John S. Worden is a trial lawyer. He has tried dozen of cases for plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts and in front of judges, juries and binding arbitration panels. To date, he has won 23 of the last 24 cases he has tried. Although most of his trials have been on the defense, John has four 7-and 8-figure Plaintiffs verdicts. He practices throughout the United States and, in addition to substantial work in California and elsewhere, he heads the firm’s Nevada practice (where he has tried – and won – six cases to verdict).

John joined what is now Schiff Hardin’s San Francisco office in 1989. He served as the San Francisco predecessor’s managing partner. He is the leader of the firm’s litigation practice group in San Francisco.

John is one of the youngest elected members of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), an invitation-only organization whose elected members include the nation’s most experienced and respected trial lawyers. He was similarly elected to The Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC).

John was named the San Francisco Bar Association’s (BASF) 2015 Lawyer of the Year. In 2017, for the second year in a row, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye presented John with the Volunteer of the Year award. John has been recognized for his work leading the BASF effort to provide counsel to all parties in civil cases involving the loss of a fundamental right (such as child custody and housing).

In his spare time John is a black belt kung fu instructor and is the reigning national kung fu fighting champion in his division, having received gold at the 2015 National Kung Fu Championship in Baltimore. He was also a silver medalist at the 2003 World Kung Fu Championship in São Pablo Brazil.

  • Experience

    Trial Practice

    John has tried cases in every one of the following areas:

    • Commercial
    • Construction
    • Contract
    • Environmental
    • Finance
    • FINRA
    • Insurance
    • Labor and Employment
    • Personal Injury (plaintiff and defense)
    • Real Estate
    • Reinsurance
    • Securities
    • Wrongful Death


    Insurance Coverage

     John has successfully represented both policyholders and carriers in insurance disputes in such areas as:

    • Comprehensive General Liability
    • Construction
    • Directors & Officers
    • Environmental/Asbestos
    • Life Insurance
    • Personal Injury
    • Reinsurance
    • Wrongful acts


    Financial Services

    In addition to his courtroom trial work, John’s experience in the financial services area involves dozens of NASD/FINRA arbitrations, ranging from banking disputes and customer suits against broker-dealers to venture capital and private equity disputes.


    John has handled construction disputes for 25 years, representing subcontractors, prime contractors and owners in all types of litigation, including:

    • Commercial general and subcontractors on commercial projects throughout California and Nevada
    • Multiple Las Vegas casinos
    • The largest contractor (HVAC) in a $60 million Stockton waterfront redevelopment hotel project
    • The largest subcontractor (electrical) in the $8 billion Las Vegas CityCenter project
    • The owners/developers in numerous residential home and condominium developments throughout the West


    Personal Injury

    John has handled and tried for plaintiffs and defendants the following types of personal injury cases, including:   

    • Asbestos
    • Automobile and Trucking
    • Catastrophic Injury
    • Premises Liability
    • Wrongful Death
  • Credentials


    • Seattle University School of Law, J.D., 1989, magna cum laude
      Seattle University Law Review, Editor
    • Seattle University, B.A., 1986, with honors, honors program

    Bar Admissions

    • California
    • Nevada
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
    • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

        Professional Memberships

        American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)

        San Francisco Chapter


        The Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC)


        Bar Association of San Francisco

        Board of Directors (2014-present)

        Barristers Club

        Board of Directors

        Litigation/Arbitration Section

        Chair (2011-Present)

        Antitrust and Securities Litigation Section

        Past Chair

        Volunteer Legal Services Program/Justice & Diversity Center

         Director/Executive Committee (2011-2013)

        Teaching Appointments

        • Adjunct Professor of Law, University of California – Hastings College of the Law (1996 – Present)
      • Insights


        Derivatives & Futures Update

        CFTC Proposes Algorithmic Trading Regulations for Proprietary Traders, FCMs, and Exchanges

