Add a bookmark to get started

Jeff Tsai

Jeffrey Tsai


Managing Partner, San Francisco office

Co-Chair, State AG group

He knows the law, but more importantly, he knows how to work with opposing counsel and the state attorneys general offices.
client quote from Chambers USA 2021

Jeff Tsai is a leading attorney in criminal and civil enforcement matters brought by state and federal regulators. He is the managing partner of the firm's San Francisco office and the co-chair of the firm’s State Attorneys General practice.

Jeff is nationally recognized by Chambers and Partners. He represents companies subject to investigative scrutiny by individual and multistate attorneys general and related federal regulators such as the Federal Trade Commission. Jeff's matters have focused on issues ranging from consumer protection (unfair/deceptive trade practices) to antitrust to healthcare. His clients cover industries that have been the subject of recent state attorney general enforcement, including e-commerce, fintech, daily fantasy sports, travel/hospitality, and online higher education.

Jeff also actively defends white-collar matters in investigations and trials, including representations involving trade secret theft and economic espionage, complex frauds, and public corruption. He has tried more than 20 federal trials, including the prosecution of former US Senator John Edwards for violations of federal campaign finance laws in connection with his 2008 primary campaign for president and another prosecution that became the subject of a non-fiction book and television documentary program. Jeff served as first-chair counsel in one of the few federal criminal trade secret prosecutions to proceed to trial in the United States.

Jeff was a special assistant attorney general of California and principal advisor to former Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on issues related to criminal justice, corporate accountability, and intellectual property enforcement. He also supervised high-profile enforcement actions involving California's False Claims Act, Unfair Competition Law, environmental regulations, and campaign finance laws.

In the federal government, Jeff served as a federal prosecutor and senior policy official at a US Attorney's Office, as well as at Main Justice in Washington.

Jeff is frequently called upon for legal commentary and analysis, and he has been featured on news networks such as CNN and MSNBC.

Bar admissionsCaliforniaDistrict of Columbia


  • Served as first-chair trial counsel for a Southern California department store chain in a civil consumer protection lawsuit brought by the California Attorney General’s Office
  • Served as first-chair trial counsel for a renewable energy company prosecuted for criminal economic espionage and conspiracy by the US Attorney's Office and Main Justice
  • Represent multiple technology companies across various sectors – among them retail, mobile payments, travel/hospitality, online higher education, and entertainment – in consumer protection investigations and prosecutions by state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission
  • Lead outside counsel on ethics and compliance issues for the organizing committee for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles
  • As a federal prosecutor, tried a former US senator and presidential candidate on charges of federal campaign finance violations in the Middle District of North Carolina
  • As a federal prosecutor, obtained a trial conviction for a quadruple-homicide and hijacking conspiracy in international water. The case became the subject of the book Murder on the High Seas: The True Story of the Joe Cool's Tragic Final Voyage
  • As special assistant attorney general, negotiated California's US$210 million settlement of its False Claims Act and Unfair Competition Law litigation against a leading investment rating agency in a global resolution totaling more than US$1 billion
  • As a special assistant attorney general, negotiated a landmark agreement in Mexico City between five US state attorneys general and Mexico's federal government on anti-money laundering enforcement and intelligence sharing

Government Service

  • Special Assistant Attorney General, Executive Office of California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris
  • Assistant US Attorney, Southern District of Florida
  • Trial Attorney, Public Integrity Section – Criminal Division, US Justice Department
  • Senior Counsel to the Assistant US Attorney General for the Criminal Division, US Justice Department
  • J.D., Georgetown University
  • B.A., University of Texas at Austin


Chambers USA

  • Band 2, Nationwide State Attorneys General (2021-2024) 

The Legal 500 United States

  • Next Generation Partner, State Attorneys General (2023-2024)
  • Recommended, Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense (2019)
Additional Awards
  • Thomson Reuters, "Stand-out Lawyer" (2023)
  • University of Texas at Austin Alumni Association - Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award (2014)
  • US Department of Justice - Special Achievement Award (2010)
  • FBI Director's Recognition Award (2007, 2009)


  • "Coronavirus Stimulus Fraud May Be A Target For State AGs,", April 9, 2020
  • Co-author, "State AGs seek to fill CFPB vacuum," Daily Journal, May 4, 2018
  • "The Yates Memo: What Companies Need to Know,", September 24, 2015


  • "Impeachment – Now What?," American Constitution Society – Bay Area, November 25, 2019
  • "California Privacy Law 2019: The Regulator Perspective," Practising Law Institute, September 26, 2019
  • "The GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act and a Possible Federal Privacy Act," Federal Bar Association, April 25, 2019
  • "The Presidency, the Special Counsel, and the Rule of Law," American Constitution Society – Bay Area, March 20, 2019
  • "State AG Enforcement Trends," 32nd Annual National Institute on White-Collar Crime, American Bar Association, February 28 – March 2, 2018
  • "Navigating the State AG Waters," 31st Annual Corporate Counsel Conference, National Bar Association, February 15 – 17, 2018
  • "By Tweet or by Law: Predicting the Government’s Enforcement Priorities in the Age of Trump," National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Annual Convention, November 2 – 4, 2017
  • "The Golden Rule: The California Experiment and the Role of State AGs in Fostering American Innovation," Conference of Western Attorneys General Annual Meeting, July 31 – August 2, 2017
  • "The Mexico Security Challenge and Its Impact on the United States," Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, The University of Texas at Austin, October 20, 2016
  • "Corruption's New Arena: International Sports in a Post-FIFA World," American Bar Association Annual Meeting, August 4 – 7, 2016
  • "State AG Enforcement: What Your Company Needs to Know," 2016 Legal & Regulatory Conference, Personal Care Products Panel, May 4, 2016
  • "Understanding the Yates Memo: The Justice Department's Renewed Focus on Individuals in Combatting Corporate Crime," Continuing Legal Education Panel, Bar Association of San Francisco, January 14, 2016
  • "The 'Gumbo' of Civil Fraud Enforcement: The False Claims Act, FIRREA, and a New Era in Federal and State Governments’ Enforcement Against Fraud," National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Annual Convention, November 4-8, 2015
  • "Brand Protection in the Internet Age: Combatting Cybersecurity Threats to IP," International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition Fall Conference, October 21 – 23, 2015
  • "Keynote Address, "The State of Human Trafficking in California and Los Angeles," 2015 Global Human Trafficking Conference, Slavery No More, February 2015
  • "Corporate Social Responsibility: Why 'Doing the Right Thing' is Now a Legal Imperative," Conference on Supply Chain Integrity and Corporate Social Responsibility, University of Chicago Law School Corporate Lab, September 2014
  • "New Priorities for State and Local Law Enforcement," Conference on Shifting Law Enforcement Goals to Reduce Mass Incarceration, Brennan Center for Justice (New York University School of Law), September 2014
  • "Preventing and Addressing Trafficking in Persons in Global Supply Chains," United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights (Geneva, Switzerland), December 2013

Media Mentions

Clerk Experience

  • Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore, United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Civic and charitable

  • Planning Commission, Tiburon, California
  • Chinese Historical Society of America, Board of Directors
  • University of Texas at Austin, Development Board

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Georgetown University Law Center, Board of Visitors
  • American Bar Association, Criminal Justice magazine, Editorial Board
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, University of Texas at Austin, Senior Fellow (Former)
  • California State Bar, Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission (Former)



+1 415 615 6055
(Work, San Francisco)
+1 310 595 3068
(Work, Los Angeles)