Sam McDermott is the managing partner of WSHB’s Orange County office. With an extensive background in litigation, Sam's expertise covers various practice areas at both the state and federal levels. He excels in handling complex construction, tort, and environmental issues, as well as employment, transportation, habitability and toxic tort litigation. A versatile litigator, Sam brings his singularly focused strategic handling to each matter, with an eye towards achieving top results. An experienced trial lawyer, Sam is strategic in the early identification of key evidence and potentially dispositive motions. His thorough preparation is key in early resolution of matters, and successful presentation of those matters which proceed to trial and verdict.

As a trusted advisor, Sam provides invaluable guidance to landowners, developers, property managers, private construction companies, and risk managers. He handles high-exposure, high profile construction matters for both commercial and residential developers and general contractors, tackling issues emanating during the construction sequence such as defaults, mechanic liens, workplace regulation, and catastrophic injury, as well as post project completion issues, such as delay and defect claims. His breadth of experience also extends to diverse industries, including co-ops, associations, small businesses, rental property owners, common carriers, and public entities. Sam's consultations encompass business, management, litigation, transportation, and employment practices, ensuring compliance with state and federal laws.

In his litigation practice, Sam is known for his vigorous representation. He aggressively advocates in a broad range disputes, including construction delay claims, design professional liability, workplace injuries, premises liability, habitability, auto accidents, construction defects, construction quality issues, prevailing wage claims, and workplace regulations. Sam is also well-versed in handling surety matters, including payment and performance bond claims, mechanic's lien release bonds, litigation bonds, surety takeovers, and defaults on construction projects.

Sam is widely sought out for his expertise in risk management and litigation. He is well known as a prolific speaker and thought leader on emerging issues. With his unwavering dedication and comprehensive knowledge, Sam McDermott is an invaluable asset to our firm. Trust him to provide exceptional legal counsel and representation for all your legal needs.


  • D’Orsay International Partners v. Superior Court (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 836 Rodriguez v. American Technologies (2006) 136 Cal.App. 4th 1110



  • University of Southern California (J.D., 1995)
  • University of San Diego (B.A., 1989)

Licensed to Practice in

  • California


Events, Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • The New Reality of Construction Risk in a 3-D World, CLM Management and Professional Liability Conference, 2017
  • Sorting It Out: Who Owns Design When CMAR, Design-Assist and BIM Come Together, AGC Conference on Surety Bonding and Construction Risk Management, 2016
  • Whose Design Is It Anyway?, West Coast Casualty, 2016; IRMI Construction Risk Conference, 2015; Construction Super Conference, 2015; AGC California Annual Conference, 2015


Community Activities

  • Actively involved in representing poor and disadvantaged litigants through the Public Law Center
  • Recipient of the Wiley W. Manuel Award for excellence in providing legal services to the disadvantaged (2010)

Honors & Recognitions

  • Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Star (2004 - 2007)
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

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