Coughlan Mediation


Present Affiliations

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (1996 to Present)
  • Master, American Inns of Court, Lewis M. Welsh Chapter (Executive Committee)
  • Member, Ethics Committee, San Diego County Bar
  • San Diego Fee Arbitration Panel
  • Mediator – National Conflict Resolution Center


  • 2016   Best Lawyers: “San Diego Lawyer of the Year”, Professional Malpractice Law
  • 2014 Best Lawyers: “San Diego Lawyer of the Year”, Professional Malpractice Law 
  • 2014 Best Lawyers: “San Diego Lawyer of the Year” Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • 2012 Best Lawyers: “San Diego Lawyer of the Year,” Professional Malpractice Law
  • 2011, 2007  Super Lawyers: “Top Ten Lawyers in San Diego” 
  • 2009 San Diego Daily Transcript : “Transcript Ten” Top Attorneys 
  • 2007- Present : Super Lawyers: “Top Fifty Lawyers in San Diego”
  • 2006 San Diego Daily Transcript:  “Top Lawyers, Corporate Litigation” 
  • 2005 “Trial Lawyer of the Year,” Criminal Defense Bar Association (awarded for defense of Michael Zucchet), San Diego
  • 2002 California Lawyer, Listed Among Most Prominent Lawyers in California to Defend a Legal Malpractice Case
  • 2001 San Diego Magazine, Listed Among Best Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • 2001 California Lawyer “Top Picks” to Represent Lawyers
  • 1997- Present  Listed: Best Lawyers in America
  • 1996- Inducted as a Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • 1983 Winner: “Directors Award,” United States Department of Justice, Washington D.C. (considered highest award given to Assistant U.S. Attorneys)(awarded by Rudolph Giuliani)

Licensed to Practice

  • Virginia, 1969 (inactive)
  • Maryland, 1970 (inactive)
  • Washington, D.C., 1973 (inactive)
  • California, 1979

Mediation Training

National Conflicts Resolution Center:

  • Introductory Skills Course
  • Advanced Skills Course
  • Certifcation: Mediator Credential Program

Pepperdine Law School: Straus Institute: Mediating the Litigated Case

Pepperdine Law School: Straus Institute: Cultural Conflict and Dispute Resolution

Past Affiliations

  • Certification in Legal Malpractice Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Director, Board of Directors, San Diego Padres
  • Past President and Board Member, Board of Directors, Defender Organizations of San Diego
  • Member, Board of Directors, The Legal Community Against Violence
  • Member, Dinner Chair, American Ireland Fund San Diego Annual Dinner Committee (2004, 2005)
  • Regional Director, National Institute  for Trial Advocacy Pacific Region (1982-1990)
  • Adjunct Professor, Trial Practice, Criminal Procedure, California Western School of Law (1980-1987)

Employment History

March 2016 – Present   Coughlan Mediation; San Diego, California

September 2011 – August 2014   Partner, Coughlan, Semmer, Fitch and Pott, LLP; San Diego, California

January 1988 – September 2011   Partner, Coughlan, Semmer & Lipman; San Diego, California

February 1986 – January 1988   Partner, Coughlan & Semmer; San Diego, California

October 1983 – February 1986   Of Counsel, Lillick, McHose & Charles; San Diego, California

March 1979 – September 1983   Assistant United States Attorney Civil and Criminal Divisions, in charge of training; San Diego, California

January 1977- March 1979   Trial Attorney Civil Division, Torts Branch, Aviation Unit United States Department of Justice; Washington, D.C.

January 1973- July 1976   Assistant United States Attorney; Washington, D.C.

September 1970 - December 1972   Associate of Litigation Department Piper & Marbury; Baltimore, Maryland

August 1969 - September 1970   Law Clerk to Judge Alexander Harvey II, United States District Court, District of Maryland; Baltimore, Maryland

Educational Background

Law School:

University of Virginia, L.L.B., 1969


Tufts University
B.S. Chemistry-Biology, 1966
Medford, Massachusetts