Elise R. SanguinettiFounding partner at
Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos LLP

Who fights for kids who have been hurt by those sworn to do no harm?

Elise Sanguinetti,
that’s who.

The One Who Fights for All

“When I can find a place in the law where we don’t see representation and we believe that we can be helpful, that’s something we’re really interested in doing.”

That’s what’s on Elise R. Sanguinetti’s mind when she comes to work every day. As a trial lawyer and founding partner at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos LLP, helping those in need – no matter the need – isn’t just her priority. It’s her creed.

Mass tort. Class action. Sexual assault. Products liability. Medical malpractice. Prisoner abuse. There’s almost no plaintiff’s civil litigation case Elise hasn’t represented since founding the Los Angeles–based firm just over 7 years ago.

“Representing people, not companies – that is our main focus as a firm,” says Elise.

Finding her footing… and her purpose

It’s true that Elise always felt compelled to help people. From a very young age, Elise knew there was something special about lawyers, because that’s what they did – helped people. But without any family members who practiced law, it was difficult to bridge the gap.

Fortunately, all it took was just one family friend, a lawyer, to ignite the spark. Elise had a lot of respect for what he did, which led her to a degree in political science at San Diego State University and, eventually, her Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

During her time in higher education, Elise found her passion in constitutional law – a subject that married her love of America’s legal system and her dedication to helping those in need.

“It showed me what a difference our courts make,” says Elise.

It was then, and after working for a few judges and seeing the work of other trial lawyers, that Elise found trial work.

“I just loved the impact you could make by being in front of a jury and being an advocate for individuals,” she said. “I knew that’s really what I wanted to do.”

From there, her mission was clear: believe in her victims, tell their powerful stories, and be the best advocate possible. The rest would – and certainly did – fall into place.

A transcendent track record: from Sacramento to D.C.

For the next several years, Elise continued representing and fighting for individuals who had been harmed, namely by corporations, as her primary practice. Yet, her work also transcended courtrooms, reaching both Sacramento, CA, and the nation’s capitol, Washington DC.

“My husband and I bought our first house in 2000, and part of that process was signing stacks of paperwork,” says Elise. “I actually read them all because I’m a lawyer.” And it was a good thing she did.

“I saw language which was restrictive of the race of individuals and the number of individuals of a certain race that could be on my property,” remembers Elise. From there, she set out to find a way to remove that language not just from her title documents, but from all title documents in the state of California.

“It was a long, difficult process,” she said. “I [was] a well-seasoned trial lawyer and I had a really hard time getting it done. I didn’t want others to go through that same process.”

That’s when Elise started offering pro-bono legal services to – you guessed it – help others, identifying and removing racist language from their property title documents. As a result of her perseverance, in 2022, the state of California passed a law that required all counties to find and remove any property deeds containing racist language.

Another experience that staked her claim in the American justice system was her time as president of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) from 2017 through 2019.

“While I was president, I had a very large focus on protecting women or individuals from sexual assault predators,” Elise said. “We [worked] on legislation that prevents anyone from forcing a sexual assault victim into forced arbitration – and that is now national law.”


“Representing people, not companies – that is our main focus as a firm.”

Elise Sanguinetti

Founding partner at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos LLP

Redefining what it means to be a trial lawyer

While affecting change at the state and federal levels is undoubtedly paramount to her work, it’s not necessarily what people expect of a trial lawyer.

“I wish they knew that we’re here to help them when they’re at their lowest because that’s what we do,” Elise says. “When somebody has gone through something traumatic, our hope is to take some of that burden off them.”

This is the crux of Elise’s work and the work of Arias Sanguinetti as a firm. Those hurt and in need get the help they need – full stop. Whether it’s in their personal life or part of the court case, Elise is supporting her clients every step of the way, however she can.

“I think a really effective trial lawyer is someone who knows how to tell a story to a jury and to have [them] understand what an individual has gone through,” says Elise.

That’s precisely why Elise gets to know her clients in the way that she does. Strong rapport helps her lead with empathy and compassion – two of her most important guiding principles.

Behind the scenes at

Arias Sanguinetti Trial Lawyers

Always looking up

Elise Sanguinetti tells us that her favorite part of being a trial lawyer is getting to write. Because so much of a judge’s decision depends on the writing attorneys put in front of them, Elise uses it as an opportunity to truly advocate for her clients.

A proud moment

In 2010, the AAJ awarded Elise the prestigious Joe Tonahill Award, the highest honor bestowed by the New Lawyers Division. Hanging in her office, the award honors the spirit of Joe Tonahill, an outstanding defender of the civil justice system and exemplary trial lawyer.

Growth: a good challenge is still a challenge

Through its successes, Arias Sanguinetti has since widened its reach to serve both Los Angeles, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. However, Elise mentioned that growth is still a lingering hurdle.

“It’s a good challenge, but it is a challenge,” she says. “There’s a lot of time that [me] and my other partners spend making sure we are expanding in a smart way and providing our team with the best opportunity to do good for others.”

Fortunately, their partnership with Esquire Bank has made all the difference, enabling Arias Sanguinetti to expand and seek more justice than ever – even as a brand-new law firm.

“Esquire Bank really saw potential in myself and my partners and gave us the support we needed to go out and make our vision come true,” Elise says.

Arias Sanguinetti was drawn to Esquire Bank because, unlike traditional lenders, Esquire understood the type of work plaintiff lawyers – like Elise – do every single day.

“Esquire provided us an opportunity to not only build our business from the ground up, but [also] continue to grow and see what our potential is,” says Elise. “Most importantly, Esquire allowed us to help more people through our own expansion.”

“Full-circle moment” doesn’t begin to describe her partnership with Esquire, but one thing’s for certain: with Esquire Bank in her corner, Elise can continue helping people in need and seeking justice for them, no matter how tenacious the fight.

“It’s a fight that never ends,” says Elise. “[But] having a civil justice system that sets us apart from any other country is one that’s worth fighting for.”