Richard C. Wootton

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Richard C. Wootton

900 Front Street,
Suite 350
San Francisco, CA 94111
Main: (415) 438-4600
Direct: (415) 247-5271


Retired from Practice

Mr. Richard C. Wootton began practicing in 1979. He is a founding partner of CWL, formed in 1997, having previously been a partner in two other San Francisco firms. Martindale-Hubbel, the national attorneys’ listing and rating service, has awarded him an “A.V.” rating, representing the highest level of professional excellence and ethical practice. He has regularly been named by his peers and a panel selection committee as a Northern California Super Lawyer as published by San Francisco Magazine and Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine.

Mr. Wootton has represented a wide range of business owners and employers, including land and marine-based contractors and construction firms, tug and barge companies, salvage and commercial diving companies, stevedores, and transportation businesses. He provided business advice in contract review and negotiation, employment issues (drafting manuals and directing investigation of disputes), and regulatory matters, and has been recognized for his litigation skills and trial work. He has served as lead counsel in civil trials, administrative hearings, and appellate matters involving contractual disputes, employment torts, and casualty matters with millions of dollars in issue. His trial record is outstanding, and he brought a positive outlook, sense of humor and perspective to the resolution of his clients’ legal matters.

Former Areas of Practice

  • Litigation, Construction, Maritime, Employment, Business Disputes, Insurance
  • Mediator and Arbitrator


  • J.D. University of California (Boalt Hall) (1979)
  • B.A. University of Illinois (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, James Scholar) (1976)

Memberships & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Hawaii
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • All Federal Courts in California and Hawaii
  • Pro Hac Vice Admissions:
    • United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
    • United States District Court for the District of Maine
    • United States District Court for the District of Oregon
    • State Courts in New York, New Jersey, Washington, and Arizona
  • American Bar Association
  • San Francisco Bar Association
  • Marin County Bar Association
  • Association of General Contractors
  • Maritime Law Association of the U.S.
  • Association of Diving Contractors


  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America (2008 – 2016)
  • Named a Northern California Super Lawyer (2004 – 2016)
  • “AV” Rated Preeminent by Martindale-Hubble (2007 – 2017)
  • Top 1% of America’s Most Honored Professionals 2016

Academic Service

  • Speaker at the Pacific Admiralty Seminar and through industry organizations, including the Association of Diving Contractors, and in-house seminars for his business clients involving accident prevention and safety, employment practices, insurance matters, and litigation avoidance and management.

Representative Matters

  • Lead counsel with successful resolution at trial, summary judgment, and through arbitration and mediation in cases involving:
  • Wrongful death and personal injury in marine and land-based accidents.
  • Employment tort cases involving gender and age discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination.
  • Appropriation of business trade secrets and unlawful business solicitation.
  • Contractual disputes in business matters and construction projects.
  • Marine and land-based casualties involving cranes, construction elevators, and other construction equipment failure and malfunction, vessel collisions, and salvage matters.