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Joseph W. McCarthy

Construction and development Attorney at Santa Clara, CA

4.9   10 reviews
  • Licensed for 30 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1993
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Joseph

Learn Joseph’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Construction and development
    I represent general contractors, subcontractors, engineers, design professionals, real estate agents and real estate brokers in a wide range of matters relating to mechanic's liens, stop notices, construction failures, latent defects, general contract and bidding disputes and professional liability.

    31 years

  2. Real estate
    Prior to becoming an attorney, I was a real estate broker for 17 years. I routinely assist clients with execution sales, loan modifications, and title matters.

    31 years

My practice primarily emphasizes transactions, litigation, arbitration and mediation on behalf of companies and individuals involved in the construction and real estate industries. I represent general contractors, subcontractors, engineers, and design professionals in a wide range of matters relating to mechanic's liens, stop notices, construction failures, latent defects, general contract and bidding disputes and professional liability.

Prior to becoming an attorney, I was a general contractor in Missouri for over twenty years.  My extensive construction background is a great advantage when assessing a client's case, and during mediation, arbitration and trial. Clients do not have to spend time and money educating me on the construction aspects of their case.

I hold the following California construction licenses: A - General Engineering Contractor, B - General Building Contractor, C-8 - Concrete, C-10 - Electrical, C-20 - Warm Air Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning, and C-36 - Plumbing. 

I was a Missouri real estate broker for seventeen years, and I have been a California real estate broker since 1995. I represent real estate agents and real estate brokers in various matters.

I am an avid outdoorsman and photographer.  I graduated from the Clearwater Guide School and have been a licensed fly fishing guide since 1995.  I guide in Northern California on Lewiston Lake and the Trinity River.

In 2008, I was appointed to the Trinity Adaptive Management Working Group by Dirk Kempthorne, the Secretary of the Interior.

