Jean L. Bertrand is a well-regarded strategic litigator and seasoned trial lawyer. Her 37 years of experience includes dozens of jury trials, several arbitrations, and multiple appellate arguments. As an archrival once said, “Jean knows her way around a courtroom.”

As a litigator, Jean is always looking for the winning solution. She focuses her practice primarily on commercial litigation, real estate litigation and toxic torts, drawing on her substantial trial and appellate experience to help her clients achieve successful outcomes. Extensively experienced in the administration of complex litigation, Jean’s clients benefit from her emphasis on cost-containment techniques.

Jean’s enviable record of wins ranges from commercial real estate cases to defenses of asbestos product liability cases to prosecuting insurance coverage cases.

Her peers have recognized her experience and deep bench of knowledge by naming her to leadership positions in the State Bar of California, Commercial Real Estate Women and the American College of Mortgage Attorneys. Jean is a thought leader who has written and spoken on various topics, including alternative fee arrangements and cost-containment solutions.

A founding attorney and former managing partner of Morgenstein & Jubelirer, Jean joined Schiff Hardin in 2007, when the two firms combined.

Previous Experience

Jean joined Schiff Hardin when the firm combined with Morgenstein & Jubelirer in 2007. One of Morgenstein & Jubelirer’s founding attorneys, she served as the firm’s managing partner from 1984 to 1986 and again from 1993 to 1997. Prior to joining Morgenstein & Jubelirer, she practiced at Steinhart, Falconer & Morgenstein.

  • Experience

    • Jean recovered millions of dollars in the settlement of fraud cases brought on behalf of mortgage banking companies.
    • Jean has successfully defended asbestos product liability cases for major national and multi-national corporations.
    • When a former railroad/landowner was involved in a complex environmental contamination and insurance coverage dispute, Jean provided successful representation.
    • Jean successfully briefed and argued before the California Supreme Court in Alliance v. Rothwell, 10 Cal. 4th 1226 (1995).
    • Jean recovered millions of dollars from a title insurer involving multiple parcels of mining property with an extraordinarily complex title history.
    • Jean successfully argued before the California Court of Appeals in Cadlo v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 125 Cal. App. 4th 513 (2004).
    • In several multimillion-dollar lawsuits contesting a utilities' interpretation of long-term alternative energy contracts, Jean served as lead counsel.
    • Jean was responsible for administering a counsel-sharing agreement among several corporations, that involved coordinating the defense of approximately 10,000 asbestos cases in seven states and supervising more than 80 lawyers and paralegals involved in the defense effort.
  • Credentials


    • University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1978, magna cum laude
      Order of the Coif
      Michigan Law Review, Member
    • University of Michigan, B.A., History, 1975, with high honors
      Phi Beta Kappa

    Bar Admissions

    • California
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
    • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

        Professional Memberships

        • American College of Mortgage Attorneys, Regent
        • Commercial Real Estate Women – San Francisco, Former Board of Directors Member
        • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow
        • State Bar of California, Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (2009-2011)
        • State Bar of California, Real Property Law Section, Past Chair
        • State Bar of California, Committee on Administration of Justice, Past Chair
        • State Bar of California, Committee on Rules and Procedures of Court, Past Chair
      • Insights

        News Release

        Jean Bertrand Named to 2017 Northern California Super Lawyers Women’s Edition

        Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that Partner Jean Bertrand has been named to Super Lawyers’ 2017 Northern California Women’s Edition.

        News Release

        Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2018 The Best Lawyers in America

        Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that five attorneys have been named a “Lawyer of the Year” in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.

        News Release

        Schiff Hardin Attorneys Named to 2017 Northern California Super Lawyers Lists

        Six Schiff Hardin attorneys have been recognized on the 2017 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

        News Release
        News Release

        53 Schiff Hardin Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2017

        Three Schiff Hardin attorneys also received the prestigious Best Lawyers’ 2017 “Lawyer of the Year” award.

        News Release

        Five Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2016 Northern California Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Lists

        The Super Lawyers selection methodology includes a statewide nomination process, peer review by practice area, and independent research on candidates.

        News Release

        63 Schiff Hardin Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2016

        Of the 64 Schiff Hardin attorneys honored by Best Lawyers, three Schiff Hardin attorneys were also nominated for Best Lawyers’ 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” in Chicago

        Other Publications

        Speeches & Presentations

        • "Evidence: Objecting to Expert Opinion Testimony at Trial," (speaker) Continuing Education of the Bar, University of California (Feb. 23, 2016)
        • "The Meaning of Rights of First Offer and First Refusal in a Commercial Lease, and Other Interesting Contract Issues," 2015 California State Bar Real Property Law Section Annual Retreat (May 1-3, 2015)
        • “Has the News of the Death of the Billable Hour Been Greatly Exaggerated?” 2013 American Bar Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Calif. (Aug. 8, 2013)
        • “Ethics: Alternative Fee Arrangements,” Windy City Litigation Management Conference, Chicago (Jun. 17, 2011)
        • “Breaking Free from the Billable Hour: Making Alternative Fee Arrangements Work for Your Practice,” American Bar Association Law Practice Management Webinar (Jun. 16, 2011)
        • “Expanding Your Circle of Influence,” (panelist) When She Speaks: Women in Leadership Series, San Francisco (May 19, 2011)