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Robert J. ("Mike") Cathcart

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Robert J. ("Mike") Cathcart is a litigation partner in our Los Angeles office, and is a founder and former Co-Chair of the firm's Construction Practice Group. He is recognized for his ability to handle civil litigation matters through trial and, where possible, to resolve them through alternative dispute processes and/or settlement.

General Civil Litigation

Mike has represented clients in hundreds of cases throughout his career resolved by settlements, arbitrations, private trials and reference proceedings, mini-trials, mediations, and both jury and nonjury trials involving admiralty, anti-trust, business tort, commercial, financial, contract, construction, defamation, eminent domain, environmental pollution, liability and casualty insurance, intellectual property including patents, trademarks and trade secrets, personal injury, personal property security, products liability, professional liability, real estate, real property security, and title insurance issues. He is also highly regarded for his ability to negotiate creative settlements of complex multi-party disputes.

Construction Litigation

Mike has been a construction lawyer for approximately 45 years in federal and state courts in California, and several other jurisdictions for specific matters, including domestic and international construction controversies around the Pacific Rim. He has represented numerous owners, contractors, subcontractors, construction managers and design professionals in construction cases involving breach of contract, negligence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and surety claims, including disputes over delays, disruption, scheduling, sequencing and acceleration of work, manpower allocation, contract interpretation, change orders, design and construction defects, mechanics’ liens, stop notices, prompt payment claims, OSHA violations, soils subsidence and movement, changed site conditions, structural, electrical, civil, mechanical and architectural errors, and wrongful termination, which were resolved by settlements, arbitrations, mini-trials, mediations and both jury and non-jury trials. Mike has assisted numerous owners and contractors in the “close-out” of troubled projects with multiple lien and stop notice claims, and/or disputes over completion including delay, punch list and change order controversies. He has handled cases involving large residential subdivisions, apartment and condominium projects, high rise office buildings, restaurants, hospitals and medical facilities, universities, colleges and schools, amusement parks, resorts, golf courses, commercial and industrial facilities, warehouses, and infrastructure projects such as dams, reservoirs, highways, bridges and grade separations. He has advised and represented owners, developers, contractors, construction managers and design professionals concerning insurance policies, insurance coverage and surety bond issues and disputes.

Real Estate, Commercial, Corporate, and Partnership Litigation

Within the past several years, Mike's practice has concentrated increasingly on construction and real estate disputes, including partnership, limited liability and other business organization break-ups, partitions and terminations, and representation of financial institutions in loan and secured transaction disputes. He has handled real estate, commercial, financial, corporate and partnership disputes in federal and state courts in California, including cases resolved by settlements, alternative dispute proceedings and both jury and non-jury trials in superior and federal district courts.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mike has developed a strong expertise in handling all forms of alternative dispute resolution proceedings, having represented clients in numerous mediations, mini-trials and reference proceedings, private trials and arbitrations, both pursuant to arbitration provisions in existing agreements and in disputes which did not involve an enforceable alternative dispute contract provision. He has successfully assisted numerous parties in agreeing to such alternative proceedings and negotiating the terms of an appropriate process even after the commencement of a dispute.


  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers 
  • Institute for Corporate Counsel, advisory board member
  • Western Council of Construction Consumers
  • Construction Management Association of America
  • American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry 
  • State Bar of California, Committee for the Administration of Justice


  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America  in the fields of Construction Law and Litigation - Construction (2008 - 2018)
  • Selected for inclusion in Southern California Super Lawyers (2006 - 2017)

Rated by Super Lawyers


A graduate of Stanford University with a B.A., Mike received his J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law where he served as a Comments Editor on the Washington Law Review. Following graduation and admission to the State Bar of California, he was a clerk to Judge David Soukup in Seattle, Washington, while studying for and gaining admission to the Washington State Bar.

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Washington

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit