Sean Gates

Contact Details


16 N. Marengo Ave. Suite 300, Pasadena, CA 91101


I am a trial lawyer who represents companies in commercial litigation and a former “big law” partner who decided to cut a different path. After 20 years with some of the leading national firms and a stint as a government enforcer, I founded Charis Lex to bring my brand of hands-on, principled advocacy to a wider range of businesses.

I’ve been fortunate to have a few folks say nice things about my work. I was described as a “talented litigator” with an “excellent attention to detail,” “who efficiently manages discovery with an eye toward summary judgment and trial” in Chambers USA. I was named an “Attorney of the Year” by California Lawyer. I have been listed among the Southern California Super Lawyers. I’ve been called a “real trial lawyer.”

Although I’ve tried cases involving a range of issues—such as stock option contracts, trade secrets, fraudulent conveyances, and patent infringement damages—I have a particular expertise in antitrust. I had the honor of serving as a deputy assistant director at the Federal Trade Commission, leading enforcement actions challenging anticompetitive conduct. While I was there, I was privileged to serve as trial counsel in a couple of high-profile actions. I received the Distinguished Service Award for my work at the FTC.

I take my craft seriously. Trial skills and substantive legal expertise don’t just happen. I am a graduate of the ABOTA Trial Academy. I served as an instructor in Mock Trial Advocacy at the Georgetown University Law Center. I regularly publish on substantive issues. In addition, I serve in the leadership of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law and have been a non-governmental advisor to the International Competition Network.



Commercial Litigation

Law Firm

Charis Lex P.C.

Area of Practice

Antitrust, Business Litigation



Professional Affiliations

State Bar of California, ABOTA Trial Academy, ABA Section of Antitrust Law, International Competition Network


University of California, Hastings College of the Law (J.D., summa cum laude, 1996); University of California, Berkeley (B.S., 1989).