Practice Areas

Sometimes people face big problems with few good choices.

I help people solve problems—collaboratively or via litigation in contested matters. I also mediate cases (

People, companies, government, and insurers have honored me by entrusting me with a wide variety of matters for many years. I have a broad background as a result, and bring a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving.

I’ve litigated multi-billion-dollar lawsuits with thousands of claimants, mass-toxic injury cases, complex environmental cases, land-use matters, business and corporate-law cases, divorce and custody matters, intellectual property and licensing matters—and many other kinds of disputes. More about practice areas and experience.

I’ve often served as outside corporate counsel—as the “ounce of prevention” handling business transactions and contracts, governance, employment, and other matters.

I’ve represented government entities (County of San Diego, City of San Diego, and others) as well as government officials.

Clients often prefer quick-and-efficient resolution to problems, where possible. Although litigation might be the best way to achieve solutions, litigants often prefer ADR—mediation, for example—when the case is ripe. Because I see merit in preserving assets and in achieving certainty in mediation, I serve as a mediator (see I serve or have served on four mediator panels, including mediator panels of the San Diego and Los Angeles Superior Courts, and the American Arbitration Association.

I’ve been honored with a Martindale-Hubbell A-V Preeminent rating (see profile). I’ve practiced civil litigation, corporate law, and government law since 1988, primarily in Southern California, and am now also a member of the Washington State Bar Association. I’ve represented individuals, companies large and small, government entities, insurers, contractors, developers, manufacturers, start-up companies—you name it.

I’ve learned a lot over two decades about efficiently litigating cases to excellent outcomes, and about negotiating solutions that bring a quick end to expensive, protracted litigation where possible. I’ve tried cases, appealed cases, arbitrated cases, and negotiated settlements in cases. I’ve litigated in state and federal courts, and before administrative tribunals.

As corporate counsel, I apply litigation-lessons-learned to help businesses seize opportunities while minimizing risk and preventing problems.

I’ve served as private-law-firm corporate counsel since 2003, and as in-house General Counsel (2011–2013). I’ve trained many companies about regulatory compliance, and about compliance with emerging law. I’ve created companies, managed them, ensured regulatory compliance, while managing risk. I’ve negotiated deals with some of the nation’s largest defense contractors—FAR, DFAR, and ITAR contract—and all kinds of agreements with mom & pop-businesses too.

I use surgical focus, never-ending tenacity, and relentless preparation to give my clients maximum value, while persuading or informing in the courtroom, boardroom, and at the bargaining table.

Integrity is doing the right thing. Even when no one is watching.
—C.S. Lewis

Civil Litigation

Over more than 30 years of practice I’ve litigated hundreds of lawsuits in state and federal court, and before regulatory agencies. I’ve tried them, appealed them, and resolved them through ADR. I’ve served as civil-litigation counsel for Fortune 500 companies, for other public and private entities, for governmental entities, and for individuals. I’ve had huge cases—with as many as 6,000 plaintiffs (I served as managing defense counsel in the $3.4 billion (adjusted) Erin Brockovich hexavalent-chromium cases)—and smaller, less-complex cases. Examples of the areas of law in which I’ve litigated cases are these:

  • Business disputes
    • Contracts
    • Partnership disputes
    • Shareholder issues
    • Retirement and benefits issues
    • Employment, labor, and collective bargaining issues
    • Interference with contract
  • Environmental
    • Property contamination
    • Regulatory violations, including NOVs, orders, citations, investigations, and hearing—both state-lawsuits and federal suits
      CERCLA, RCRA, and other federal and state statutes and regulations
    • Storm water
    • Permitting and violations of permits
  • Land use, zoning, and permitting
    • Easements
    • Rights of way
    • Utilities
  • Toxic torts
    • Inhalation exposure and lung injuries
    • Dermal exposure
    • Ingestive exposure
    • Carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, death
  • Contracts
    • Enforcement of contract
    • Reformation of contract
    • Breach of contract
    • Indemnity
  • Insurance
    • Insurance claims handling
    • Compliance with insurance regulations
    • Insurance coverage opinions
    • Insurance coverage
    • Insurance bad faith
  • Intellectual property
    • Copyright-infringement litigation
    • Trademark-infringement litigation
    • Unfair competition
    • Misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Products liability
    • Design defects
    • Failure to warn & product labeling
    • Manufacturing defects
    • Implied warranty
  • Labor and Employment
    • Collective bargaining
    • Sexual harassment
    • Worker pay and benefits
    • Employee separation
    • Worker safety
    • Workers’ compensation issues
  • Real estate
    • Leases
    • Purchase and sale
    • Premises liability
    • Nuisance, trespass, waste
    • Easements
  • Government entity
    • Government claims
    • Joint powers agreements
    • Permitting
    • Zoning
  • Administrative law
    • Contested hearings
    • Petitions, appeals, writs
    • Negotiations with regulators
  • Construction
    • Delay
    • Defects
    • Site injuries
    • Indemnity among contractors
    • Construction insurance
    • Permitting
    • Land use
  • Torts and personal injuries
    • Medical malpractice
    • Medical devices
    • Torts & personal injuries
    • Toxic torts
    • Wrongful death
  • Litigation management
    • Coordination with inside counsel and government counsel
    • Supervision of teams
    • Document control
    • Investigations of witnesses and records
    • Discovery, law and motion, trial preparation
    • Trials, appeals, ADR, arbitration
    • Federal and state court
    • Administrative tribunals
    • Relativity, MS Access, and other document-database, document-management, document-discovery and issue-coding tools

