Barbara J. (“B.J.”) Chisholm

(415) 421-7151, ext. 329

B.A., Swarthmore College
J.D., Howard University School of Law

Hon. Emmet G. Sullivan, United States District Court, District of Columbia

B.J. is the Managing Partner of Altshuler Berzon LLP. Her practice consists primarily of complex civil litigation and public policy and impact litigation on behalf of labor unions, workers, public entities, and environmental organizations, among others. She has briefed and argued numerous cases in state and federal courts, both at the trial and appellate levels. In addition to litigation, she represents unions and nonprofits engaged in social justice campaigns, represents unions in contract negotiations and arbitrations, and assists clients working throughout the country on issues concerning legislation, ballot measures and election law.

B.J. is a member of the Board of Governors of Public Advocates and the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Labor and Employment Committee. She is also on the Board of Advisors of the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society. B.J. previously served on the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Section of the California State Bar, the Board of the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society, and the Board of Directors of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel. She also served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Pacific Environment for many years.

B.J. was named a “California Lawyer of the Year” by California Lawyer Magazine in 2013 for her work in an Ohio voting rights case.

Prior to law school, B.J. worked in the Russian Far East for five years, where she was the founder and director of the Russian Far East branch of ISAR, an organization working on environmental and human rights issues. B.J. is a fluent Russian speaker and enjoys playing music with her children, kayaking, and reading mystery novels.

Representative matters:

  • Won a unanimous ruling from an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in an action challenging long-term water contracts with the federal government as threatening endangered species.
  • Represents low wage fast food workers in multiple wage and hour class actions against a major chain, including actions alleging joint-employer and other shared liability theories.
  • Successfully defended in the California Court of Appeal a ruling requiring a major airline to apply to its pilots California’s Kin Care Law, which enables employees to use accrued sick leave to care for ill family members, and defeated an ERISA preemption defense.
  • Obtained court injunctions preventing Ohio from unconstitutionally rejecting the provisional ballots cast by thousands of registered voters in federal and state elections.
  • Obtained numerous arbitration victories, including blocking a hospital’s attempt to transfer work from union-represented nurses to non-union staff and preventing the hospital from reducing medical benefits.
  • Advises environmental organizations on corporate and industry-wide campaigns.
  • Provides advice to labor unions regarding contract enforcement and internal governance.