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Catherine M. Gormley


San Francisco Office

4 Embarcadero Center Ste. 1400
San Francisco CA, 94111



CATHERINE M. GORMLEY was born in Washington, D.C. and raised on the East Coast and then in Taipei, Taiwan, where she attended the International School of the Sacred Heart and graduated from Taipei American School. While in Taiwan, she studied classical Chinese opera. The exhilarating experience of living in Asia fostered Ms. Gormley’s deep interest in Pacific Rim cultures. Ms. Gormley received her B.A. in history, cum laude, in 1977 from the University of San Francisco. She lived briefly in Mogadishu, Somalia, and Paris, France, and returned to the United States to pursue her Master’s degree in medieval history, which she received from the University of California at Los Angeles, California in 1979. She was awarded a C.Phil from UCLA in 1981. Then, contemplating a future in academia, she realized problem solving with people in the here and now was more appealing. Ms. Gormley obtained her J.D. at Hastings College of the Law in 1986. At Hastings, she earned the Milton D. Green Top Ten Award and was a member of the Thurston Society, received the American Juris Prudence Award in Torts, and was Articles Editor for the Hastings Law Journal. Ms. Gormley joined the firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen in San Francisco, where she received rigorous training in the corporate and mergers and acquisitions practice. Her continued interest in Pacific Rim businesses brought her to Teraoka & Partners LLP in 1992.

Since that time, her practice has expanded to include general corporate, mergers and acquisitions, labor and employment, general business operations, the legal aspects of distribution, brokerages and marketing arrangements, and regulatory compliance for general business operations. Ms. Gormley assists clients with cross-border business transactions for U.S subsidiaries of foreign public companies, including parent companies in Japan, the Philippines, and Norway. Ms. Gormley assists clients in managing and documenting transactions through the entire chain of manufacturing, marketing and distributing products in all industries and particularly in the food industry. She advises business clients on all aspects of manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of their products, including pricing, distribution structures, sales representatives’ and distributors’ rights, and related business matters.

In labor and employment, Ms. Gormley helps employers navigate the confusing labyrinth of federal, state, and local laws regulating a diverse range of personnel issues, including hours and wages, employee benefits, equal opportunity and affirmative action compliance, as well as harassment prevention and enforcement, harassment and other investigations, and counseling companies through all the stages of critical employment decisions. She has helped clients to understand the distinctions for exempt and non-exempt employees, as well as the distinction, under both federal and state laws, of employees versus independent contractors. She has successfully appealed both federal IRS and state Board of Equalization characterizations of independent contractors for clients in a diverse range of industries, including tour guide industry, advertising industry and others.

Ms. Gormley provides advice to food and beverage distributors nationwide and to local restaurants regarding ABC liquor licensing compliance, and has assisted one client in the unique issue of obtaining a liquor license for its first‑class lounge at the San Francisco International Airport. Ms. Gormley has conducted harassment prevention training to clients throughout the United States desiring to comply with the change in regulations, particularly those promulgated in California regarding harassment prevention. She has also provided sexual harassment investigation services and defended clients before the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with regard to sexual harassment and discrimination cases.

Ms. Gormley continues to practice in the area in which she was originally trained—negotiating and closing mergers and acquisition transactions for both global and domestic corporations. She has advised clients in stock and asset purchase transactions for global, Japan‑based gaming companies and domestic manufacturing companies, among others. In 2002, Ms. Gormley negotiated the joint venture transaction that brought Shonen Jump, one of the longest-running periodical manga compilations in Japan, to the United States. In its first U.S. issue (January 2003), it became the top-selling comic book of any kind for that time period in the United States. In 2012, Ms. Gormley helped close the acquisition by one of Japan’s largest snack food manufacturers and acquire a cracker business in California, and in 2013 she assisted in the sale of a U.S. logistics business to a division of one of Japan’s largest trading conglomerates – a sale that involved closings in California, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

 Above all, Ms. Gormley enjoys very much the professional relationships and general rapport she has developed advising clients regarding the diverse range of legal issues involved in the operation of a business in the United States. Ms. Gormley has been active in several non-profit and community organizations. She advised the Women’s Economic Agenda Project in 1988, helped to obtain tax-exempt status for Healing Hearts in 1989, and served as a founding member on the Board of Trustees of the Eva Leah Gunter Foundation for Education, where she remained as a trustee from 1997 to 2001. From 1993 to 2008, Ms. Gormley served on the Board of Trustees of Presidio Hill School in San Francisco, an independent progressive school founded in 1918 by Flora Arnstein and Helen Salz.