Seasoned Trial Attorneys, Exceptional Results

Paul F. Rafferty


Paul Rafferty has spent over 30 years advising businesses as a trusted advisor and trial lawyer in virtually every area of importance, including product development and sales, intellectual property and trade secrets, fiduciary duty breach, contracts, real estate, banking and finance, merger failures, and other areas of concern. Paul’s clients have been equally diverse, including subject areas such as oil and gas, computer software and hardware, retail and apparel, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, technology, life sciences, real estate, manufacturing and distribution, executive coaching, collegiate concussive injury, federal forfeiture actions, leasing and real property.
Paul also specializes in the successful defense of class action litigation, and he has utilized all available tools to win, including dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction (athletic conference), summary judgment (well known oil and gas company), class certification itself (well known real estate company), abandonment (MDL college), and by motions (well known computer hardware company) .  To date, no class action defended by Paul has been successfully certified.   
As for trial itself, Paul has litigated in state and federal courts throughout the country.  His last trial, consuming over four months, involving a $56,000,000 claim against a director for breaching her fiduciary duty to a corporation that sued her following a change of control.  Paul obtained a defense verdict in that matter and received an award of over $2 million dollars to reimburse his client for attorney fees and costs incurred in that defense.    
Some of Paul’s more unique and unusual representations, litigation and otherwise, have included:
Oil and Gas: Paul helped Chevron negotiate with Shell ownership and control of pipelines underlying the LA basin following Chevron’s acquisition of Texaco.  He defended the institution’s rejection and damages pertaining to a Wet Electrostatic Precipitator stemming from refinery operations.  He has handled real estate disputes on owned property and those subject to easement.  Finally, Paul successfully defended a massive class action pertaining to the use of personal information at the gas pumps in conjunction with credit cards.  In short, Paul has defended oil and gas interests “upstream and downstream.”
Acquisition Disputes: Amongst many, Paul’s most notable representation was the resolution of conflicts and disputes following Beckman Instrument’s acquisition of Coulter Inc., including a year long series of meetings with the Coulter family to ensure the success of the Beckman Coulter merger.  
Collegiate Football Concussions: Paul is part of the substantial MDL based in Chicago that may ultimately decide whether liability exists pertaining to alleged football concussive injuries.  The scope of this litigation practice extends beyond the 400+ class action MDL itself where Paul has successfully represented and had dismissed a college and conference, but also to individual lawsuits pending throughout the country.
Autonomous Vehicles and Artificial Intelligence: Paul has been a leader in developing theory and practice in this emerging area.  He is well written and published throughout the world in this regard.  In 2019, he was named by California’s Daily Journal as one of twenty top artificial intelligence lawyers in California, and the only one named in LA and OC.  Paul also counsels on the regulatory conditions existing in the USA, and particularly, how to anticipate and plan for product liability actions that will be forthcoming once fully autonomous vehicles are deployed.  He has counseled clients on these subject areas in the USA, Dubai, France, China, Belgium and the Netherlands to name a few.
United States Forfeiture Work: Paul was privileged to represent a well known museum in defense of its possession of F-14 Tomcats following an effort by the U.S. Navy to rescind sale agreement(s) pertaining to the same.  Ultimately, working with the U.S. Attorneys office and the Honorable Judge Carney in the central district, the parties successfully resolved the dispute within a confidential settlement that led to a visit to infamous 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson Arizona. 
Celebrity Defense: Although confidentially settled in every case, Paul has represented a famous rock band, rapper, defended litigation brought by a well known radio personality, sued to enjoin disparaging parodies and advertisements brought against famous individuals, defended against a client’s inadvertent misuse of celebrity likeness, settled title on a rare lost vehicle worth millions of dollars, and in all cases, successfully managed media interest on each of these matters with radio and TV stations, and notable newspapers such as the LA Times and OC Register.
DNA Patent and Licensing Litigation: Paul represented a well known life sciences company in the worldwide defense of its interest in DNA nucleic acid technology pertaining to cervical cancer that led to a two week arbitration in Paris France, a second arbitration in NY, and then resolution of related patent litigation in Delaware.  

Mad Cow Disease?  Paul assisted a company in defense and settlement of a claim brought by a brilliant scientist for alleged failure of the development of a competitive product that would  identify the proteinaus substances that were found to cause this fatal disease.
In addition to the above, Paul has over twenty years experience mediating all varieties of cases for the Orange County Superior Court (1995-2001), and United States District Court (2006-present), he is admitted to the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) as a mediator and arbitrator, he has lectured on mediation topics for the Straus Institute, was an Executive member for the first ADR Inn on the west coast, and teaches Negotiations Theory for Pepperdine’s Caruso School of Law.  In this regard, Paul is ready to resolve disputes on any of the above-referenced subject areas nationally and internationally, via ZOOM or in person as needed. 


  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey School of Law - Camden, Camden, New Jersey
    • J.D. - 1987
  • LaSalle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • B.S. - 1981
    • Major: Accounting
  • LaSalle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • B.A. - 2010
    • Major: Sociology

Bar Admission

  • California State Courts and Courts of Appeal
  • Supreme Court of California
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court District of South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court District of Nebraska
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Western District of New York


  • Daily Journal: Named one of twenty top AI lawyers in California, 2019.
  • Martindale Hubble Peer AV Preeminent Rating

Past Positions

  • Jones Day, Partner (Ret), Business Trial Lawyer. 2008 - 2020
  • Sheppard Mullin, Partner, Trial lawyer. 1995 - 2008
  • Pettit and Martin, Trial lawyer. Partner, 1995, Associate. 1990 - 1994
  • Adjunct Professor, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, Straus division: Negotiation Theory and Practice. 2020 - Present