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Joseph C. McGowan


Executive Summary

Mr. McGowan is a member of the firm's Construction Law, Environmental Law and Government Contracts Practice Groups.

Professional Qualifications

Mr. McGowan has practiced construction law for over 25 years, specializing in public works, government contracts, suretyship and construction-related real property disputes. He has extensive experience with bench trials, jury trials and arbitration. Mr. McGowan is ranked as a construction lawyer in the renowned attorney ranking body Chambers USA.

Mr. McGowan has represented major contractors such as Gilbane Federal, DMZ Builders, Inc., JK Communications & Construction, Inc. (a major subcontractor specializing in telecommunications), Granite Construction, Shimmick Construction and B&C Transit, Inc. (a major provider of signalling and communications for mass transit projects).

Mr. McGowan has particular expertise in forging the settlement of complex disputes between parties entrenched in their respective positions, a recent example being the final settlement in late 2020 of a 15-year dispute between the partners of a large mixed-use development in Oakland, California. Similarly, Mr. McGowan is currently representing two minority investors in disputes with the majority owners.

Mr. McGowan was also successful this year prosecuting high dollar claims involving contractors on major public works in California and abroad, including a series of disputes between a major federal prime contractor, and its largest subcontractor in Japan, Guam and Diego Garcia. He also routinely represents contractors in bid protests. In August of 2021, he successfully defended the award by BART to RJO’s client, DMZ Builders, after the lowest responsive bidder was disqualified on organizational conflict of interest grounds.

Mr. McGowan, who speaks Japanese and Spanish, began his career working as an in-house attorney for a subsidiary of Kajima Corp., a major Japanese-owned civil contractor.

Mr. McGowan writes extensively regarding the construction industry, this past year writing several articles upon the effect of COVID-19 on contractors and upon federal infrastructure spending.

Mr. McGowan is also active in contractor related organizations, including United Contractors, Associated General Contractors of California, and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.


J.D., McGeorge School of Law

B.A., University of California, Berkeley

Bar Admissions


San Francisco, CA
  • Robert Dollar Building
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    San Francisco, CA 94104-2695
  • Phone: 415.956.2828
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Washington, DC
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