John S. Worden is a trial lawyer. He has tried dozens 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 21 of the 22 cases he has tried.

John joined what is now Schiff Hardin’s San Francisco office in 1989 and has been a partner since 1996.  He served as the San Francisco predecessor’s managing partner from 1997 to 2000.  John practices throughout the United States and, in addition to substantial work in California and elsewhere, heads the firm’s Nevada practice.

  • Experience

    Trial Practice

    John has achieved successful outcomes in dozens of trials. Most of his trials have been on the defense, but he has multiple seven- and eight-figure plaintiff verdicts.  He is one of the youngest 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 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, Editor, Seattle University Law Review
    • 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

        Bar Association of San Francisco

        Board of Directors

        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

        State Bar of California

        Insurance Law Committee

        Teaching Appointments

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

      • Insights

        Other Publications

        The Beast of Burden,” (Book Editor and Chapter 11 Author) in From the Trenches: Strategies and Tips from 21 of the Nation’s Top Trial Lawyers (2015)

        “Your Best Opening,” The Recorder (April 5, 2013)

        Advice for the Next Generation of Trial Lawyers,” Bloomberg Law Reports – Business of Law (Sept. 4, 2012)

        A Guide for the Next Generation of Trial Lawyers,” San Francisco Daily Journal (May 18, 2012)

        The Price of Victory: Controlling Costs in Small ‘Complex’ Cases,” (co-author) Bloomberg Law Reports – Federal Practice (Aug. 24, 2009)

        Speeches & Presentations

        "How to Try and Win IP Cases" (moderator), The Bar Association of San Francisco Arbitration Section, San Francisco, Calif. (June 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. (February 23, 2015)

        Seminar Chair and Lead Speaker on Arbitration, Financial Services CLE SuperCourse, New York, N.Y. (Sept. 12, 2014)

        Seminar Chair, Financial Services CLE SuperCourse, New York, N.Y. (Sept. 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. (April 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. (Sept. 14, 2012)

        “FINRA Arbitration Appeals,” FINRA CLE SuperCourse, New York, N.Y. (Sept. 14, 2012)

        “Commercial Arbitration: The Pitfalls No One Wants to Talk About,” San Francisco Real Estate Roundtable, San Francisco, Calif.
        (July 12, 2012)

        “Arbitration: Great Expectations,” Litigation Management SuperCourse, Chicago, Ill. (June 15, 2012)

        “Alternative Fees,” Litigation Management SuperCourse, Scottsdale, Ariz. (April 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 (Sept. 21, 2010)

        “Business Development for Newer Lawyers (and Older Lawyers, too),” Seattle University School of Law (Sept. 21, 2010)

        “Best Arbitration Practices” (co-speakers, Hon. Fern Smith (Ret.) and Hon. Rebecca Westerfield (Ret.)), The Bar Association of San Francisco (March 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 (Sept. 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