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310.524.0400 (Direct)



2401 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 206

Hermosa Beach, California 90254


Sonia S. Waisman is a partner at McCloskey, Waring, Waisman & Drury LLP.  She is engaged in general business litigation, focusing on complex insurance coverage cases.  She has been national environmental coverage counsel for several large insurance companies and has served as liaison counsel in multi-billion-dollar cases.  Throughout her career, she has handled a wide array of litigated and non-litigated complex insurance coverage matters, including environmental, toxic tort (including mold), advertising injury and personal injury liability coverage, oil and gas, construction defect and bad faith, among other issues, under various types of policies.  She has litigated in both state and federal courts throughout the country at the trial court and appellate levels, obtaining favorable judgments, as well as achieving successful resolution through mediation.  Ms. Waisman has written several articles regarding insurance coverage law in professional journals, as well as annual updates for an environmental insurance coverage text.  Ms. Waisman has received the highest rating (AV) from her peers.


Ms. Waisman is also actively involved in the development of animal law, through her work in academia. 

  • She was an Adjunct Professor of Animal Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles; created and developed the first animal law course at California Western School of Law; and was a Visiting Law Professor at Vermont Law School. 

  • Ms. Waisman has been actively involved, for more than a decade, in the National Animal Law Appellate Moot Court Competition, held most recently at Harvard Law School.  

  • She has co-authored several Animal Law casebooks, textbooks and journal articles (see Publications).

  • She has spoken at animal law conferences (see Speaking Engagements for a sampling), and also served as Co-Chair of the Animal Law Guild Second Annual Conference at Loyola Law School in 2015. 


Ms. Waisman worked with various national and local non-profit organizations developing a wide variety of issues related to animal law, including serving as, and as Member and Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and other non-profit organizations working for the interests of nonhuman animals. 


Ms. Waisman began her practice working with her current partner, Kathy Waring, in the San Diego office of Adams, Duque & Hazeltine, which later amalgamated into Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps.  She was a Partner in the Los Angeles office of Morrison & Foerster LLP before joining MWWD as Partner in the Los Angeles office in 2008.

In addition to her law practice and work in the development of animal law, Ms. Waisman served as Judge Pro Tem for the San Diego County Superior Court, Small Claims Division, until she relocated to Los Angeles in 2000.  

While in law school, she was a Judicial Extern with the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District. 


  • California Western School of Law

    • J.D., 1991

  • Albany College of Pharmacy

    • B.S., Medical Technology


  • California 

  • U.S. District Court: Central District of California

  • U.S. District Court: Southern District of California

  • U.S. District Court: Eastern District of California

  • U.S. District Court: Northern District of California

  • U.S. Court of Appeals: Seventh Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals: Ninth Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals: Tenth Circuit

  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • Complex Insurance Coverage Litigation

  • Animal Law (primarily academia)


  • American Bar Association, Tort & Insurance Practice Section

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association

  • Animal Legal Defense Fund (since law school in 1989)


  • Hebrew (fluent)

  • Spanish (intermediate level of fluency)

  • French (intermediate level of fluency)

  • ANIMAL LAW: CASES AND MATERIALS, Carolina Academic Press (6th Ed. 2019) (Co-Author of this and all prior editions).

  • ANIMAL LAW IN A NUTSHELL, West (3rd Ed. 2021) (Co-Author of this and all prior editions).


  • Non-Economic Damages”: Where Does It Get Us and How Do We Get There?,” 1 J. Animal Law 7 (2005).

  • Recovery of “Non-Economic Damages” for Wrongful Killing or Injury of Companion Animals: A Judicial and Legislative Trend, 7 Animal Law 45 (2001).

  • Animals Need Lawyers, Too, San Diego Lawyer (Sept./Oct. 2000).

  • Finding a Niche in Animal Law,” Animal Law Guild’s Inaugural Conference on Animal Law, Loyola Law School (2014).

  • Debate Over Advancing Civil Damages for Companion Animals,” 15th Annual Animal Law Conference, Lewis & Clark Law School (2007).

  • Confronting the Barriers to the Courtroom for Animal Advocates: Standing, Causes of Action, & Cultural Transitions,” New York University School of Law Symposium (2006).

  •  “The Future of Animal Law,” Yale Law School Conference (2004).

  • Yale University, Morse College, Guest Speaker (November 4, 2004).

  • San Diego County Bar Ass’n, CLE Presentation: Overview of Animal Law (April 24, 2001; February 5, 2004).

  • UCLA School of Law, Animal Law Speaker Series (February 24, 2000).

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