Daniel J. Callahan
Celebrated litigator, Daniel J. Callahan (“Dan”), has a forthright confidence backed by quantifiable results, successful verdicts, and settlements. As one of the top trial attorneys in the state of California, he has attained over $1 billion in awards for his clients and throughout his storied 42-year career, he’s upheld one vital strategy—be prepared! “If you’re not preparing to win, you’re preparing to fail,” he shares.
Dan’s formidable trial skills are evident in several of his landmark cases. He brought and won a complex breach of contract dispute for Beckman Coulter v. Flextronics, receiving a unanimous jury verdict after a three-month trial, in which the award was $934 million. It was the largest in California that year, and to this day, remains the largest in Orange County history. Apart from monetary awards, Dan also set important legal precedents, such as getting patent and trade secrets infringement covered under a general liability insurance policy. “We have proven ourselves to be experts in insurance coverage and in finding insurance coverage for our clients,” he shares.
Until recently, Dan was the managing partner of Callahan & Blaine, a prominent law firm that has been part of the southern California landscape since 1984. Now he is preparing to serve the community in two more, very exciting ways as CEO of Callahan Consulting Group.
ABOUT CALLAHAN CONSULTING GROUP
Callahan Consulting Group serves law firms and sole practitioners throughout California, providing consultation on litigation and trial strategies, as well as creative techniques to present issues and arguments for both plaintiffs and defendants. Dan’s litigation practice areas include civil, business, personal injury, employment, and insurance, and as someone who knows the best attorneys in America, he also helps clients find the best lawyers for their cases in their community.
Juries adore Dan, the opposition fear him, and clients rely on him. He’s obtained many eight-figure verdicts and settlements and defended against and defeated some of the finest plaintiff firms in the country. He’s highly respected by the legal community, and as such, he has cultivated a contact list that reads like a Who’s Who among the legal elite. There’s no problem that he can’t handle and even after 42 years, he’s still solving them at an astounding rate. This impressive record has led to his recognition as OCTLA Trial Lawyer of the Year three times, and being named as one of the Top 10 Attorneys in the United States, according to the National Law Journal. He’s also been voted California Business Trial Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer Magazine and named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the American Trial Association—all while maintaining a top ranking by Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and Avvo.
The Top 100 Magazine spoke with Dan to learn more about the latest additions to the Callahan Consulting Group’s suite of services and the memorable cases that led to his stellar reputation as a fierce litigator, client advocate, and trailblazer.
Dan, let’s begin with the attorney referral and case-matching services offered by your firm.
The first component is helping clients find a suitable attorney in their area for the particular specialty that is required. Based on four decades of experience and my familiarity with many of the leading attorneys nationwide, I can strategically vet attorneys to ensure I recommend the best match. Without proficiency in the law, or an intimate knowledge of those practicing it, a client cannot make an informed decision about who should represent them. More often than not, especially with personal injury attorneys, the firms you see on billboards aren’t always the best. They just have bigger marketing budgets. The second component, which ultimately complements the first, is working with attorneys to improve their pretrial and trial litigation strategies. My firm has often been retained to clean up a mess that another attorney made in handling a case, so we understand the need for this service.
You’ve made headlines for some of your settlements. Can you give us some highlights?
Exclusive of mass torts or class actions, I received the largest personal injury settlement in U.S. history on a road design case against the City of Dana Point. This particular case was especially memorable for me because other attorneys had refused to take it because the defendant was an uninsured drunk driver. I took the case and pursued the city on behalf of two women who were rendered quadriplegic. Despite the obvious liability of the driver, I settled the case with the City for $50 million.
There’s no debating your achievements, but what do you believe to be the underlying factors of your success?
The thing that immediately comes to mind is preparation. I read and summarize all of my own depositions and prepare all of my examinations. I had one case where my client was a large company being sued by a man claiming emotional distress. On the stand, the plaintiff described his emotional distress as being in a white room with no doors or windows. Something about that sounded familiar to me so I went back and did some research. I discovered that his testimony was taken from an episode of The Twilight Zone. I read that very language from the back of the video cover and the jury laughed. Had I not already been fully prepared for upcoming witnesses, I would have not had the time to devote to researching this issue. Later the jury gave me a unanimous defense verdict.
Lastly, Dan, we’ve heard that you’re very engaged in the community. Tell us about some of your philanthropic undertakings.
I am involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Organization, the Liver Foundation, and CHOC, which benefits children in impoverished areas. I have personally funded the education of several inner-city youths who went on to become doctors. Giving back is very important to me.
Daniel received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Western Illinois University, and his J.D., with honors, from University of California at Davis School of Law.
Daniel J. Callahan
Managing Partner, Callahan Consulting Group
Mission Impossible https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlEB1sZ5xyg&t=5s
Click on the magazine to download a copy.