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Joseph W. Cotchett

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in Burlingame, CA

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP
840 Malcolm Road, Suite 200
Burlingame, CA 94010
Phone: 650-697-6000
Fax: 650-697-0577
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2022
Licensed in California Since: 1965
Practice Areas: Business Litigation, Civil Rights, Consumer Law
Attorney Profile

A founding partner of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, Joseph W. Cotchett has fought for the rights of his clients against powerful entities and individuals. He has done so for more than five decades from his office in San Francisco, California. Widely recognized across the nation, Mr. Cotchett's legal practice is divided between the areas of business litigation, civil rights and consumer law.

Mr. Cotchett was first licensed to practice law in 1965 when he graduated with his Juris Doctor from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America directory every year since it was first published. As a trial litigator, Mr. Cotchett has been recognized as a top attorney in Northern California and among the 10 best in the state. He holds an AV Preeminent* rating from his peers through Martindale-Hubbell.

Over his long career, Mr. Cotchett has litigated more than one hundred cases through trial and has negotiated favorable settlements in hundreds more. In the 1980s, Mr. Cotchett made a name for himself by winning numerous complex cases with verdicts and settlements in the hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients. The Los Angeles | San Francisco Daily Journal characterized him as one of the top trial strategists in California. He has represented investors in white collar and antitrust actions, securing major awards and settlements against multiple Wall Street hedge funds and investment firms. His firm has been involved in many major corporate scandals, fighting for the rights of underdogs and winning for them. He is dedicated to giving back and his dedicated himself to pro bono representation. This includes representing 7,600 Amerasian children who were left behind in the Philippines after a military base closure.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice Areas
  • 40%Business Litigation
  • 30%Civil Rights
  • 30%Consumer Law
Focus Areas

Consumer Protection


19 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2022

Top Lists

Articles about Joseph W. Cotchett appearing in Super Lawyers

About Joseph W. Cotchett

First Admitted: 1965, California

Professional Webpage:

Educational Background

  • California State Polytechnic University, B.S. in Engineering, Honor: Outstanding Graduate, 1960

Bar/Professional Activity

  • California Bar
  • California Bar Association
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • The International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • The American Board of Trial Advocates, Advocate
  • New York Bar
  • New York Bar Association
  • The International Society of Barristers, Fellow
  • California Inns of Court, Master


  • Distinguished Jurisprudence Award, Anti-Defamation League, 1996
  • 1997-2021 Top 100 Lawyers in California list by Daily Journal, Top 100 Lawyers in California, Daily Journal
  • Presidential Award of Merit, Consumer Attorneys of California, 2000
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, 2000
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law opened the Cotchett Center for Advocacy, 2000, Cotchett Center for Advocacy, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2000
  • Received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and the trustees of the California State University, 2002, Honorary Doctor of Laws, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, 2002
  • To honor Cotchett, California State Polytechnic University renamed its landmark Clock Tower building the “Cotchett Education Building.” , Cotchett Education Building, California State Polytechnic University, 2004
  • , Trial Lawyer of the Year, Public Justice, 2004
  • 2004-2021 Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyers List, Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyers, Super Lawyers
  • 2004-2020 Top 10 Northern California Super Lawyers list, Northern California Super Lawyers Top 10 list, Super Lawyers
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters , Notre Dame de Namur Universit, 2006
  • The Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California dedicated the Joseph W. Cotchett Business Lab, 2006, Joseph W. Cotchett Business Lab, Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, 2006
  • , Edward I. Pollock Award, Consumer Attorneys of California, 2007
  • Consumer Advocate Award, Consumer Attorneys of California, 2007
  • , Top 100 California Legal Leaders, Daily Journal, 2008
  • Father Alfred Boeddeker Award, St. Anthony Foundation, 2010
  • Community Spirit Award, Notre Dame De Namur University, 2010
  • Presented with first ever Diversity Award by the San Mateo County Bar Association Diversity Committee, 2011, Diversity Award, San Mateo County Bar Association , 2011
  • , Frances Bohannon Nelson Legacy Award, San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce, 2011
  • , Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, Lawdragon, 2011
  • 500 Leading Lawyers in America, Lawdragon , 2011
  • The Phillip Burton Lifetime Achievement Award, Consumer Watchdog, 2011
  • Antitrust Lawyer of the Year, Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section of the State Bar of California, 2011
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of San Francisco, 2011
  • Distinguished Service Award, Judicial Council of California, 2011
  • Environmental Leadership Award, California League of Conservation Voters, 2011
  • American Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, The Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, 2011
  • , Lifetime Achievement Award, California Consumer Watchdog, 2012
  • , Trial Lawyers of the Year, Public Justice, 2014
  • , Trial Lawyers of the Year, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, 2014
  • , America's Leading Lawyers for Antitrust, Chambers USA, 2015
  • , Who's Who Legal 100, Who's Who, 2015
  • 2015-2021 Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California, Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California, Daily Journal
  • , Judge Learned Hand Award, American Jewish Committee, 2017
  • , Benchmark Litigation Award, Benchmark Litigation, 2019
  • , Top Slugger for Workers Award, California Labor Federation, 2019
  • , Bet-The-Company Litigators, America's Top 100, 2019
  • , Nature's Inspiration Award, Green Foothills, 2019
  • , Consumer Attorneys of the Year, Consumer Attorneys of California, 2019
  • , Top Lawyers of the Decade, Daily Journal, 2021
  • , San Mateo County History Maker, San Mateo County Historical Association, 2021
  • Consistently has been named one of the most influential lawyers in California by legal press
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Office Location for Joseph W. Cotchett

840 Malcolm Road
Suite 200
Burlingame, CA 94010

Phone: 650-697-6000

Fax: 650-697-0577

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

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