When William Nagle and Vernon Vale started McDowall Cotter, APC, at a time when the rhythmic clatter of typewriters filled legal offices. Much has changed since then, yet much has remained the same.

Our core business, for instance: civil litigation, business counseling and wealth preservation. These were among the areas of proficiency our founders brought to the table in 1953 and they remain central to our practice today. In the mid 1960s, when William McDowall joined Nagle & Vale, he brought with him State Farm Insurance and a new emphasis on insurance defense litigation.

Bernard Cotter’s partnership with William McDowall, established in 1965, continued to emphasize civil litigation, business counseling and wealth preservation, while expanding our insurance industry clientele to include the Progressive Insurance Company and the California State Automobile Association. More recently, the notoriety of the firm’s estate planning and wealth preservation group, under the guidance of Vernon Vale’s son, Robert Vale, has grown among individuals and business clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

In 2006, Bernard Cotter and William McDowall assumed an “of counsel” relationship with the firm, handing the reins to Robert Vale and David Rosenbaum. In 2007, wealth preservation, litigation and tax expert Brett Lytle came on board as a partner.

McDowall Cotter continues to combine excellent civil litigation, business counseling and wealth preservation services with the same commonsense approach to the law for which it’s been known for more than half a century. With their office based in San Mateo, McDowall Cotter, APC, serves the community with various pro-bono activities, provides continuing education to fellow attorneys and business persons, and remains active in numerous associations, including the San Mateo County Bar.

We are here to help. Get in touch.

If you are interested in our services or have any questions, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can.