Photos and videos


Joseph W. McCarthy, a Law Corporation
400 Reed Street
Santa Clara, CA, 95050
Joseph W. McCarthy, a Law Corporation
11 Via Las Encinas
Carmel Valley, CA, 93924
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4.9 / 5.0
  10 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by anonymous | February 11, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
I have had several legal issues where Joe mcCarthy represented Me. Im a contractor and in the construction business you need an attorney that specializes in and knows how things are done in the construction world (I don't want to pay to educate my lawyer) and I found Mr McCarthy to be very knowledgable. With my legal issues Joe always had a good idea where things would settle.
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Posted by Jim Vergara | June 2, 2015
Joe, Has always been very helpful in resolving issues on a timely manner or answering legal questions that we may have from time to time. We are very pleased with his services and that's why we have been using for over 15 years.
Posted by David | May 30, 2015
Experienced and Knowledgable
I have known Mr. McCarthy for many years now. He has been my counsel as well as used my investigative services. I have seen many facets of his personality and aspects of his business and I can say without reservation that he is a very experienced attorney who uses that experience to best represent his client's interests. Mr. McCarthy's knowledge of construction law and the nuances that are implicit in every case, give him a competitive advantage in "reading" the opposing party's inferences and subtleties. He has shown himself to be fair as well as well as taking the hard line as the need arises. You can trust his guidance and his counsel, as I have for many years, both as a client and as a construction defect investigator.
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Posted by Rich | October 14, 2010
Joe is the man, when it comes to contract license law.. he pulled me out of a jamb that could have ruined my company!!!
Joe introduced himself to me by stopping by my office in 1993. He was very pleasant, and helped me to dissolve a joint venture, release liability of three partners, and convert this company to a Solely owned entity. This helped me to take the reins without the restraint of others. He is very approachable, sincere, capable and efficient. His rate was quite reasonable and affordable. No one likes spending money, however the money expended was well worth it. He also came to my aid in 2005 when I was facing a lawsuit filed against me and was able to prove the lack of validity of the complaint, since the suit was filed by an unlicensed contractor, who sought a remedy from the California State Contractors License Board. The cross - complaint that Joe filed worked brilliantly, and saved me a potential financial loss of over 100,000.00, plus attorney fees. Thank You again and again, Joe..... You really know your stuff, and have an ability to cut to the quick of any issue relating to Contractor License Law.. I have been grateful to you since I first met you. It was a brilliant defense, and the lawsuit was withdrawn by the other attorney. I am still reaping the benefits of your knowledge and skill administering the practice of law. Thank you Joe!
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Posted by Don | October 13, 2010
A competent lawyer and a trusted legal ally
Joe has been the lawyer for my company for almost 10 years now. His experience in the construction industry gives him a unique advantage that, when combined with his wide ranging legal knowledge, enables him to provide a broader perspective on complex issues. Most of the time, the legal issues I face are intermingled with business issues, and I must make decisions without all of the information. Joe is not afraid to actually provide a straight answer to a question rather than a long list of maybes. He has been helpful to me in formulating a strategy to attack the broader issues that will impact my business in addition to the specific issues of the case. His advice is always practical.
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Posted by Paul | April 26, 2010
Ellco Electric
I contracted Joe regarding lien Ellco files. After conversation I retained Joe's firm. Within 6-7 working days Suit was filed. Negotiation began with appropriate parties. I had given Joe my expectations. All through the negotations I was kept informed. We reached an agreement very quickly. The agreement was to my satisfactions. We settled shortly after and that concluded the action. Joe and his firm acted very professionally and performed to my satisfaction.
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Posted by Don | April 19, 2010
Don Wardstrom, President Adanac Fire Protection, Inc.
McCarthy Law Office is a very professional, reliable firm that is familiar with the construction industry. We use this firm on a regualr basis and they are currently working on two cases for us. On all cases Joe has represented us on we have had favorable results. Joe is always responsive and can always be reached even at his home office which is luxury I have never had with other firms we have delt with. His knowledge of the construction industry and law as it has pertained to our specific field is extensive. I would highly recommend this firm and I will continue to use them for the coporation and my personal needs.
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Posted by Sid | April 16, 2010
Sid Slatter, Slatter Construction Inc.
I have been in business for 25 years and have worked with many attorneys. Joe stands out because he is honest, reliable and knowledgeable. Most important of all he will not recommend spending your money on his services just for the sake of taking a case..
Posted by Mike | April 14, 2010
Professional relationship
Joe McCarthy has represented me over the last 7 years with respect to construction contract issues. In all matters the outcome has been successful. He is a tenacious and insightful litigator. Joe has always been is responsive and timely to my concern. I look forward to having Joe on my side when the problems come up.
Posted by Todd | October 19, 2010
Consumer representation
Although Joe represents Contractors for the most part, he represented me, as a consumer, in a case against a less than professional Contractor and won a judgement for me. Joe seems just as interested in protecting the integrity of the Contracting industry by weeding out bad contractors as he does about endorsing professionals in the industry. I admire the fact that Joe sees his job as one of protecting his client first and the industry second. When I needed a knowledgable and experienced Lawyer who was also experienced as a contractor I found the right man for the job. Joe is both personable and motivated.
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  • Free Consultation 30 minutes
  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 8.5 (Excellent)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • Joseph W. McCarthy, A Law Corporation
  • 2003 - Present


  • Golden Gate University School of Law
  • Juris Doctor
  • 1992
  • University of Missouri, Columbia
  • N/A

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Salinas Income Fund One, LLC v. Eitel-Wade, Inc., et al.
  • Awarded mid-six figures.
  • Nicholas Damer v. Edward D. Hume, et al.
  • Awarded over half a million dollars.