        Trending Legal Issue

        The Treacherous Terrain of Penny Stocks

        Thomson Reuters Wall Street Lawyer

        Other Publications

        Speeches & Presentations

        • "Evidence: Objecting to Expert Opinion Testimony at Trial," Continuing Education of the Bar, University of California (Feb. 23, 2016)
        • "Making it Rain: Expanding Your Network and Building a Brand," American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Young Advocates Committee (Jan. 13, 2016)
        • "Securities Arbitration," (moderator) The Arbitration Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. (Nov. 30, 2015)
        • "How to Try and Win IP Cases" (moderator), The Arbitration Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. (Jun. 4, 2015)
        • “What They Don’t Teach in Law School about how Law Firms Really Work,” The Bar Association of San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2015)
        • Seminar Chair and Lead Speaker on Arbitration, Financial Services CLE SuperCourse, New York, N.Y. (Sep. 12, 2014)
        • Seminar Chair, Financial Services CLE SuperCourse, New York, N.Y. (Sep. 20, 2013)
        • “And Justice for All: Pro Bono Service,” Litigation Management: The Company in Crisis, Litigation Management SuperCourse, Naples, Fla. (May 3, 2013)
        • “What Every Lawyer Should Know About Insurance,” (co-presenter) Bar Association of San Francisco, Arbitration Committee, San Francisco, Calif. (Apr. 30, 2013)
        • “What’s New in Mediation,” (moderator) The Arbitration Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. (Nov. 7, 2012)
        • Seminar Chair, FINRA CLE SuperCourse, New York, N.Y. (Sep. 14, 2012)
        • “FINRA Arbitration Appeals,” FINRA CLE SuperCourse, New York, N.Y. (Sep. 14, 2012)
        • “Commercial Arbitration: The Pitfalls No One Wants to Talk About,” San Francisco Real Estate Roundtable, San Francisco, Calif. (Jul. 12, 2012)
        • “Arbitration: Great Expectations,” Litigation Management SuperCourse, Chicago, Ill. (Jun. 15, 2012)
        • “Alternative Fees,” Litigation Management SuperCourse, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Apr. 28, 2012)
        • AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion and its Aftermath,” The Bar Association of San Francisco (Dec. 1, 2011)
        •  “Arbitration Exasperation,” Litigation Management SuperCourse, Laguna Beach, Calif. (Nov.4, 2011)
        • “Arbitration,” (moderator) Litigation Management in a New York Minute (Aug. 5, 2011)
        • “Dodd-Frank: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” (co-speaker) Catlin Fourth Annual Broker-Dealer Consortium (May 5, 2011)
        • “Class Action Arbitration,” Bar Association of San Francisco (Dec. 9, 2010)
        • “What They Don't Teach in Law School About How Law Firms Really Work,” Seattle University School of Law (Sep. 21, 2010)
        • “Business Development for Newer Lawyers (and Older Lawyers, too),” Seattle University School of Law (Sep. 21, 2010)
        • “Best Arbitration Practices” (co-speakers, Hon. Fern Smith (Ret.) and Hon. Rebecca Westerfield (Ret.)), The Bar Association of San Francisco (Mar. 23, 2010)
        • "How to Argue the Burden of Proof, in Voir Dire, Opening and Closing," The Bar Association of San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2009)
        • "Opening Statements," University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law (Jan. 21, 2009)
        • "Creative Discovery in NASD Action"NASD SuperCourse, New York, NY (Sep. 13, 2004)
        • "World Trade Center Insurance Coverage Issues: Property and Liability Issues in Claims for Damages Incurred as a Result of War (Declared or Not)Hijacking, and Acts of Foreign Enemies," Network of Trial Lawyers, Palm Beach, Fla. (Oct. 2001) and State Bar of California, Carlsbad, Calif. (May 2001)
      • Citizenship

        Civic and Charitable Memberships

        • Arbitrator, San Francisco Superior Court
        • Lafayette Police Commission, Lafayette, California
      image description

      John Worden receives outstanding volunteer award for Second Time

      California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, on behalf of the Justice & Diversity Center of the San Francisco Bar Association, recently presented partner John S. Worden with the 2016 Volunteer Award. MORE