Paul W. Thorndal is an experienced family law litigator and mediator who has practiced law in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1995. A senior litigation attorney with broad experience in both trial and appellate litigation, he has successfully represented clients in state and federal courts throughout California. Mr. Thorndal was lead appellate lawyer in the case of Alexandria S. v. Pacific Fertility Medical Center (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 110, one of the few published cases in California addressing the liability of fertility clinics for negligence and breach of contract in the area of assisted reproduction. Mr. Thorndal has extensive experience handling litigated civil actions, and he has tried cases to jury verdict and represented clients before various California Courts of Appeal, the California Supreme Court, and the Ninth Circuit.
At List Jacobson-Kwok Thorndal, LLP, Mr. Thorndal specializes in the litigation of marital and non-marital disputes between separating couples. His cases include traditional divorces as well as the dissolutions of both registered and non-registered same sex partnerships. In all dissolution cases, he addresses both division of assets and custody disputes as appropriate. Mr. Thorndal’s practice also includes assisted reproductive technology (ART) litigation, disputed parentage actions, and contested adoptions. Mr. Thorndal is widely known in the region for representing clients in civil disputes commonly known as palimony or “Marvin” actions, both as stand-alone civil actions for couples who never married or registered as domestic partners, or hybrid actions involving years of cohabitation prior to marriage.
Because litigation can be such an expensive and acrimonious process, Mr. Thorndal believes that it is important to work closely with clients to identify the aspects of their cases which can be settled by agreement, and to fight aggressively for his clients in court only where the parties truly cannot agree. As a trained mediator and Collaborative Practice attorney, Mr. Thorndal's goal is to explore all available alternatives with each client, and then work together to resolve the family law dispute in a process which best suits the client’s situation. Mr. Thorndal’s unique blend of experience in both family law and civil litigation makes him well suited to handle dissolutions where a significant portion of disputed property was purchased prior to marriage or domestic partner registration.
Paul W. Thorndal is certified as a Family Law Specialist by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. He has also been repeatedly recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer in Family Law, in a peer review process which recognizes the top 5% of attorneys in different practice areas. Mr. Thorndal is a member of the Family Law Practice Section of both the State Bar of California and the Bar Association of San Francisco, and the Alameda County Family Law Assocation. He also is a member of the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association, www.nlgla.org, and the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom; and a past member of the Alameda Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association. Paul obtained his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He and his husband live in San Francisco.