Thomas M. McInerney


Thomas (“Tom”) McInerney, a founding shareholder of the San Francisco office of Ogletree Deakins in 2008, has extensive employment litigation and counseling experience in all aspects of labor and employment law.  He has tried to verdict several cases in both state and federal courts, and represents clients in a wide-range of fields, including technology, financial services, insurance, construction, energy/utility, healthcare, transportation and logistics, and personal services. 

Tom’s expertise is in dealing with complex or novel issues, including sex and race discrimination and harassment, wage and hour class actions, alleged theft of trade secrets, and breach of contract.  Tom also has significant experience in appellate matters, including litigating cases in the California Court of Appeal, the California Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Arbitrations and mediations are also a large part of Tom’s practice.  Tom has assisted clients in developing arbitration and mediation programs, and he has represented a wide variety of clients in these alternative dispute resolution proceedings.

Tom brings a practical business perspective to his practice, formed in part by his experience working with large, medium-size, and small business clients throughout California and elsewhere.  He also serves on the Ogletree Deakins Client Services Committee.  Prior to joining the firm he was a labor and employment partner with the national law firm of Thelen, Reid, Brown, Raysman & Steiner.

AV Rated Martindale Hubbell



Tom has experience in jury and bench trial on behalf of employers in sex harassment, age discrimination, and complex contract dispute cases.  He also has directed all aspects of litigation, including pre-trial discovery and law and motion practice, involving claims of discrimination (sex, race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and others), tort (defamation, assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and others), and breach of contract. 

Tom has also developed an expertise in wage and hour defense, including in class actions asserting failure to pay overtime, failure to provide meal breaks, and other alleged violations of California and federal law. 

Tom has led the defense in arbitrations involving a wide range of claims, including for breach of contract, discrimination, and violations of the California Labor Code. 

Tom has also argued a large number of appellate matters, including briefing and arguing cases before the California Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit, and other state and federal courts in California and elsewhere.  Examples of Tom’s published cases include:

  • Guz v. Bechtel National, Inc., 24 Cal. 4th 317 (2000), a landmark Supreme Court decision addressing California state law for claims of discrimination, breach of employment contract, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing
  • Greene v. Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, 49 Cal.4th 277 (2010), a unanimous California Supreme Court decision upholding the legality of a flood fee election raising millions of dollars for flood protection in Marin County.
  • Stiefel v. Bechtel Corp., 624 F.3d 1240 (9th Cir. 2010), a Ninth Circuit decision involving novel substantive and procedural issues for disability discrimination claims.
  • Conley v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 131 Cal. App. 4th 260 (2005), a Court of Appeal decision rejecting opinion letters from the California Labor Commissioner involving class certification and vacation pay.
  • West v. Bechtel Corporation, 96 Cal. App. 4th 966 (2002), a decision overturning a jury verdict in which the plaintiff had asserted state discrimination laws applied to employment overseas.
  • Application Group, Inc. v. The Hunter Group, 61 Cal. App. 4th 881 (1998), a landmark decision addressing conflicts of law as applied to noncompetition clauses.

Education and Honors


J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law, 1992
B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1986

Honors and Awards: 
  • Super Lawyers of Northern California

Professional Activities

Professional Activities: 
  • Member of the Town Council of the Town of San Anselmo, California
  • Chair, Central Marin Police Council
  • Ross Valley Fire District Board Member
  • Member of the Marin County Flood Control District 9 Advisory Board
  • State Bar of California (Labor and Employment Section)
  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Barack Obama Delegate, 2008 Democratic National Convention, Denver, CO
  • John Kerry Delegate to the Rules Committee, 2004 Democratic Convention, Boston, MA
  • Campaign Field Director – Dukakis for President Campaign (1987-1988)
  • Campaign Organizer – Clinton/Gore Campaign, Los Angeles, CA (1992)
  • Ogletree Deakins Unfair Competition Webinar - "Protecting Trade Secrets and Balancing Employee Rights in California" - San Francisco - November 15, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Cyber Sabotage by Employees: Practical Prevention and Legal Strategies" - Chicago - May 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Portable Devices Freeze Employers in their Tracks" - Las Vegas - May 6, 2010
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Latest Developments in California Employment Law 2009" - Miami - May 2009
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Latest Developments in California Employment Law 2008" - New Orleans - May 2008

In The News

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