Matthew A. Hodel

Phone: 949-450-4420

Matt Hodel is a trial lawyer with more than 30 years of experience.

Professional Highlights

  • Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.
  • 14 years as a litigation partner with a major international law firm, and the Chair of its Orange County office’s litigation practice.  Since 2003 he has practiced litigation as a founding law firm partner, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in diverse industries.
  • Representation of law firms in ethics matters and defense of legal malpractice claims.
  • Successful jury and bench trials and arbitrations for plaintiffs and defendants, throughout California, outside this state, and in Europe.
  • IP disputes including: a noted trademark infringement decision that he successfully argued to summary judgment to the trial court and then to the Ninth Circuit, resulting in published opinions in both instances; an international software arbitration in London; a valuation trial; and many unfair competition, valuation, software, trade secret and related issues.
  • Lead attorney in fund investment arbitration resulting in $16.7 million arbitration award, including punitive damages, in clients’ favor which was later fully confirmed by the Superior Court.
  • Lead trial attorney in unanimous jury trial award of $7 million in favor of client, a New York Stock Exchange REIT, asserting various unfair competition claims against one of the country’s largest supermarket chains.  Jury also found malice; case settled before proceeding to punitive damage phase.
  • Lead defense counsel in a 12-0 jury verdict in what was labeled “The Longest Civil Jury Trial in Riverside County History.”
  • Representation of a nationally-known accounting firm what was considered to be the largest bank audit malpractice case ever litigated in Orange County.
  • Complex, high-stakes disputes over virtually every facet of the fields of real estate, banking and lending.
  • Clean-up litigation arising from one of the largest bank failures in the annals of U.S. banking.
  • Argument to the California Supreme Court which helped establish the retroactive application of Proposition 64, the citizen’s ballot initiative which curbed certain abusive business tort lawsuits.
  • Counseling and litigation in the direct-selling industry.
  • Selected as a Super Lawyer and a “Top 50 Orange County Attorney” by Thompson Reuters, the publisher of “Super Lawyers.”

In the Community

Over the years he has served in the following positions:

  • California State Bar Board of Trustees’ Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC)(develops and issues advisory ethics opinions to assist attorneys in understanding their professional responsibilities under the California Rules of Professional Conduct).
  • Orange County Bar Association’s Professionalism and Ethics Committee (reviews and reports to the OCBA Board of Governors on legal ethics and policy issues; publishes legal ethics opinions).
  • Co-Chair of the Orange County Constitutional Rights Foundation’s high school mock trial program.  He also serves as a scoring judge each year in the program’s county-wide competition and has served as a scoring attorney in the state-wide contests.
  • United States District Court, Central District of California’s Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel (makes recommendations to the Central District judges on re-appointment of sitting magistrates and appointment of new magistrates).
  • Member of and Chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Judiciary Committee (renders evaluations to the Governor’s Office regarding judicial applicants and candidates).
  • Co-Head Coach of the UC Irvine School of Law Mock Trial Team
  • Head Coach (for 10 years) of the Tesoro High School Mock Trial Team which competes each year in the Orange County Constitutional Rights Foundation’s mock trial contests. Students from his teams, including his son, have become practicing lawyers, attended law school and/or competed on the collegiate level on mock trial teams.
  • Judge, National Collegiate Mock Trial Championships, Western Regional and University of California, Irvine School of Law, Moot Court Competition.
  • St. Francis School of Law Advisory Council.
  • Board of Directors of the Constitutional Rights Foundation (Orange County chapter), Board of Governors of the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, and Board of Governors of the Orange County chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.

His public speaking and writing participation includes:

  • Publications: Twice in the Hastings Law Journal and on various litigation and legal ethics topics in the California Lawyer, The American Bar Association Journal, The Los Angeles Lawyer, California Real Property Journal, California Law Business, Orange County Lawyer and the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
  • Lectures and speeches on legal matters to: California Bankers Association; UCI Irvine Paul Merage School of Business; California Continuing Education of the Bar’s Advanced Federal Practice, California Civil Practice Before Trial, Fundamentals of Civil Trial Practice, Fundamentals of Business Practices Litigation, Recent Developments in California Civil Litigation, Evaluating and Proving Damages in Business Litigation and Effective Jury Voir Dire and Special Rules of Professional Responsibility for In-House Counsel; the Association of Business Trial Lawyers and the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, on Jury Selection; Orange County Bar Association, to its general section, Legal Malpractice, Ethical Limits on Advocacy and Avoiding Malpractice Claims in Business Litigation, and to its corporate counsel section; Whittier Law School, How to Build a Law Practice.

Education and Other Professional

B.A. degree, 1977, with highest honors, from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and J.D. degree, 1980, from the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco, where he was a Note and Comment Editor and author on The Hastings Law Journal. Litigation associate with McCutchen, Black, Verleger and Shea (1980-82), associate and partner with Paul Hastings LLP (1983-2003) and a partner with Hodel Briggs Winter LLP (2003-2014).