  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • Member
  • 2008 - Present
  • Trinity Adaptive Management Working Group
  • Appointee
  • 2008 - Present
  • International Code Council
  • Member
  • 2001 - Present
  • American Institute of Architects
  • Officer
  • 2000 - Present
  • State Bar of California
  • Member
  • 1993 - Present
  • Santa Clara Builders' Exchange
  • Board of Directors
  • 2001 - 2004
  • Santa Cruz Builders' Exchange
  • Board of Directors
  • 1995 - 2002
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Law school scholarship for academic excellence and promise
  • Golden Gate University
  • 1992
  • Honorarium for appellate argument
  • Golden Gate University
  • 1992


  • The Contractor's Survival Guide
  • The Contractor's Survival Guide
  • 1995

Speaking Engagements

  • Shasta Builders' Exchange
  • Construction Litigation Seminar
  • N/A
  • Santa Cruz County Builders' Exchange
  • Construction Litigation Seminar
  • N/A
  • Builders' Exchange of Santa Clara County
  • Construction Litigation Seminar
  • N/A

Attorney endorsements

Received (10)
Given (7)
Endorse Joseph
Construction and development Attorney | Sep 11
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer."
Construction and development Attorney | Nov 17
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Mr. McCarthy's construction background has made him a particularly capable litigator and mediator, based on my experience on the other side of a case and representing a party in a mediator he handled."
Construction and development Attorney | Oct 20
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
Construction and development Attorney | Jun 23
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
Construction and development Attorney | Jun 18
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer's work. Joe and I tried a case against a rogue lawyer in San Mateo County before a jury. Joe was very focused and organized. Joe had a firm grasp of the law and presented the case very professionally to a very successful conclusion. I met Joe when I opposed him in a construction dispute. Joe was very well-prepared and successfully represented his client. He was able to do so in a calm, logical fact-based presentation that impressed the arbitrator. Whenever I have a complicated construction matter, I refer the case to Joe. Joe has extensive expertise in all construction-related areas of the law."
Construction and development Attorney | May 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Law is Joe's third career. After having been a general contractor for over twenty years and a real estate broker for seventeen years, Joe brings his expertise in construction, real estate and business law to the legal issues confronting his clients. That type of background in an attorney translates into real dollar savings for his clients who don't have to spend money educating Joe in the construction, real estate or business arena. It is a rare combination to find an attorney like Joe who has independent expertise in the areas in which he practices law. With such a diverse background, Joe quickly assesses his client's case and, when necessary, forcefully represents clients in litigation, arbitration and mediation. Joe's clients get the lawyer and a real world expert in one professional - a powerful combination in today's legal environment."
Construction and development Attorney | May 20
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Joe is a great attorney with a no-nonsense, practical approach to the law. After a few minutes with Joe, you will know that you are in the hands of a seasoned professional with an impressive grasp of construction law. I can easily recommend Joe and will refer clients to him whenever given the chance."
Construction and development Attorney | Apr 29
Relationship: Other
"I recently had the privilege of meeting Joe during a recent legal seminar. I was impressed with his knowledge of the construction and real estate industry. He is a leader in his field and has the ability to formulate creative solutions to solve his clients problems. If the answer is within reach, Joe will find it and utilize it to your strategic advantage."
Construction and development Attorney | Apr 27
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I have worked with Joe McCarthy on a number of construction-related lawsuits over the years. He is resourceful, trustworthy, capable, and reliable. He possesses an in-depth knowledge of all remedies available to an aggrieved contractor. He brings these remedies to bear with diligence and integrity. I would not hesitate to recommend him to a member of my family in matters of construction and development law."
Construction and development Attorney | Apr 26
Relationship: Other
"It is apparent by looking at his website that Joe McCarthy has extensive knowledge and experience in the construction industry. The construction industry, by its very technical nature, requires a lawyer who is well versed in the industry. Joe has the necessary background - more than just a law degree - to fully understand the needs and concerns of a contractor or a construction business. I had the opportunity to meet Joe at a small legal workshop and, even more important than his experience, I found that Joe has a true desire to serve his clients and to serve them with excellence."
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Construction and development
Divorce and separation
Construction and development
Construction and development
Divorce and separation
Criminal defense
Santa Clara Construction and development Lawyer Joseph W. McCarthy
Joseph W. McCarthy
Construction and development Attorney
Santa Clara, CA
Licensed for 30 years
Free Consultation