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Deborah Ballati

Deborah S. Ballati, Esq.

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Case Manager
Julie McCool
T: 415-774-2612
F: 415-982-5287
Two Embarcadero Center, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94111

Deborah S. Ballati, Esq. brings to JAMS a broad range of civil and commercial litigation experience, with an emphasis on construction and insurance coverage, earned over her 42 years as an attorney.

As a litigator, Ms. Ballati represented parties in the construction industry, including owners, contractors, subcontractors, sureties and design professionals. She has substantial experience with delay and defect claims arising out of commercial and residential construction projects, in addition to contract drafting negotiations and related insurance matters. 

Ms. Ballati has also represented policyholders in pursuing coverage under all types of insurance policies, including primary and excess general liability, environmental, property, professional liability and employment practice liability policies.

Ms. Ballati served as the first female president of American College of Construction Lawyers (ACCL). She is recognized nationally for her expertise, and she lectures across the country on insurance and construction law.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Served as judge pro tem and arbitrator for the San Francisco Superior Court
  • Served as an arbitrator on a number of commercial and construction arbitration panel
  • Successfully negotiated hundreds of disputes to resolution over her 42-year career

Representative Matters

Selected Representations

As an advocate, Ms. Ballati worked on a wide array construction and insurance litigation, including the following representations:

  • Represented a multi-campus California university in numerous large construction disputes involving student housing, scientific buildings and administrative buildings on various campuses. Matters involved delays, cost overruns and related damages.
  • Represented large, international engineering companies in construction disputes involving a nuclear power plant, water and wastewater facilities, former military base cleanups and redevelopment and other projects.
  • Represented an international architectural firm in construction matters involving a major regional transportation center located in a metropolitan area.
  • Represented a major West Coast port and airport on substantial insurance coverage and construction claims and litigation.
    • Construction matters included disputes involving an airport parking structure, renovation and fortification of an airport perimeter dike, construction to create a public golf course and redevelopment of a former military base.
    • Insurance matters included environmental claims, public officials’ liability claims, builders risk and property claims, construction coverage claims and placement and renewal of environmental, OCIP, property and liability insurance.
  • Represented various public and private entities in large commercial disputes involving contract, antitrust, defamation and other matters.
  • Served as an arbitrator in a number of commercial and construction disputes involving multiple parties and issues.
  • Served as counsel for parties in numerous mediations over 30 years and as a mediator, special master or judge pro tem in many commercial disputes.
  • Member, California Bar Association
  • Member, San Francisco Bar Association
  • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Member, California AGC Legal Advisory Committee
  • American College of Construction Lawyers
    • President, 2011–2012
    • Fellow, 1997–present
  • Adjunct Lecturer, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 2011–present
  • Teacher and Chair, UC Hastings College of Advocacy
  • Best Lawyers’ 2017 San Francisco Litigation-Construction “Lawyer of the Year”
  • Best Lawyers’ 2014 San Francisco Construction Law “Lawyer of the Year”
  • Consistently recognized as one of the leading construction attorneys in Chambers USA and The Legal 500 United States
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2004–2017
  • Best Lawyers in America (Construction, Litigation-Construction), 2003–2017
  • Alumnus of the Year, UC Hastings, 2004
  • Top 50 Women Northern California Super Lawyers, 2004–2014
  • 10 “Most Highly Regarded Individuals” in Construction, Who’s Who Legal, 2012
  • "Top 75 Women Litigators" in California, Daily Journal, 2011
  • Northern California Real Estate Women of Influence, San Francisco Business Times, 2011
  • Chair, American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry, 2002–2003
  • Member, Governing Committee, Forum Committee on the Construction of the American Bar Association, 1997–2000
  • J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 1975
    • Order of the Coif
    • Thurston Society
  • B.A., Stanford University, 1972
    • Phi Beta Kappa



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Construction
  • Construction Defect
  • Engineering and Construction
  • Governmental/Public Agency
  • Insurance
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee
Available nationwide


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More