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 has extensive experience with public entities and is sensitive to the political and organizational issues involved in these matters. He splits his time between his family residences in Northern California and Hawaii.

Representative Mediations

  • Numerous business/commercial disputes involving public entities, including government contracts
  • Numerous catastrophic personal injury cases with public entity as defendant
  • Numerous construction disputes involving public entities
  • Numerous eminent domain/condemnation cases
  • Numerous employment disputes involving public entities
  • Numerous insurance coverage disputes involving public entities
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.”




This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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