Managing Partner: John B. Campbell

John B. Campbell is the Senior Partner and founder of CV&L. Mr. Campbell is an experienced trial lawyer and has extensive experience in commercial litigation and insurance defense matters. He was born in Boston, MA in 1948 and is licensed to practice law in the states of California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Mr. Campbell has been admitted to practice before all of the Federal Courts in California and Nevada; he has also been admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Campbell graduated from Harvard University, with a degree in Psychology in 1970. He received his Juris Doctorate from Boston College Law School in 1973.

From 1973-1977, Mr. Campbell served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy JAG Corps, specializing in criminal litigation. While serving first with the Marine Corps in Southeast Asia and then with the Navy in San Diego, Mr. Campbell prosecuted and defended over 150 general and special court-martials that were tried to completion.

In civil practice, Mr. Campbell has tried over 30 jury trials. Many of those trials involved millions of dollars of exposure. Mr. Campbell has also handled hundreds of binding and non-binding arbitration and mediation proceedings.

Before forming CV&L, Mr. Campbell was a founding partner of the San Diego firm of Hughes & Campbell (1983-1990). Before that, Mr. Campbell was an attorney with the commercial litigation firm of Sullivan & Jones (1977-1983); Mr. Campbell was a Partner in that firm for his last three years. Since 1978, Mr. Campbell has specialized in the handling of professional malpractice cases, high-exposure catastrophic injury cases, construction defect cases, insurance bad faith, subrogation and declaratory relief cases, and other complex litigation. He has also been involved in complex civil lawsuits involving antitrust and breach of contract issues.

Mr. Campbell also specializes in intellectual property disputes - including, but not limited to, patent infringement claims. Mr. Campbell now handles such claims for two national insurance carriers in Southern California.


  • Complex Civil Lawsuits
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Insurance Defense
  • Professional Malpractice
  • High-Exposure Catastrophic Injury Cases
  • Intellectual Property
  • Construction Defect Cases
  • Insurance Bad Faith
  • Subrogation and Declaratory Relief
  • Antitrust and Breach of Contract
  • Mass Torts and Class Action Litigation


As noted above, Mr. Campbell has tried over 30 civil jury trials since his release from active duty as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy JAG Corps. Those trials have involved commercial litigation; multi-million dollar personal injury claims; professional malpractice claims (defending both lawyers and healthcare professionals); and construction defect/construction contract cases. The combined exposures of those trials is well in excess of $200,000,000.

This past year, Mr. Campbell has tried two large personal injury cases - where the damages that were argued/requested by counsel for plaintiffs in each of those two jury trials were between $5,000,000-$10,000,000. Both trials (Hillyer and Carlson) resulted in "defense wins" - in that the jury returned verdicts ($325,000 in Hillyer; $1,100,000 in Carlson) that were almost exactly what had been offered by Mr. Campbell to plaintiffs' counsel before trial. See the descriptions of both cases in our firm's website.


Mr. Campbell has also handled numerous appellate matters, some of which are referenced below. All of the below-referenced appeals/cases are described in more detail in the firm's website that discusses our appellate practice:

Smoketree- Lake Murray, Ltd. v. Mills Concrete Construction Company, Inc. (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 1724;

Shaffer v. Debbas (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 33;

Alcala Company, Inc. v. Superior Court (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1308;

University Canyon Homeowner Association v. Collins Development Company, et al. (2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 771);

Smith, et al. v. San Dieguito Unified High School District, et al. - an Unpublished Opinion;

Noon v. U.S.A. Track & Field, et al. - an Unpublished Opinion.


  • Rated "AV" (very high to pre-eminent legal ability and ethics) from Martindale-Hubbell
  • Associate, American Board of Trial Advocates (A.B.O.T.A.)
  • American Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Association of Southern California Defense Lawyers
  • San Diego Defense Lawyers
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, State Bar of Nevada
  • Member, State Bar of Massachusetts
  • Member, State Bar of Rhode Island
  • Member, San Diego Building Industry Association
  • Member, San Diego County Associated General Contractors


Mr. Campbell has conducted many seminars as an expert for the National Business Institute (NBI) in San Diego. He frequently gives presentations to various groups in San Diego concerning construction litigation. Mr. Campbell is also an officer and/or director of numerous small companies in San Diego - to whom he provides advice.

© 2008 Campbell Volk & Lauter