I grew up in Los Angeles, but discovered the Bay Area in 1967 when I entered Cal (Berkeley) as a freshman. I graduated with Honors in 1971, and then attended Boalt Hall School of Law, where I was Associate Editor of the California Law Review. I graduated from law school in 1974, by which time I’d become a Bay Area transplant, and I’ve been here ever since. I became a civil litigator because of the opportunity to help people with legal problems, the “chess game” challenges presented by the adversary system, the opportunity to learn about the diverse issues involved in the wide range of cases I handled, and the drama of the courtroom.
Over the years, I also found that the best result for a client was not always achieved through full-blown litigation and trial. Instead, a well-timed analysis of the risks and costs of going forward, and a frank and professional dialog with the opposition, usually resulted in settlement. I learned early on that settlement skills were as important for a litigator as were courtroom skills – and perhaps even more important, since the vast majority of civil cases are in fact settled before trial.
Having participated as a lawyer in hundreds of settlement conferences and mediations over the years, I decided to take the plunge and re-focus my practice from litigation to mediation in 2004. I have found that, as a mediator, I get an immeasurable amount of personal and professional satisfaction from assisting parties in resolving their disputes.