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About me

Sterling Stires is a founding parter of the California office of Holmes Weddle & Barcott, and has developed a civil litigation practice with an emphasis on maritime law. Along with matters involving the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, Limitation of Shipowners Liability Act, Ship Repairers Liability, and general maritime law, Mr. Stires also practices in the areas of insurance coverage, insurance bad faith, business litigation and personal injury involving marine and non-marine claims. 


Sterling is a Board Certified Specialist in Admiralty and Maritime Law by the California State Bar Board fo Legal Specialization, and has acheived Martindale-Hubbell's highest peer review rating, AV Preeminent, for ethical standards and legal abilities.  Sterling has been awarded "Top Lawyer in San Diego" by San Diego Magazine in 2014, 2015, and 2016.


While in law school, Sterling received academic achievement awards in Maritime Law and Law of the Sea.


Sterling has had the high honor to have been selected by the State Bar of California to serve on the Admiralty & Maritime Law Advisory Commission Group, which has been created by the Board of Legal Specialization to advise the State Bar of California in the establishment of maritime law as a certified legal specialty in California. Sterling was Chairman of the organization from 2014 through 2014.  Sterling is a Proctor in Admiralty, as designated by the Maritime Law Association of the United States, and has served as the President of the Propeller Club of the United States, Port of San Diego (2006-2007), served as Vice President (2004-2006), and awarded the designation of Governor Emeritus. From 2003 through 2012, Sterling had repeatedly been selected by the Office of Spill Prevention and Response, a division of the California Department of Fish and Game, to act as the Maritime Law Representative to the San Diego Harbor Safety Committee. In this capacity, and serving on a pro bono basis, Sterling has participated in the drafting and revising of provisions within the San Diego Harbor Safety Plan, which is mandated by the California Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act of 1990. As the Maritime Law Representative, Sterling has also taken part in the drafting and revising of regulations and by-laws that have been enacted into California law, as well assisted in the development of the Best Maritime Practices for San Diego Bay, which has been incorporated into the San Diego Harbor Safety Plan.


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Maritime: 75%
    17 years
  2. Personal Injury: 10%
    17 years
  3. Insurance: 10%
    17 years
  4. Business: 5%
    17 years

Attorney endorsements

6 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Michael S. Waddington

    I endorse Sterling. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community.


    Michael Waddington Military law Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Brad Michael Micklin

    Sterling Stires is an experienced attorney whose participation and comments in Avvo show his commitment to serving clients as well as his level of experience. He is an excellent attorney that I recommend wholeheartedly.


    Brad Micklin Divorce and separation Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Holmes Weddle & Barcott

401 West A Street.
Suite 1800
San Diego, CA, 92101


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Top LawyerSan Diego Magazine2016
AV Preeminent RatedMartindale-Hubbell2014
Top LawyerSan Diego Magazine2014
Certified Specialist - Admiralty & Maritime LawState Bar of California2011
Admiralty & Maritime Law Academic Achievement AwardCalifornia Western School of Law1998
Law of the Sea Academic Achievement AwardCalifornia Western School of Law1998
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Founding Partner, San DiegoHolmes Weddle & Barcott, an Independent California Corporation2010 - Present
ChairmanState Bar Board of Legal Specialization, Admiralty section2013 - 2014
Senior CounselBorton Petrini, LLP2009 - 2010
Association namePosition nameDuration
United States Supreme CourtN/A2005 - Present
Ninth Circuit Court of AppealsN/A2005 - Present
Maritime Law Association of the United StatesProctor2003 - Present
U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist. of CaliforniaN/A2002 - Present
U.S. Dist. Court, Southern Dist. of CaliforniaN/A1998 - Present
State Bar of CaliforniaMemberN/A
Admiralty & Maritime Law Advisory Commission, State Bar of CaliforniaCommissioner2008 - 2014
Propeller Club of the United States, Port of San DiegoPresident2006 - 2007
San Diego Harbor Safety CommitteeMaritime Law Representative2003 - 2012
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
In re Mission Bay Jet Sports, LLC, 570 F.3d 1124 (9th Cir. 2009)9th Circuit in favor of Mission Bay Jet Sports
In re Mission Bay Jet Sports, LLCAppeal Granted, Reversed and Remanded
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Boat Accident Reconstruction and Litigation, 3rd Ed.Introduction to Recreational Boating Law2011
Law Office of Charles S. LiMandri - web articleNew Ninth Circuit Case Re: Uberrimae Fidei2008
Law Office of Charles S. LiMandri - web articleWhat the Heck is a Vessel2007
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
California Western School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1998
University of San DiegoOcean Studies & Political ScienceBA - Bachelor of Arts1996
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Admiralty and Maritime Law SymposiumMaritime Product Liability2016
Admiralty and Maritime Law SymposiumLimitation of Shipowners' Liability Act2016
MUSC Speaker SeriesRecreation Boating Law and Maritime Jurisdiction2013
San Francisco Marine Claims Association - monthly luncheon speakerMaritime Law2009
Puget Sound Maritime Claims Association - Speaker SeriesLimitation of Liability Act Practice and Procedure2006