Doug Butz has represented regional, national, and international law firms in a variety of professional liability matters for over four decades.

During that time, he has also represented accounting firms, national insurance brokerages, and various business entities in business and commercial litigation matters in state and federal courts. Mr. Butz has a proven track record of courtroom success in the trial of high-exposure cases.

Mr. Butz has tried in excess of 100 cases in courts of unlimited jurisdiction. He has successfully defended national and international law firms in complex professional liability actions, international accounting firms in coordinated professional liability class action cases, and public agencies in high value, multi-plaintiff cases involving claims of massive failure of public infrastructure. His business litigation experience also includes contractual disputes, real estate litigation, unfair competition, false advertising, trade secret infringement, claims against directors and officers, and the defense of lender liability claims.

Mr. Butz has been recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer® continuously since 2007. In 2019, he received the Daniel T. Broderick III Professionalism and Civility Award, which recognizes a San Diego attorney who demonstrates the highest levels of civility, integrity and professionalism.  He was recognized as the “San Diego Legal Malpractice Lawyer of the Year” for both 2012 and 2013. He has been listed in the “Best Lawyers of America” continuously since 1991, one of a limited number of attorneys recognized as such for more than 30 years. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and was inducted as a Fellow of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers in 1992. Fellowship in the college is by invitation only after a lengthy and detailed investigation into a nominee’s trial abilities and ethical behavior. Election requires a finding that the candidate possesses exceptional courtroom skills, engages in a highly ethical practice, and is generally limited to the top one percent of attorneys.

Based on his peer recognition and wealth of experience in the litigation of high-value claims, Mr. Butz brings great credibility, judgment, and perspective to bear on any litigated matter. His years of experience enable him to quickly sort through extraneous matter and correctly identify the core issues necessary for resolution of a dispute. He works shoulder-to-shoulder with clients to develop result-driven strategies to creatively terminate litigation as promptly as possible. In those cases where a pre-trial resolution is not possible, Doug and his team have the demonstrated courtroom skill set to win the case at trial.

When not practicing, Doug enjoys playing golf, skiing, and almost any outdoor activity. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Pro Kids of San Diego, a wonderful organization that teaches important life skills to challenged inner-city kids through the game of golf.


  • Master of the Bar, American Inn of Court, 1990 to the present
  • Member, Board of Directors, 1991-1993, San Diego County Bar Association (Vice President, 1993)
  • Member, Board of Directors, 1985-1995, and President 1987-1988, San Diego Inn of Court, a College of Advocacy
  • Member, Board of Directors, 1988-1990, and President, 1989-1990, San Diego Defense Lawyers


  • Defended national law firm in a professional liability action arising from a series of business transactions between clients and firm partners, including a failed real estate development. Plaintiffs’ damage claims exceeded $6.5 million. A defense verdict was rendered in favor of the law firm and its partners after a seven-week jury trial.
  • Defended international accounting firm in coordinated class action securities and professional liability litigation in state and federal courts. Litigation arose from alleged accounting fraud at a publicly traded business software company. The class plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $100 million.
  • Defended international law firm in consolidated professional liability actions brought by FDIC and bankruptcy trustee of failed savings and loan association. Claims arose from law firm’s prior defense of the savings and loan in underlying securities class action and derivative litigation. The consolidated claims brought against law firm client exceeded $140 million.
  • Defended national law firm in a professional liability action brought by limited partners in a real estate limited partnership that was represented by the law firm. Obtained dismissal of client from action by way of motion for summary judgment.
  • Representation of a national law firm in a professional liability action brought by a health care staffing company. The company claimed the law firm negligently litigated trade secret cases and billed excessively for its work. The case was settled after an eight-week jury trial.
  • Representation of a law firm in a professional liability action brought by limited partners in a Texas real estate venture. Plaintiffs claimed damages of $12 million. A defense verdict was rendered in favor of the law firm after a two-week jury trial.
  • Representation of an international accounting firm in a professional liability action brought by a sports memorabilia company. The action arose from advice given by the accounting firm concerning tax avoidance strategies later disqualified by the IRS, resulting in a significant tax liability and penalties to the plaintiff.
  • Representation of three former Heller Erhman partners in a judicially-initiated contempt proceeding arising from e-discovery violations in the Qualcomm v. Broadcom Each client was absolved of responsibility and was dismissed from the proceeding.
  • Defended international law firm in a professional liability claim brought by a California resort developer arising from acquisition of real property in Mexico for a proposed resort development. Litigation involved proceedings in California and Mexican courts.
  • Represented major Orange County law firm in a federal court fee disgorgement action initiated by the SEC and the court-appointed receiver of a bankrupt entity under investigation by the SEC.
  • Successfully defended law firm in consolidated class action professional liability and securities fraud cases in state and federal court over issuance of tax-exempt municipal bonds. Class members sought damages in excess of $75 million


  • Engaged by municipal agency to defend breach of contract and inverse condemnation action brought by a publicly-traded aerospace manufacturing company. The claimant corporation sought damages of $32 million from the agency. A defense verdict was rendered in favor of the client-agency on all claims after a three-week jury trial.
  • Engaged by a public agency to pursue an action for breach of contract against a lessee of the public agency. A jury verdict of $21.3 million was obtained on behalf of the public agency and against the lessee. The judgment was affirmed on appeal along with $4 million dollars in post-judgment interest.
  • Representation of Canadian hydroelectric generator and its wholly-owned marketing subsidiary in federal class action litigation arising out of the de-regulation of the California wholesale electricity market. Obtained dismissal of clients in federal trial courts, as affirmed by federal appellate courts, after successful motion practice.
  • Successfully defended multi-national corporation in federal court action brought by foreign corporation arising from build-out of an Argentine telecommunication system. Damages were sought in excess of $50 million for fraud and breach of contracts.
  • Defended bank in lender liability and fraud action brought by real estate developer following loan default and bankruptcy of venture. Defense verdict rendered in favor of client-bank on all claims and causes of action.
  • Represented domestic corporation in an international arbitration proceeding initiated by a Mexican corporation for breach of contract. Dispute arose from cross-border transactions relating to labor service agreements for manufacture of sound equipment in Mexico.
  • Representation of the City of San Diego in an inverse condemnation and public nuisance action arising from the Mount Soledad landslide. The action was brought on behalf of the owners of 65 homes which were either destroyed or damaged in the landslide. Plaintiffs claimed the landslide was caused by the degradation and failure of the City-owned and maintained water infrastructure system. judgment was entered in favor of the City and against all plaintiffs after a five-week trial.


Awards & Honors

  • Daniel T. Broderick III Professionalism and Civility Award
  • "San Diego Legal Malpractice Law (Defendants) Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers® (2013 )
  • "San Diego Legal Malpractice Law Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers® (2012)
  • Southern California Super Lawyer® (2007-2023)
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® (1991-2022)
  • Rated "AV" by Martindale Hubbell (1982-2019)
Douglas M. Butz
Rated by Super Lawyers

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  • State Bar of California
  • Master of the Bar, American Inn of Court, 1990- present
  • Member, Board of Directors, (1991-1993), San Diego County Bar Association, Former Director and Vice President, 1993
  • San Diego Inn of Court, a College of Advocacy, President (1987-1988), Member, Board of Directors (1985-1995)
  • San Diego Defense Lawyers, President (1989-1990), Member, Board of Directors (1985-1995)
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, inducted in 1991
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, inducted in 1981, President of San Diego Chapter 1994-1995
  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society
  • American Inn of Court, Master of the Bench