As stated by the National Law Journal, Joseph W. Cotchett is considered by plaintiffs and defense attorneys alike to be one of the foremost trial lawyers in the country. He has been named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the nation for the past 15 years and, in 2013, was named by Super Lawyers to be the number ONE lawyer in Northern California, as named by his peers. As the San Francisco / Los Angeles Daily Journal reported, he is “considered one of the best trial strategists in the state” who built a career to represent the underdog against powerful interests. He is a fearless litigator who once tried two cases simultaneously (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and won them both in San Diego Superior Court in 1984. His clients range from corporate giants to groups like Consumers Union – but the issue must be correct for Cotchett. In 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle rated him as one of the best in the Bay Area, saying, “The Burlingame attorney has had a star career that’s not only talked about in legal circles but has made headlines around the country. Known mostly as a plaintiffs’ lawyer, many of his cases are filed on behalf of fraud victims, and have a widows-and-orphan flavor to them.”
Cotchett consistently has been named one of the most influential lawyers in California, named by the legal press as one of the top 10 trial attorneys in the state, and listed in every edition of Best Lawyers in America since its inception. During his 45-plus year legal career, he has tried more than 100 cases to verdict and settled hundreds more, winning numerous jury verdicts, ranging from multi-million dollar malicious prosecution jury verdicts to several defense verdicts in complex civil cases. He successfully negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement in a qui tam suit on behalf of the University of California and hundreds of millions in antitrust, securities, and major fraud cases. In the 1980s, Cotchett won mammoth judgments and settlements for investors in white-collar fraud cases, with jury verdicts of more than $200 million arising from the Technical Equities Corp. collapse in San Jose. He is known nationally as the lead trial lawyer for 23,000 plaintiffs in the Lincoln Savings & Loan Association/American Continental Corp. case in 1990 involving Charles Keating, his lawyers, accountants, and bankers. He won one of US history’s largest jury verdicts, $3.3 billion. He obtained nearly $300 million in settlements from lawyers, accountants, and other professionals caught up in the scandal in the jury trial in Tucson, Arizona. He has represented the National Football League and teams since the early 1980s in various legal actions. As counsel for E. & J. Gallo Winery, he won a celebrated defense jury verdict in a trade dress infringement case involving wine labels and bottles produced by Gallo. The firm regularly represents Gallo in numerous matters. Cotchett has taken on major corporate entities and Wall Street in recent years. He and the firm are involved in litigation resulting from nearly every major corporate scandal, including Enron, Worldcom, Global Crossing, Homestore.com, Qwest, Montana Power Company, Lehman, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and numerous others on behalf of private investors and public pensions. The firm has represented the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the University of California Board of Regents, and numerous state political subdivisions, such as counties, cities, and districts.