A true measure of your worth includes all the benefits others have gained from your success.<
—Cullen Hightower

Corporate Law and Corporate Counseling

With a depth of knowledge gained from civil litigation—serving as the pound of cure—I’ve learned a lot about how easily problems could have been prevented, if only folks had used an ounce of prevention. I’ve served many people and businesses as their business adviser and corporate counselor, helping to prevent problems while seizing opportunities. I’ve served in-house counsel for a startup tech company as General Counsel and as external corporate counsel for multiple other corporations and individuals. I’ve also served on corporate boards of directors. I bridge divides, act as the glue to cement or build relationships, fix things, build coalitions, and prevent issues from arising so that businesses can thrive. Here are some examples of corporate counseling work in which I have experience:

  • Contracts
    • Negotiation, drafting, and administration
    • Indemnity
    • Insurance
    • Real estate
    • Business
  • Construction
    • Permitting
    • Negotiation and drafting of agreements
  • Education
    • IEPs and Special Education FAP negotiations
    • Teacher contracts negotiations
    • Collective bargaining negotiations
    • Teacher retirement and benefits negotiations
  • Government-procurement contracts
    • Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)
    • Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFAR)
    • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
    • Teaming agreements
    • Risk-shifting specifications, and statements of work (SOWs)
    • PIAs, NDAs
  • Employment, labor, and vendors
    • Employment agreements
    • Partnership agreements
    • Vendor and consulting agreements
    • Collective-bargaining negotiation
    • Benefits and retirement
    • Hostile workplace and harassment
    • Contract disputes resolution
    • Worker safety, warnings, best practices
    • Dispute resolution and ADR
  • Corporate finance
    • Investor agreements
    • Private placement memoranda (PPMs)
    • SEC reporting
  • Risk management
    • Program development
    • Program review
    • Insurance-policies review
    • Insurance-coverage opinions
    • Risk-shifting-agreements creation
  • Counseling
    • Process controls
    • Industrial-hygiene practices
    • Workplace-safety consultation and OSHA compliance
    • Material Safety Data Sheets (MDSDs)
    • 911-dispatch protocols
    • Lease terms reviews
    • Pre-suit-claims negotiation
    • Crisis management and external message control
    • Warnings
      • Product-label-warnings review
      • Products instructions review
    • Employee training
    • Best practices to mitigate litigation risk
    • Creation of templates, checklists, guidebooks, methods, and ongoing training as to emerging law and compliance, including regulatory compliance
  • Government investigations
    • Responses to regulators
    • Regulatory compliance
      Negotiations with regulators
    • Administrative hearings
    • Regulatory compliance
    • Emerging-law advice, updates, templates, procedures
    • Employee training
  • Intellectual property
    • Licensing
    • Inventor agreements
    • Employment agreements with automatic assignment
    • NDAs, PIAs, university-sponsored research agreements
    • Government-contractor teaming agreements
    • Joint ventures
    • Productization of ideas
    • Trade secrets program creation and administration
  • Mergers and Acquisitions (M & A)
    • Businesses
    • Hard assets
    • Intellectual property
    • Personnel acquisition
    • Due diligence reivew
  • eCommerce
    • Privacy policies
    • Terms and conditions
    • COPPA
  • Document control
    • Investigations
    • Document management, retention, destruction, production, databasing
  • General corporate law
    • Entity formation
    • Shareholder agreements
    • Governance, articles, bylaws, consents, resolutions
    • Creation of entities, subsidiaries
    • Employee agreements and employee relations
    • Private placement memoranda (PPMs)
    • SEC reporting
    • Dispute resolution
    • General problems-troubleshooting.

Collaborative Law—Civil and Divorce

I love solving cases collaboratively. Litigation is expensive, time-consuming, stressful, and uncertain.

In collaborative cases, I work as part of a team hired to solve the matter without litigation. Each party has an attorney and/or other experts, all of whom work together to solve the problem—without litigation.

The parties and the collaborative team agree that they’ll not litigate or be part of litigation in the event the problem cannot be solved collaboratively, which is rare.

In traditional litigation, collboration occurs at times—and I’ve created collaborative frameworks and worked with lawyers collaboratively for decades. I’ve created joint-defense teams and other ways of working together to get things done.

But in traditional litigation, there always is the threat that if the matter cannot be resolved, the matter will get back into the litigation mode—back to chewing through vast sums of money quickly. 

Seems like too many litigators are so used to being the hammer in litigation mode that they lose sight of other ways of problem-solving. If the only tool you have to solve problems is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

More recently, I’ve added to my own set of tools and sharpened my collaborative skills with formal collaborative-law training—and I love formal collaborative-law problem solving!  Like mediation, the parties in collaborative-law matters decide for themselves how their case ends; they don’t rely on a judge or jury to decide for them. And as in more traditional litigation, the parties have all the support and expertise of lawyers and other professionals, including CPAs, real-estate experts, economists, therapists, coaches—whoever is beneficial to getting the dispute end in the best way possible. The parties save money, avoiding the stress and time consumption of litigation, and create for themselves a new path forward.


I love helping people, putting deals together, creating harmony out of discord, and making things work to the benefit of both sides.  I’ve beeen mediating cases since 2003, and have served on two court panels (San Diego and Los Angeles Superior Courts), on two private panels (American Arbitration Association and Savannah Mediation Center), and privately.

See for more detail, for a free consultation, and to learn more about mediation.

See LinkedIn for more profile information.