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David M. McLaughlin Has Been One of California’s Best Commercial Litigation Attorneys for the Past Twenty-Six Years

published May 20, 2013

By Follow Me on

( 55 votes, average: 4.7 out of 5)

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Personal Life

David McLaughlin, commercial litigation attorney in California
David M. McLaughlin has been a partner at Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley in the Redwood City office since 1994. He joined the firm in January 1988. Mr. McLaughlin has a varied commercial litigation and trial practice, which concentrates on product liability, employment, real estate and intellectual property issues. In addition to settling hundreds of cases through mediation, Mr. McLaughlin has won multiple binding arbitrations and jury trials.

The attorney's legal experience includes counseling executives, employers, distributors, product manufacturers, and law firms and their principles regarding employment (wage and hour, discrimination, harassment, termination, retaliation), product liability, trade secrets, warranty, intellectual property protection, business, fraud, unfair competition, defamation, contract and other issues concerning dispute resolution. Mr. McLaughlin also focuses on the corporate aspects of commercial policies and has served clients in industries ranging from real estate and hospitality, cable television and the Internet to automotive, and biotechnology. He is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

Over the years, Mr. McLaughlin has been awarded with several distinctions. He holds an "AV" (pre-eminent) Martindale-Hubbell rating, which is the highest rating presented to any individual lawyer. Mr. McLaughlin has been named in Who's Who in American Law and was named by Northern California Super Lawyers magazine. He was chosen as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment in The American Lawyer & Corporate Counsel magazines. Mr. McLaughlin was also featured in A.M. Best Lawyers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He was born in Stanford and raised in Palo Alto, CA. Mr. McLaughlin graduated with a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and earned his J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law.

When the fearless attorney isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his family, skiing, and playing tennis and golf. Mr. McLaughlin is married and has two daughters and one son. He spends most of his free time attending his children's soccer, basketball, and lacrosse games. Mr. McLaughlin also loves to watch his daughters perform in dance shows and competitions.

He enjoys the San Francisco 49ers and Giants, Golden State Warriors and all of UCLA's teams. Mr. McLaughlin's favorite author is Gabriel García Márquez and he is currently reading novels written by Cormac McCarthy and just finished The Road. He is a frequent visitor of the San Francisco Peninsula's Thai, Vietnamese and Mexican restaurants and Menlo Park's Left Bank restaurant.

Mr. McLaughlin's Successful Law Career

Does Mr. McLaughlin have a most memorable law school experience? He said there wasn't one thing that stood out during law school. Graduation was the highlight. "It was nice to get through the Bar examination right after law school and then head to Europe for six weeks after attending six weddings in August."

The Super Lawyer was asked if he received any awards or participated in any internship that influenced his decision to go into the law. Mr. McLaughlin recalled his internship with Arista Records while he attended UCLA. Although he said the internship did not influence his decision to go into the law, Mr. McLaughlin acknowledged that he didn't like the music business. The internship steered him away from the music industry.

Why did Mr. McLaughlin decide to become an attorney? He explained that he attended law school because he wanted to receive a good education. Mr. McLaughlin was not thinking about becoming an attorney. However, he enjoyed law school and considered obtaining a Masters Degree in Philosophy or English. The attorney continued to say, "I didn't plan on becoming Perry Mason, but once I got a job, the case load created a law practice rhythm that continues to now."
So what is the best part of his job? "Having control of what I do. I am my own boss." Mr. McLaughlin also noted that the second best part of his job was getting new business.

What is the trial lawyer known for professionally? "My deposition style and cross examination."
Is there an area of the law he is most passionate about? "Product liability and employment."

What does Mr. McLaughlin think about the legal field today? "Technology has played a pivotal role in altering the practice of law and delivery of legal services." Mr. McLaughlin pointed out that emails, mobile devices and electronic legal research has changed the industry. He also stated, "It's hard for young attorneys to get the same experience I had early in my career with depositions, arbitrations and jury trials."

