Web Analytics
About Joe

Aggressive, effective, experienced employment litigator and counselor

Joe Connaughton is an experienced trial lawyer who has successfully defended lawsuits to juries and judges in California state and federal courts (both trial and appellate) and has prevailed in arbitrations throughout California, nationally and internationally. His clients include technology, education, health care and staffing company employers, as well as professional sports franchises. He has deep experience advising on:

  • Employment disputes
  • Commercial disputes

Equally trusted at representing clients in the most difficult and sensitive cases, and advising employers at the highest levels, Joe is strategic and practical with everything he does, leading to trial victories and long-term client relationships.

Joe was a co-founder of Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP, which combined with Quarles in 2023.

Experience in Action

  • Defending employers in California and national class actions.
  • Defending employers in high-impact single-plaintiff cases, including discrimination, harassment and bet-the-company whistleblower cases.
  • Aggressively representing employers in employee data theft and mobility matters.


  • Obtained temporary restraining order, permanent injunction and judgment against former employee on behalf of publicly traded technology company in trade secrets theft and Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower litigation.
  • Obtained complete defense verdict in lengthy disability discrimination arbitration on behalf of Fortune 500 company.
  • Obtained complete dismissal, via an anti-SLAPP motion, of a physician harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit on behalf of prestigious medical group.
  • Obtained verdict on behalf of a Fortune 500 technology company in an international commercial arbitration involving breach of highly publicized collaboration agreement between international competitors.
  • Obtained verdict on behalf of a Fortune 500 company in complex commercial litigation involving DNA technology competitors.
  • Obtained defense verdict in a wage and hour misclassification trial on behalf of a wireless communication company; judgment affirmed by Court of Appeal in published opinion.
  • Obtained defense verdict in a whistleblower trial on behalf of a university.
  • Obtained defense verdict in a race harassment and retaliation trial on behalf of a university.
  • Obtained defense verdict in a sexual harassment, wrongful termination and race discrimination arbitration brought by a senior executive of a Fortune 150 company.

Professional Recognitions

  • Best Lawyers in America® (2011-present: Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, Litigation - Labor and Employment, Qui Tam Law
  • San Diego Daily Transcript "Top Attorney" (2006-present)
  • San Diego Super Lawyers® (2007-present: Labor & Employment)

Professional & Civic Activities

  • National Association of College and University Attorneys, member
  • American Bar Association, member
  • State Bar of  California, Labor and Employment Law Section, member
  • San Diego Bar Associations, Labor and Employment Law Section, member

News & Insights


Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Back to Main Content

We use cookies to provide you with the best user experience on our website and to analyze statistics related to our website. To understand more about how we use cookies, or for instructions to change your preference and browser settings, please see our Privacy Notice. Please note that if you choose to reject cookies, doing so may impair some of our website's functionality.