Denis F. Shanagher


  • Denis F. Shanagher
  • Phone: +1 415 957 3318

    Import to Address Book

  • Duane Morris LLP
    Spear Tower
    One Market Plaza, Suite 2200
    San Francisco, CA 94105-1127

Denis F. Shanagher has handled jury trials, court trials, mediations and arbitrations for more than 30 years. He advises clients on land use and related litigation (CEQA, entitlement, subdivision map act and administrative hearings). In addition, Mr. Shanagher handles matters involving broker liability; complex construction defect; insurance coverage (advice and litigation for both policyholders and insurers); and general commercial and real estate contracts and disputes. He also has provided counsel in the areas of employment; professional negligence, emphasizing real estate agents, attorneys, accountants and insurance brokers; and directors' and officers' liability.

Mr. Shanagher is a 1981 graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he was a member of the Constitutional Law Quarterly, and a graduate, with distinction, of Stanford University.

Areas of Practice

  • Land Use and Land Use Litigation
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • General Commercial Litigation
  • Insurance Coverage and Insurance Coverage Litigation
  • Construction Litigation
  • Professional Liability Litigation
  • Arbitration and Mediation

Representative Matters

  • Counsel for Tishman Speyer Properties, LP which, through a subsidiary, is the developer of The Infinity, a multi-structure mixed use property in downtown San Francisco.

  • Representing Equity Residential in a lawsuit for breach of contract and negligence against the architect for the construction of the Project, HKS Inc. The lawsuit arises from HKS’ failure to timely and properly deliver its design drawings for the Project, resulting in increased Project costs including escalation and lost rents.

  • Representing a university in an arbitration proceeding arising out of the construction of an artificial turf baseball field.

  • Representing developers and owners in obtaining project approvals (commercial, residential, and industrial) before local and state agencies.

  • Representing property developers/owners in CEQA litigation and contract disputes.

  • Representing property owners and contractors in complex construction defect litigation.

  • Representing insurers and insureds in the evaluation and litigation of complex insurance coverage disputes throughout the Western United States.

  • Representing temporary employment and retail firms in various employment matters, including wage/hour class actions, wrongful termination and discrimination claims.

  • Representing commercial firms in trade secrets and unfair competition claims.

  • Represented national retailer (850+ stores in 26 states) in various commercial litigation matters, including trade secret and unfair competition litigation, SEC litigation and in wage/hour class action.

  • Representing real estate and insurance brokers in errors and omissions litigation.


  • California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California


  • University of California College of the Law, San Francisco, J.D., 1981
    - Member, Constitutional Law Quarterly
  • Stanford University, B.A., 1978


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2015-present
  • McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
    - Partner, 2012-2015
  • Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps LLP
    - Partner, 2004-2012
  • Preuss Walker & Shanagher
    - Partner, 1993-2002
  • Bronson Bronson & McKinnon
    - Associate/Partner, 1981-1993

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
    - Litigation Section
    -- Committee on Corporate Counsel
    - Business Section
    -- Committee on Business and Corporate Litigation
  • State Bar of California
  • San Francisco Bar Association
  • Barristers Club of San Francisco
  • Defense Research Institute
  • American Inns of Court
  • San Francisco Superior Court Arbitrator, 1989-present
  • San Francisco Superior Court Settlement Conference panelist, 1988-present
  • San Francisco Superior Court judge pro tem, 1991-present

Honors and Awards

  • Named a Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation - Real Estate, San Francisco, 2023
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2021-2024
  • Listed in Northern California Super Lawyers

  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • Stanford Rugby Foundation, Chairman, 2004-present
  • The Drew School Board of Directors, 2002-present
  • San Francisco Little League, President, 2006-2009, Board Member
  • The Randall Museum Board of Directors, 1998-2002
  • St. Francis Homes Association, President, 1994-1996

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Participant, "20th Annual Commercial Real Estate Institute," PLI, San Francisco, California, November 8-9, 2018

  • Annual Claims Seminar, RSUI, Atlanta, May 2015
  • PLI Commercial Real Estate Institute, November 2014