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Christophe Elliott Skinnell

Litigation Attorney at San Rafael, CA

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About Christophe

Learn Christophe’s areas of practice.

Practice areas

Chris Skinnell is a partner practicing law and civil litigation relating to elections, state and local initiative and referenda, redistricting and voting rights, campaign finance, tribal gaming, and general constitutional and government law issues. He advises clients and litigates on a broad range of election, government, and political law related matters, including serving as the firm’s lead partner on conflict-of-interest issues. He also serves as the firm’s General Counsel.

Mr. Skinnell has considerable expertise in redistricting and voting rights. He has advised scores of counties, cities, school districts and special districts on compliance with state and federal laws governing redistricting; has counseled many additional public entity clients regarding the requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act and the California Voting Rights Act; has represented public entity defendants in several leading CVRA cases; and has represented amici curiae in several leading voting rights and redistricting cases before the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Skinnell has also litigated a number of constitutional issues related to campaign finance regulations, property rights, the use of public funds in connection with ballot measure campaigns, and the legality of various electoral systems.

He has also served as counsel to a number of ballot measure committees, independent expenditure committees, and political action committees.

Mr. Skinnell is a member of the Board of Governors of the Rose Institute of State & Local Government at Claremont McKenna College.

In 2019, 2020, and 2021, Mr. Skinnell was selected as a Northern California Super Lawyer, and he was the subject of a feature article in the 2020 edition of Super Lawyer magazine entitled “The Electioneer.”. He had previously been named a Rising Star five times, from 2013-2017. Only the top 5 percent of all attorneys in California are named as Super Lawyers. They are selected through peer nominations and evaluations along with third-party research.

Sacramento magazine selected Mr. Skinnell for inclusion in its list of Top Lawyers of 2015. Attorneys were selected for inclusion on the list through a survey of Sacramento-area attorneys conducted for Sacramento magazine by Professional Research Services.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Skinnell worked as a political consultant to several California legislative and initiative campaigns; as a research associate at the Rose Institute; and as the chairman of a successful initiative campaign in Southern California.

Licensed for 19 years
State CA
Status Active
Acquired 2003
Updated 09/07/2022

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Contact Christophe

Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni
2350 Kerner Boulevard
Suite 250
San Rafael, CA, 94901-5596
Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni
1415 L Street
Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA, 95814-3976
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AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Partner
  • 2013 - Present
  • Associate
  • 2003 - 2012
  • Editor-in-Chief
  • University of Chicago Legal Forum
  • 2002 - 2003
  • Summer Associate
  • 2002 - 2002
  • Summer Associate
  • Cooper & Kirk, PLLC
  • 2001 - 2001
  • Research Associate
  • Rose Institute of State & Local Government
  • 1995 - 2000
View all work experience


  • University of Chicago Law School
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2003
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • B.A., magna cum laude
  • 1999

Legal Cases

  • Chang v. Glasco, Arcadia City Clerk, et al., Case No. 22STCP01633 (Los Angeles County Superior Court)
  • Judgment in favor of Respondent denying writ of mandate
  • Tate, et al. v. City of Morgan Hill, et al., Case No. 22CV396857 (Santa Clara County Superior Court)
  • Resolved by entry of stipulated judgment
  • Fugazi v. Padilla, Case No. 2:20-cv-00970-KJM-AC (E.D. Cal. filed May 12, 2020)
  • After TRO denied, action dismissed as moot
View all legal cases


  • Rose Institute of State & Local Government
  • Member, Board of Governors
  • 2016 - Present
  • California Political Attorneys Association
  • Member
  • 2003 - Present

Languages Spoken

  • English


  • Super Lawyer
  • Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 2022
  • Super Lawyer
  • Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 2021
  • Lawyers of Distinction
  • Sonoma Magazine
  • 2021
  • Subject of Feature Article, "The Electioneer"
  • Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 2020
  • Super Lawyer
  • Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 2019
  • Rising Star
  • Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 2017
  • Rising Star
  • Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 2016
  • Rising Star
  • Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 2015
  • Top Lawyers of 2015
  • Sacramento Magazine
  • 2015
  • Rising Star
  • Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 2014
  • Rising Star
  • Northern California Super Lawyers
  • 2013
View all awards


  • Los Angeles Daily Journal
  • Victory for California Voters, Too
  • 2015
  • CA County Magazine
  • Cover Story, Congress Considers Renewal of Two Key Sections of the Federal Voting Rights Act: California Elections Could See Dramatic Impacts (with Marguerite Mary Leoni)
  • 2006
  • Rose Institute of State & Local Government
  • The Political Consequences of Redistricting: Three Scenarios in 2001
  • 2000
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • CLE Brown Bag Webinar
  • 2021 Redistricting – What County Counsel Needs to Know
  • 2020
  • State Law Resources Group - Fall Meeting
  • Presentation, Census 2020 and Redistricting
  • 2019
  • Webinar, Practising Law Institute
  • The Supreme Court’s Shelby County & the Future of Voting Rights Enforcement
  • 2013
  • Webinar
  • Voting Rights in California
  • 2013
  • California Political Attorneys Association 2012 Annual Conference
  • Pay-to-Play: Here to Stay? A Discussion of a Recent Litigation Concerning Play-to-Play Rules, and Related Issues
  • 2012
  • Council on Governmental Ethics Laws - 2011 Annual Conference
  • Redistricting – Court Challenges & Legal Issues
  • 2011
  • California Political Attorneys Association 2009 Annual Conference
  • The Effect of Vargas v. City of Salinas on the Use of Public Funds in Ballot Measure Campaigns
  • 2009
  • 2009 Fall Forum & Meeting of the Standing Committees
  • The Voting Rights Act and the Next Redistricting Cycle
  • 2009
  • California Political Attorneys Association 2007 Annual Conference
  • Update on Political Law and Related Developments
  • 2007
  • Annual Conference, California State Assn of Counties
  • Congressional Renewal of Sections 5 & 203 of the Voting Rights Act
  • 2005
  • City Attorneys Annual Conference, League of California Cities
  • California Voting Rights Act (with Marguerite Mary Leoni)
  • 2003
View all speaking engagements

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San Rafael Litigation Lawyer Christophe Elliott Skinnell
Christophe Elliott Skinnell
Litigation Attorney
San Rafael, CA
Licensed for 19 years