley’s litigation practice group. She also leads CHW’s Public Safety Defense Practice Group. Pamela’s practice covers a wide range of litigation, including municipal finance and public revenues, police liability defense, land use, employment law, cannabis regulation, and water issues. Her current engagements include defending Coachella Valley Water District in five lawsuits challenging various components of its water rates under Propositions 26 and 218; defending the City of Los Angeles in challenges to its utility user tax on telephone and gas charges; defending the City of Vallejo and its police department on civil rights and excessive use of force claims; successfully defending Los Angeles business improvement districts against Proposition 218 challenges to their assessments; litigating civil code enforcement actions against illegal medical marijuana dispensaries in the City of Pasadena; and advising the City of Chico on its police policies.
Pamela has broad litigation experience in both state and federal courts, handling all phases of litigation from the pleading through appeal. She has successfully defended a number of jury and bench trials.
Before joining CHW, Pamela was an attorney in the commercial litigation workgroups at Irell & Manella LLP for seven years and at Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP for five years. There, Pamela represented a diverse range of clients in the entertainment, retail, and other prominent Southern California industries in a variety of commercial litigation, including business torts, employment disputes, securities fraud, and trademark and copyright litigation.
Pamela earned her law degree magna cum laude from Loyola Law School. While at Loyola, Pamela served as the Chief Production Editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. She was also the recipient of the Dean’s Academic Scholarship from 1999 through 2001, as well as the First Honors Award in legal research and writing, torts, and federal courts. Pamela earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Immediately following law school, Pamela served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronald S. W. Lew of the United States District Court, Central District of California.
Throughout her legal career, Pamela has advocated pro bono for the rights of children in the foster care system. Partnering with the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Pamela has helped over 25 families finalize adoptions and advocated for lawful individualized education plans and services. Pamela has also worked with the March of Dimes for the past 10 years, bringing awareness to and fundraising for the fight against premature births.
Pamela has served as adjunct faculty at Southwestern Law School, where she taught legal analysis, writing and skills, and at California State University, Northridge, where she taught advanced business law.
She presently serves on the League of California Cities’ Editorial Board for the California Municipal Law Handbook, the essential treatise for local government lawyers. She also serves on the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Editorial Board for its L.A. Lawyer publication, and on the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s President’s Advisory Committee on Women in the Legal Profession.
- Class Action Defense
- Complex Litigation
- Employment Law
- Land Use / CEQA
- Public Law
- Public Revenues
- Public Safety Defense Litigation