JUSTICE WILLIAM DATO
Justice William Dato was confirmed to the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One in February 2017. Previously he was a judge of the San Diego Superior Court for 13 years, serving as supervising judge of the North County branch, presiding judge of the court’s appellate division, and in a variety of substantive assignments.
Before his appointment to the bench, Justice Dato was a certified appellate law specialist in private practice and worked as an appellate court staff attorney with the California Supreme Court and California Court of Appeal. He has also been an adjunct professor at both the University of San Diego School of Law and California Western School of Law, teaching appellate practice and products liability.
Married and the father of four children, Justice Dato is a native San Diegan. He received his law degree from University of California, Los Angeles in 1980 and his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from San Diego State University in 1977.
Susan Horst, California Appellate Law Group LLP, is a specialist in writs of mandamus and prohibition in the California appellate courts. For more than 31 years, Susan served as the writ attorney for the California Court of Appeal for the First District, Division One, in San Francisco. Susan is one of the only practicing attorneys in California to have devoted virtually her entire career to appellate writs.
As writ attorney in the First District, Susan evaluated thousands of pre- and post- trial writ petitions in all types of civil and criminal matters. In the process, she learned precisely what the justices on the Court of Appeal look for before taking the extraordinary step of granting writ relief — and what an opposing party needs to highlight to have the best shot at getting a petition denied.
Susan’s three decades at the Court of Appeal gave her both extensive writing experience and a wide-ranging knowledge of substantive law. Susan’s casework ran the gamut from business and commercial litigation, to personal injury and employment matters, to real estate, insurance, and products liability cases, to professional negligence, disqualification, and privilege issues. The procedural postures of the writ petitions she handled were equally wide-ranging, and included pleading defects and class certification, sealing of court records, discovery disputes, summary judgment, settlement, and enforcement of judgments.
Since retiring from her writ attorney position, Susan has devoted her professional time to consulting on writ petitions in the appellate courts, as well as trial court work in anticipation of writ relief. Susan also lectures widely on writ practice and procedure. She has presented seminars to the San Francisco City Attorney, District Attorney and Public Defender Offices, the State Bar of California, California Continuing Education of the Bar, The Rutter Group, PINCUS Professional Education, bar associations across California, and the Center for Judicial Education and Research. She is the co-author of chapters for Continuing Education of the Bar publications, as well as training materials for numerous continuing education lectures.
Susan’s career at the Court of Appeal followed motion and jury trial skills she developed early on as an Assistant District Attorney in San Francisco. She holds her J.D. from the Santa Clara University School of Law, where she graduated summa cum laude — even though she attended law school part-time at night, while working as a full-time administrator at Stanford University during the day. She also has her B.A. in English from Stanford.
In her spare time, Susan is an adviser to the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyer’s Association. She also volunteers on the Advisory Board of Advokids, a foster children’s advocacy group, and provides pro bono advice and representation through the Advokids Appellate Project.
BENJAMIN G. SHATZ
Benjamin G. Shatz co-Chairs Manatt’s Appellate Practice Group. He has briefed hundreds of civil appeals, writs and petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals, California Supreme Court, and California Courts of Appeal, covering areas of law including entertainment, copyright, trademark, employment, land use, banking, insurance, product liability, professional liability, wrongful death, punitive damages, class actions, anti-SLAPP, and unfair competition.
Before joining Manatt, Mr. Shatz was in the appellate department of an international law firm. He also served as law clerk to The Honorable Robert J. Johnston, United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Nevada, and as extern to The Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is a frequent lecturer and author, having been published in California Litigation, California Lawyer, Los Angeles Lawyer, Inside Counsel, The Daily Journal, The Recorder, For the Defense, California Defender, CEB Civil Litigator Reporter, and many other legal publications.