John Bates

John B. Bates, Jr., Esq.

JAMS Mediator

Case Manager
Brian Palencia
T: 415-774-2646
2 Embarcadero Center, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94111


John B. Bates, Jr., Esq. has been practicing law since 1974 and mediating full time since 1991. He has conducted over a hundred lectures and trainings on mediation and has mediated several thousand matters in 30 states. He splits his time between his family residences in Northern California and Hawaii.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Began mediating in mid 1980’s as part of litigation practice
  • Co-founded mediation and arbitration firm in 1991 which merged with JAMS in 1994
  • Conducted workshops, trainings, and lectures on all aspects of mediation
  • Handled several thousand mediations across the U.S. involving aviation, business, civil rights, class action, consumer, construction, employment, environmental, franchise, government/public agency, healthcare, insurance, intellectual property, personal injury, professional liability, real estate, patent and trademark, securities, toxic torts, and wills

Representative Matters

  • Class action business disputes in Missouri, $100 million settlement
  • Mass medical malpractice claims in Illinois and New York, $2 million settlement
  • Class action employment dispute in Idaho, multi-million dollar settlement
  • Catastrophic personal injury products liability action in Wyoming, multi-million dollar settlement
  • Numerous health care cases involving HMOs, hospitals, and medical and dental partnerships concerning issues such as insurance payment, reimbursement, and dissolution
  • Class action invasion of privacy case in California, multi-million dollar settlement
  • Architectural malpractice dispute in California, multi-million dollar settlement
  • Environmental contamination dispute in California, multi-million dollar settlement
  • Mass toxic contamination dispute in Alabama, multi-million dollar settlement
  • Numerous insurance bad faith disputes in California, multi-million dollar settlement
  • Venture capital investment fraud cases in California, multi-million dollar settlements
  • Case involving gas pipeline explosion in California, $100 million settlement
  • Dispute involving termination of a highly compensated senior executive in public company in California
  • Case involving the termination of founder of venture capital firm in California, multi-million dollar settlement
  • Dispute involving disability access to college campus in California, multi-million dollar settlement
  • Numerous wage and hour class actions in California, multi-million dollar settlements
  • Catastrophic personal injury case involving explosion in California, $20 million settlement
  • Helicopter crash case in Hawaii, multi-million dollar settlement
  • Commercial airlines crash case in southern California, co-mediated $100 million settlement
  • Wrongful death cases from helicopter crash in the North Atlantic, mediated in New York
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Recognized as an “ADR Champion”, National Law Journal, 2016
  • Recognized as a leading practitioner, Alternative Dispute Resolution Category, Who's Who Legal: California, 2014-2017
  • Past Vice-Chair of the ADR Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law
  • Member of, speaker, and writer for the American Bar Association, American Law Institute, American Trial Lawyers Association, Consumer Attorneys of California, and the Defense Research Institute
  • Member of and speaker for the Association of Business Trial Lawyers Association and Tort, Trial, and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association
  • Member of the American Health Lawyer Association
  • Recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer, ADR Category, 2010-2012
  • Among many articles are:
    • "Mediation: An Effective Way to Connect With Your Clients," ABTL Report, Vol. 17 (Summer 2008) and also in the American Bar Association’s The Brief, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Spring 2009)
    • "For Emergency Disputes, Mediation is Cure," Law 360 (2008)
    • "Using ADR to Resolve Superfund and Related Environmental Disputes," California ADR Practice Guide (November 1994)
    • "Getting the Most from Mediation," California Litigation, Vol. 7 (Spring 1994)
    • "Using Mediation to Win for Your Client," The Practical Lawyer (1992)

ADR Profiles

  • Co-founder, Bates Edwards Group in 1991 that subsequently merged with Endispute and then with JAMS in 1994
  • Litigation Partner, Cooley, Godward, San Francisco, 1974-1991
  • J.D., cum laude, University of Santa Clara School of Law, 1974
  • B.A., with honors, University of California, Berkeley, 1970

Counsel Comments

    • “John is that rare person who has a unique ability to read people, read situations, and establish trust. He uses his lock picker’s touch to achieve settlements that both sides see as win-win. He’s the best.”
    • “[John Bates has a] calm demeanor, deep understanding of issues, and patience.”
    • “John is an impressive, incisive, experienced and astute mediator who quickly commands the legal, factual and other dynamics of a dispute, accurately assesses how to help the parties appreciate their respective risks and then facilitates reasonable compromises and agreements.”
    • “John is outstanding, brought us together, eased tensions.”
    • “I would not hesitate to use John Bates to mediate my most complex class action cases. He is the godfather of mediation.”
    • “I have represented both plaintiffs and defendants in mediations conducted by John Bates…It is a ‘level playing field’ no matter who you represent and he brings a unique approach and method of analysis to resolving each and every case, that inevitably benefits both sides in the dispute.”
    • “John brings to mediations a great deal of experience, a patient and determined approach, and a sensibility to the parties that fosters resolution of disputes.”
    • “[John Bates] quickly grasped the parties’ positions and was able to identify strengths and weaknesses.”
    • “[John Bates is] hard-working and tireless with follow-up.”
    • “What has made [John Bates] successful, and a ‘go to person’, in my experience, is his credibility with defendants and their carriers, along with his ability to reassure a terribly injured plaintiff, or a surviving spouse or parent, that he understands the magnitude of their loss within the context of trying to reach a monetary compromise in situations where, on some level, no amount of compensation is adequate. This special ability allows him to calm the fear and dispel the anger which often interfere with a successful outcome.”
    • “[John Bates] focuses on the task at hand: determining how a settlement can be achieved. This goal orientation enables him to negotiate a broad variety of cases.”



Practice Areas

  • Business/Commercial
  • Civil Rights
  • Class Action/Mass Tort
  • Construction Defect
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Estates/Probate/Trusts
  • Financial Markets
  • Franchise
  • Governmental/Public Agency
  • Health Care
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Maritime/Admiralty
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Securities
Available nationwide


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