Joseph E. Dworak


Business Litigation; Hospitality Law; Hospitality Litigation; Construction; Arbitration/Mediation

Mr. Dworak has over thirty years of legal experience in representing clients from individuals and small businesses to large, publicly-traded companies in various business disputes, including contract claims, real estate matters, and closely held and family-owned business disputes. His clients range from Santa Clara Valley’s oldest businesses and families to Silicon Valley’s newest technology companies.

Mr. Dworak has a wide range of experience in both the academic and the professional community, including serving as a Special Master (appointed by the State Bar for overseeing high tech criminal investigations), in addition to being an Arbitrator of disputes through private and court-coordinated programs.

Mr. Dworak was the founder of the San Jose State University Advisory Board for the Hospitality Management Program. Additionally, Mr. Dworak has received academic teaching appointments in local universities and community colleges including San Jose State University and the Small Business Institute at West Valley Community College. He has handled many noteworthy cases and has procured multi-million dollar settlements for his clients.

In 2004 and 2007-2008 Mr. Dworak was recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer in the Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel edition in the area of Business Litigation.

Professional Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • Supreme Court of California
  • United States District Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Court, Northern, Central, Eastern, Southern Districts of California
  • United States Claims Court, 1988


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  • Small Claims Court Guide - Berliner Cohen, "Practical Guide for Prosecution of Small Claims Court Matters"
  • Litigation - Berliner Cohen "Practical Procedural Guide for Litigation"
  • "Hospitality Alert" - monthly publication related to hospitality management and operations
  • Business Journal - April 18, 1994 - Focus Section
  • Business Journal - May 30, 1994 - Focus Section
  • Coverage of trial and litigation experience - represented a number of clients whose cases were considered newsworthy in Silicon Valley:
    • San Jose Mercury News, July 15, 1987 and July 18, 1987. Reported on a five month jury trial in which Mr. Dworak successfully defended Adam Osborne, the founder of Osborne Computer; the other defendant, accountant Arthur Young, lost at trial, but prevailed on an appeal; case now the precedent setting ruling on accountant's liability in California
    • Wall Street Journal, July 20, 1987. Mr. Dworak's trial victory for Adam Osborne was reported nationally reflecting the high profile nature of the case and its impact on accountants nationwide
    • San Jose Mercury News, April 7, 1989 and August 10, 1989. Reported the Fairmont Hotel hiring of Mr. Dworak to collect from Salvatore (Bill) Bonanno, the eldest son of alleged Mafia boss Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno, for the huge wedding reception bills which the family refused to pay
    • Business Journal, May 20, 1991. Newspaper uncovered the confidential settlement Mr. Dworak obtained for California Micro Devices in a lawsuit against a Xerox subsidiary, reporting the settlement at $10 million, the largest settlement in the history of Berliner Cohen
    • San Jose Mercury News, April 2, 1992 and April 4, 1992. Profiled Mr. Dworak's involvement as a State Bar appointed Special Master in a probe of three San Jose policemen who were accused of leaking rap sheets; Mr. Dworak was appointed to oversee the seizure of a private detective's records
    • San Jose Mercury News, June 5, 1993; sought expert advice from Mr. Dworak for an article concerning unique financing arrangements for real property transactions
    • San Francisco Daily Journal, April 29, 1994. Front page article included Mr. Dworak's comments regarding Charles Hackett, who was arrested for allegedly hiring a hit man to kill his wife, Zaida Hackett, a San Jose administrative law judge; Mr. Dworak successfully defended his clients in a lawsuit brought by the Hacketts
    • Business Journal, January 9, 1995. Featured Mr. Dworak's lawsuit on behalf of Suntrips, the largest air charter company in California, against Leisure Air, seeking millions of dollars in lost revenue due to the cancellation of flights
    • Business Journal, February 13, 1995. Focused on Mr. Dworak's lawsuit on behalf of Metro Publishing against a San Francisco weekly for breach of an agreement allowing Metro Publishing to expand into the San Francisco market
    • San Jose Mercury News, August 14, 1995. Front page local section article on Mr. Dworak's defense of a trademark case concerning the well known children's character, Barney, the purple dinosaur; article recapped a raid conducted by the U. S. Marshal's office on the company which was allegedly replicating and bootlegging Barney merchandise
    • San Jose Mercury News, August 19, 1995. Reported Mr. Dworak's defense of an action brought by The Walt Disney Company for trademark infringement against a San Jose business
    • San Francisco Daily Journal, October 7, 1996, San Jose Post Record, October 9, 1996. Reviewed Mr. Dworak's role as Special Master for the District Attorney's high tech crime unit in the search of records involving an intrusion of an attorney's confidential files through electronic eavesdropping by another attorney
    • Business Journal, December 9, 1996. Front page report of Mr. Dworak's lawsuit filed on behalf of Suntrips Inc., a San Jose-based travel company to collect $4.5 million due to the grounding of Rich International Airways Inc. by the FAA
    • Business Journal, September 22, 1997. Report on the retention of Mr. Dworak and Berliner Cohen to assist by the Citizens Group in the San Jose Evergreen area to litigate the City of San Jose's approval of the controversial Sikh Temple in the Evergreen neighborhood


  • American Bar Association, 1986 - present
  • California Trial Lawyers Association, 1981 - present
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, 1979 - present
  • State Bar of California, Special Master, 1990 - present
  • West Valley Community College, Member, Advisory Board International Business Program, 1991 - present, Member, Advisory Board Small Business, International Program, 1994 - present
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association, Mentor Attorney for the Modest Means Panel, 1993 - present
  • San Jose State University Advisory Board for the Hospitality Management Program, President, 2005 - present
  • City of San Jose, Block Grant Development Program, 1982 - 1984
  • Humane Society of Santa Clara Valley, Board of Directors, 1989 - 1992
  • Victorian Preservation Association of Santa Clara Valley, Member, 1991 - present
  • Campus Community Association, Member, 1980 - present

Academic Positions

  • University of California, Santa Cruz Extension, "Real Estate," Fall 1981
  • University of Santa Clara School of Law Paralegal Program, "Research and Writing," Fall 1983
  • West Valley Community College
    • Paralegal Institute, "Ethics and Civil Procedure," 1988 - 1991
    • Small Business Program, "Legal Aspects of Small Business," 1988 - present
  • San Jose State University School of Business Hospitality Management Program, "Hospitality Law," 1992 - present


  • Santa Clara University School of Law, J.D., 1979
  • University of California, Davis, A.B. Economics, with Honors, 1976, Economics Honor Society, 1976
  • California Community College Instructor Credential, 1987, Subject Matter Area: Law


  • Born in Richmond, California, February 4, 1954
  • Married
  • Interests include historic preservation of older homes, water skiing and reading