Hilary Gibson is a partner in the firm’s Bay Area office. She advises clients on a wide variety of election law, government law, and voting rights matters, including litigating complex and novel issues arising in these areas of law.
Ms. Gibson has extensive experience guiding clients through all aspects of the ballot measure process, providing strategic advice on the decision to pursue an initiative or referendum, drafting measures, ensuring that petitions comply with applicable legal requirements, and both bringing and defending legal challenges relating to all stages of the process.
She also frequently advises both public agencies and private entities on issues within her area of expertise. She works with public agencies primarily on specialized matters such as redistricting, voting rights, and questions related to measures appearing on the ballot, but also by providing routine guidance on public transparency laws such as the Brown Act, the Public Records Act, and the Political Reform Act.
In addition, Ms. Gibson helps both for-profit and non-profit corporate clients develop and administer campaign and government ethics compliance programs, and provides counsel on a wide range of gift, lobby, campaign finance, and conflict of interest issues. She also represents clients with ethics and political law enforcement matters before the Fair Political Practices Commission and local ethics agencies, which includes assisting clients with making complaints to the FPPC, and responding to and resolving complaints, investigations, and enforcement actions. This practice includes working with clients on strategic decision making surrounding violations of campaign finance and other political laws to avoid potential enforcements.
Ms. Gibson also has unique experience in the area of education law, including guiding clients through often complex territory transfer petitions and appeals related to the same.
- Arata v. Cooper, Case No. A159487 (Cal. Ct. App., 1st Dist., Nov. 2020): successfully defended a ballot question adopted by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority for Measure J, which appeared on the ballot at the March 3, 2020 election.
- Molloy v. Vu, 42 Cal. App. 5th 746 (2019): represented referendum proponents as real parties in interest to successfully defend proponents referendum petition’s compliance with the Election Code’s full text requirement.
- Wilson v. County of Napa, 9 Cal. App. 5th 178 (2017), rev. denied, 2017 Cal. LEXIS 4112 (Cal., May 24, 2017): represented Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Winegrowers of Napa County, and Napa County Farm Bureau as amicus curiae in support of the County of Napa in successful defense of the County Registrar of Voters’ rejection of initiative petition that failed to comply with the California Election Code’s “full text” rule.
- Ms. Gibson has been a co-editor of the Practising Law Institute’s “Corporate Political Activities” publication regarding federal campaign finance limitations.