Skip to main content

Client reviews

Not yet reviewed

About me

Richard McDonald is a senior member of the Real Estate Group, having practiced in real estate and construction law for over 30 years. In addition to his law practice, his background in real estate and construction includes four generations of McDonald family contractors, and three generations of McDonald family cattle ranchers. “Outside of my law practice, I have lived and worked around contractors and cattlemen my whole life. My life experience has given me the ability to assess most situations fairly quickly, and if need be, find the best way out of any tight spot. My clients generally appreciate that kind of insight and decisiveness.” 

Real Estate
Richard represents buyers, sellers, lenders, brokers and owners on disputes involving purchase and sale agreements, secured loan transactions, development agreements, land use processes, eminent domain, title insurance, escrow claims, broker disputes, and lease disputes.

Richard represents owners, contractors, design professionals and material suppliers in all aspects of construction law. His expertise includes contract drafting and negotiation, prosecution and defense of project related claims, enforcement of statutory remedies (mechanics liens and stop notices), negotiation, mediation, arbitration and/or litigation for all types of complex industrial, commercial and high end residential construction projects.

Richard has successfully mediated hundreds of claims, and has tried dozens of complex real estate and construction cases before judges and juries in both state and federal court, and in arbitration.

For more than 20 years, Richard has been a member of the American Arbitration Association Construction Industry National Roster of Arbitrators. He has acted as arbitrator in numerous binding arbitrations, and continues to serve in this capacity on a regular basis.

“My professional experience also includes several positions within the construction industry itself. Prior to attending law school, I served as Executive Director of a regional contractors’ association, and was directly involved on behalf of management in collective bargaining negotiations, and was the political voice of the industry at both the state and local levels. As an attorney, I held a stint as Acting General Counsel at the request of our national contractor client pending their search for a permanent replacement. During that time I managed the in-house legal department, and learned first-hand how a legal department can effectively function within a large organization. I have also had the opportunity to advise clients on some of the most interesting and challenging projects on the planet—from an oil and gas refinery in Eastern Europe, to the installation of a fiber-optic telecommunications network in the United States. I have worked on several major infrastructure projects and many complex industrial and commercial facilities. We have even developed a busy niche practice in high-end residential projects representing high net worth owners. I am quite fortunate to have been involved in such a wide variety of projects over the years, and grateful to have met and worked with so many outstanding industry professionals along the way.”

Client Successes

  • Represented the owner of a retail shopping center whose anchor tenant complained of construction defects and withheld nearly a full year’s worth of rent in order to fix the defects. Hopkins & Carley aggressively litigated against the original developer and contractor to recover the rent that was withheld due to the defects, and later brought in the tenant for breach of lease for withholding excess rent. We settled the case at the Mandatory Settlement Conference for an amount that paid our client 100% of both his damages and legal expenses. 

  • The prime contractor hired us to defend a subcontractor’s multi-million dollar claim on a multi-state underground fiber-optic cable telecommunications network. The matter was ultimately resolved favorably in mediation. 

  • We represented the general contractor on a large multi-family residential project claiming additional compensation due from the owner. The case was aggressively litigated and resolved successfully in a confidential settlement after mediation. 

  • We represented the general contractor in a two week binding arbitration against the owner of a condominium project. We were awarded 100% of the claim, plus interest and all attorney fees. 

  • The prime contractor for a high visibility, multi-billion dollar infrastructure project has hired us to advise the company on a variety of construction issues, including negotiating change order, and dealing with an international steel supplier, and defending against claims by subcontractors. 

  • Hopkins & Carley regularly represents homeowners and select contractors in high-end residential projects—from acquisition, planning, and entitlements, all the way through construction. 

Spare Time
Richard’s spare time is spent with his family, and he enjoys playing guitar, skiing, being outdoors, and especially working horseback on the family’s cattle ranch. 

Why Hopkins & Carley?
“In my 30+ year career, I have worked with a lot of great lawyers at several (four) outstanding firms—Crosby Heafey, Thelen Marrin, Terra Law and Hopkins & Carley. I am proud to have been affiliated with each firm. The attorneys at Hopkins & Carley are exceptional because we not only strive for excellent legal work; but we are also committed to each other, our profession, and our community. Our firm culture is a reflection of our founder, John Hopkins. John is smart, humble, gives selflessly to his colleagues, clients and community, and is a paragon of professional virtue. He is a mainstay of the firm and a model for each of us. It is my distinct privilege and pleasure to be a shareholder here, working with so many likeminded professionals and staff.”


Practice areas


  1. Real Estate: 20%
  2. Construction & Development: 20%
  3. Commercial: 20%
  4. Landlord & Tenant: 20%
  5. Litigation: 20%

Attorney endorsements

No endorsements

Endorsements from fellow lawyers are an important consideration for many when selecting the right attorney. Be the first to endorse your colleague!

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

Contact info

Hopkins & Carley, A Law Corporation

70 S. 1st St.
San Jose, CA, 95113-2406


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Association namePosition nameDuration
Santa Clara County Superior CourtJudge Pro TemN/A
American Bar Association Forum on the Construction IndustryN/AN/A
Santa Clara Bar AssociationJudiciary Committee, Civil Practice Committee (former Chair)N/A
American Arbitration Association, Construction Industry National Roster of ArbitratorsN/AN/A
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Santa Clara University School of LawLawJD - Juris DoctorN/A
Stanford UniversityN/ABA - Bachelor of ArtsN/A