John Poulos

Managing Partner

John Poulos is a partner in the Sacramento office of Lewis Brisbois and is co-chair of the Complex Business & Commercial Litigation Practice where he focuses exclusively on commercial litigation. He is also vice-chair of both Lewis Brisbois’ Banking & Finance Practice and the Directors & Officers and Securities Litigation Practice.

Mr. Poulos is an experienced federal and state court trial lawyer with more than two decades of experience handling complex business litigation matters. Mr. Poulos has extensive appellate and jury trial experience which recently securing one of the few class action defense verdicts in California’s history. Mr. Poulos also represents officers, directors, and corporations in all matter of cases including breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentation, and derivative claims. He recently won a defense verdict for trustees of a large trust in a failure to diversify case.

Mr. Poulos' practice spans a multitude of subject matter areas including class actions, complex real estate matters, construction disputes, breach of contract, employment discrimination, fraud and a wide variety of other commercial business disputes.­ Mr. Poulos has many years of experience representing owners, contractors, subcontractors, lenders and material suppliers in both public and private works construction disputes and has prosecuted and defended False Claims Act claims. He also has experience prosecuting and defending mechanics' liens, stop notices, performance and payment bond claims, and construction defect claims. Mr. Poulos has represented design professionals and contractors regarding state licensing issues and has extensive experience representing developers, title insurance companies, builders, lenders and property owners in a variety of real estate disputes, including government investigations, disputes as to title, lien priority, breach of contract, development rights and real estate related torts, including significant mold-related claims and property contamination matters. Mr. Poulos has experience litigating claims under CERCLA, RCRA, the Clean Water Act, California's Endangered Species Act and various other state environmental statutes.

Finally, Mr. Poulos has significant experience handling binding arbitrations both domestically and internationally and has successfully resolved many complex disputes through other alternative dispute resolution processes, including early neutral evaluation programs and mediation.

Mr. Poulos has been named one of Northern California’s Super Lawyers for many years running and is consistently recognized as a top California trial lawyer from various peer and industry organizations. Mr. Poulos was a law clerk to Justices Edmund Burke, Alexander Bryner and Robert Eastaugh of the Alaska Supreme Court. Mr. Poulos is a former Trustee of the Davis Joint Unified School District.

Primary Area(s) of Practice

  • Banking & Finance
  • Complex Business & Commercial Litigation
  • Wage & Hour Class Actions
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
  • Italy Practice
  • Directors & Officers Litigation
  • Environment, Land, & Natural Resources Law
  • National Trial Practice
  • COVID-19: Commercial & Contractual Litigation Disputes

Additional Experience







Supreme Court of the United States

Awards & Honors

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America® 2023-2024 — Commercial Litigation, Construction Law, Real Estate Law
  • America’s Top 100 Bet-The-Company Litigators Northern California 2019
  • Ranked as Northern California Super Lawyers, 2005, 2011- 2019, Business Litigation
  • Named to the 2019 and 2020 lists of “America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators for Northern California”
  • Certified as being selected as a Charter Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America
  • Selected by Peer Recognition in The Best Lawyers in America, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022
  • Selected by Peer Recognition as Best Lawyers in Northern California, Wall Street Journal, 2018, 2020
  • Recognized in Top Lawyers, Sacramento Magazine, 2016—2018, 2020
  • Selected for inclusion in Best of the Bar, Sacramento Business Journal, 2015
  • Selected for inclusion in Northern California's Super Lawyers, San Francisco Magazine, 2013–2015, 2019, 2020
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers as Top Attorneys in Northern California, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers as Top Attorney in Construction Law and Real Estate Law


University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law

Juris Doctor, 1991

Claremont McKenna College

Bachelor of Arts, 1987

Offices Held

Trustee of the Davis Joint Unified School District (2000-2003)

Published Opinions

  • Verizon v. Airtouch - Third District Court of Appeal
  • American Nurses Association v. O'Connell - Third District Court of Appeal
  • Premier Medical v. CNA Insurance - Fourth District Court of Appeal
  • Health Net v. Haukedelin - Third District Court of Appeal
  • Kern County Water Agency, et al. v. California Department Water Resources - Fourth District Court of Appeal
  • American Nurses Association v. Torlakson – Third District Court of Appeal


  • Supreme Court Settles Jurisdiction Question Under Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Authors: Andrew D. Bluth, Lauren Lynch Flick, John S. Poulos, 1/19/2012
  • Nonprofit Defends Purchase Deals for City of Los Angeles, Authors: Deborah B. Baum, Andrew D. Bluth, Alvin Dunn, John S. Poulos, Chris R. Rodriguez, 4/25/2008
  • Pillsbury Winthrop on Affordable Housing 2003 Issue, Authors: Rachel B. Horsch, Michael Ouimette, John S. Poulos, Matthew Africa, Jason A. Hobson, Tuan A. Pham, Monique L.C. Wright, Paul R. Schrecongost, Gary Downs, 2/18/2003