In today’s instant everything era, deep roots matter. The Carr McClellan of today – and tomorrow — is a direct result of the vision, energy and commitment to excellence that has defined our firm for over six decades. We’re by no means stuck in the past, nor do we rest on our laurels; we are, however, proud of our accomplishments and confident of the many more on the horizon.


Carr McClellan was founded on one simple principle: Provide top quality, sophisticated legal services—backed by the highest ethical standards—to the businesses and residents of the San Francisco Peninsula.

Following a move from Iowa where he was working as a district attorney, Luther Carr partners with Ed Cosgriff and launches Cosgriff and Carr.  The space above the Miller Drug Co. building in Burlingame becomes the firm’s first offices in 1945.  J. Ed (Jed) McClellan joins Cosgriff and Carr in 1946, expanding the firm’s name to Cosgriff, Carr & McClellan. The firm’s culture and commitment to civic and community organizations are established.

Photo Courtesy of Burlingame Historical Society.


The firm’s growth and reputation continue to grow, with Carr McClellan powered by eight attorneys counseling clients on complex transactions.

The firm represents the landowners in the sale or lease of property to residential and commercial developers to create Foster City, the region’s largest deal at the time. The firm helped establish riparian rights to the canals that define Foster City and decades later helped represent the owners in protecting their leased interests.


The firm closes major business transactions, including representation of Gamlen Chemical Company in its multi-million dollar sale, Ames Taping Tools, Inc., and the Scripps Company. Client relationships expand into business, real estate and other areas—a business model that still exists at Carr McClellan.


Luther Carr and Jed McClellan pass the firm leadership to a new generation of attorneys, including Bob Thompson and Albert Horn.

Reflecting the ongoing commitment to Burlingame, the Peninsula and its businesses and residents, the 200 Park Road addition provides much needed space for the firm’s growing team of attorneys and staff. Carr McClellan subleases a portion of the building to the Burlingame Police Department.


Ongoing commercial and residential development on the Peninsula and Foster City are the focus of Carr McClellan’s Real Estate practice. The firm’s reputation for serving privately held, often family-owned businesses continues to grow, as does the scope and complexity of legal issues.

Many of the firm’s current leaders join Carr McClellan, including Mark Cassanego, who has served as the firm’s President for over 15 years, and Keith Bartel who serves on the Executive Committee and heads the firm’s Trust, Estate & Fiduciary Litigation Group.

The firm’s ethos—based on respect and teamwork—sets it apart from more traditional and bureaucratic law firm institutions.

Carr McClellan acquires established San Francisco bankruptcy and creditors’ rights firm Phelan, Stuppi & McQuaid.


The firm’s growth philosophy—build on strengths—keeps the team focused on client excellence. Service offerings expand into today’s 11 core practice areas. In addition to the Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group brought on through the Phelan merger, the firm adds Employment and Intellectual Property Groups, and continues to grow the existing Trust, Estate & Fiduciary Litigation Group into one of the most active and respected in the state.

2000 – and Beyond

Carr McClellan strengthens its Business Litigation and Construction practices.

The firm earns top 1% nationwide ranking among law firms in FORTUNE Magazine 2012 Top Ranked Law Firms report. Over 55% of the firm’s attorneys are rated AV® Preeminent™. Nationally, of the 254,000 firms with 21 or more lawyers rated by Lexis Nexis® Martindale-Hubbell®, only 965 have more than one-third of their lawyers who are AV-rated; that’s less than 1%.

Fortune magazine issue – Dec. 26, 2011:
“To compile a list of top law firms in the U.S., Lexis Nexis® Martindale-Hubbell® – the authoritative source for information about U.S. lawyers since 1868 – researched its comprehensive database of 1 million lawyers and firms in more than 160 countries and identified U.S. law firms of 21 or more attorneys where at least one out of three lawyers achieved the AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating. This rating indicates the rated lawyer has been deemed by his or her peers to have demonstrated the highest level of ethical standards and legal ability.”