J.D., Stanford University, 1991
with distinction, Order of the Coif
B.A., Stanford University, 1985
Chambers Band 1 for White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations in California
Best Lawyers 2024 Recognition (Recognized since 2003)
- Bet-the-Company Litigation
- Criminal Defense: General Practice
- Criminal Defense: White Collar
Ed Swanson is a trial and appellate lawyer specializing in white collar and general criminal defense as well as complex commercial litigation. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is recognized in Band 1 of Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers, White Collar Crime & Government Investigations. He has been a Northern California Super Lawyer every year since 2003 and was named by Best Lawyers as Lawyer of the Year in White Collar Criminal Defense and Bet the Company Litigation in 2023. He is AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell.
Ed represents individuals and corporations in a broad range of criminal matters, including trade secret and economic espionage, antitrust, securities fraud, tax fraud, and health care fraud. He also represents individuals in complex civil matters, including shareholder derivative actions, securities class actions, malpractice suits, and other commercial disputes. He practices in state and federal courts, and he also defends clients in federal and state regulatory investigations, including before the SEC and OCC. He has conducted internal investigations for corporations, educational institutions, and law enforcement agencies. In addition, Ed serves as a civil case special master and as a court expert for judges of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and as a discovery referee for the California Superior Court.
Representative matters include:
- Dismissal of all charges against client charged in federal court with theft of trade secrets from Bay Area tech company
- Acquittal and dismissal of all charges after jury trial against client charged in federal court with theft of trade secrets and economic espionage
- Declination of prosecution of executive in alternative energy industry in investigation by the Southern District of New York and the Northern District of California
- Defense verdict at civil jury trial on all claims in breach of contract dispute
- Declination of prosecution of executive in criminal antitrust investigation
- Multi-million-dollar jury verdict in favor of law firm in fee dispute, successfully defended through multiple rounds of appeals
- Declination of SEC action against CEO of clean energy company in insider trading investigation
- Probation sentence for defendant charged with Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations involving allegations of multi-million-dollar damages
Ed is the co-chair of the Northern District of California Federal Criminal Practice Committee and the CEO of the Northern District’s Federal Practice Program. He chaired the Northern District of California Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel in 2022 and served on the Northern District of California Federal Public Defender Selection Committee in 2021. He also served as co-chair of the Lawyer Representatives for the Northern District of California to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. He has taught classes on negotiation and trial advocacy at Bay Area law schools and speaks frequently on topics including trade secret theft, grand jury practice, negotiations, and Ninth Circuit criminal case law.
Before founding Swanson & McNamara LLP with Mary McNamara in 1998, Mr. Swanson served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Northern District of California. Mr. Swanson is a former law clerk to the Hon. Thelton Henderson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Mr. Swanson also worked in South Africa in 1991 and 1992 assisting the African National Congress in designing a land claims court. Mr. Swanson graduated from Stanford Law School in 1991, graduating with distinction and as a member of the Order of the Coif. Mr. Swanson received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1985.