If he weren't a lawyer, what would Mr. McLaughlin probably be doing? "Writing fiction."
The trial lawyer was asked where he sees himself in five years' time. He jokingly said, "Looking out the same window I am looking out now." Mr. McLaughlin expressed that he doesn't see a dramatic change in the next five years. He will still be working for his clients and resolving their disputes.

What motivates Mr. McLaughlin to be an attorney everyday? "The responsibility to handle my clients' cases and [that] they trust me to figure [out] a way to solve their problems."

High Profile Cases

Mr. McLaughlin handled an intellectual property matter for Major League Baseball Hall of Fame player Willie Mays. After a United Kingdom company cybersquatted on the Internet domain name, Mr. McLaughlin filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mays with the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. The case was resolved when Mays agreed to autograph two baseballs in exchange for a transfer of the domain name to Mr. Mays. How was this experience? Mr. McLaughlin replied, "I had to track the owner down and serve the lawsuit." He said the U.K. company was represented by an American attorney based in Barcelona, Spain. "Getting the domain name helped launch the website in conjunction with the release of Willie's autobiography."

Mr. McLaughlin represented Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC in catastrophic injury and death cases. One case involved six plaintiffs and two coordinated cases. While a vehicle cruised at high speed on a two-lane highway, the tire failed which caused a head on accident. One driver was instantly killed in the tragedy. The lawsuit was settled during mediation. What did Mr. McLaughlin learn from this case? "I was reminded how dangerous a collision could be on a two way highway without a median barrier." He has learned over the years a great deal about cars and tires and has worked with some of the finest product liability lawyers in the country.

The trial lawyer also represented a biotechnology/life sciences company called Applied Biosystems and Applera (now known as Life Technologies, Inc.) in copyright protection and trade secrets issues regarding gene sequencing devices and human identification DNA test kits, which utilize the Nobel prize winning polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification technology. Mr. McLaughlin defeated several subpoenas requesting unpublished developmental validation and trade secret information. The cases were argued in federal and state courts in South Africa, Canada, Germany, Australia, New York, Florida, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Colorado, Oregon, Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada, Kansas, California, Missouri, Louisiana, Washington D.C. and Washington state. Was this a complicated case to handle? Mr. McLaughlin admitted, "The DNA test kit and system was complex, but that's what made the case fun and challenging." The attorney acknowledged that the disputes lasted for three years and he was involved with writing one of the user manuals for the biotechnology/life sciences company. Mr. McLaughlin added, "Handling these disputes was one of the best experiences I've had in my career."

Mentoring Others, Nonprofit Organizations, and Speaking Engagements

Does Mr. McLaughlin mentor attorneys? "I mentor to some extent a few of the young attorneys in our office."

Is the attorney involved with any nonprofit organizations? "Some of my cases have been for nonprofit organizations such as the Color of Change."

Mr. McLaughlin also conducts seminars regarding preventing sexual harassment and creating respectful workplace practices. The attorney was asked if he's surprised at how common sexual harassment is in the workplace. "Ten years ago I was surprised, but now I have concluded it's part of human nature and it will continue to go on." How can businesses prevent sexual harassment from happening? Mr. McLaughlin said companies must set polices and enforce their polices when sexual harassment occurs. He also advises companies to investigate sexual harassment complaints immediately and take disciplinary action if an individual(s) is found engaged in misconduct.

Will Mr. McLaughlin continue his speaking engagements? "I will continue to accept speaking opportunities from time to time, as time allows." Although Mr. McLaughlin said it is difficult to find extra time to prepare materials and speak while practicing law, one project on his desk is to develop an expertise in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known by many Americans as Obamacare. Mr. McLaughlin believes many employers and businesses do not understand their rights and obligations under the PPACA and it will be fully implemented in February 2014.

Please see this article to find out if litigation is right for you: Why Most Attorneys Have No Business Being Litigators: Fifteen Reasons Why You Should Not Be a Litigator

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( 55 votes, average: 4.7 out of 5)
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