William Cahill

Hon. William J. Cahill (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Scott Schreiber
T: 415-774-2615
F: 415-982-5287
Two Embarcadero Center, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94111


Before being appointed to the Superior Court, Judge Cahill was a construction lawyer at the law firm Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon. He represented design professionals, owners, contractors and subcontractors, both in litigation and as corporate counsel. His practice included representing the design engineer in a dispute of the design outfall in Bombay, India, representing the owners of Fillmore Center during construction of a high rise project in San Francisco, and representing various parties in smaller infrastructure and construction cases. In addition, he served as corporate counsel to a major engineering firm as well as smaller subcontractors.

During the time he served on the court, San Francisco constructed a $50 million courthouse and Judge Cahill represented the court, as owner (the Superior Court of San Francisco), in interacting with contractors, architects, and public entities as well as other judges and city officials. He was deeply involved in the project for seven years, from the initial planning, financing, design, and construction through the mediation in which the contractors' claims were resolved and the courthouse opened.

Representative Matters

  • Arbitrated infrastructure dispute regarding design and construction of a "stadium seating" movie theatre in a major public mall in California
  • Matter involving disputes between the owner and the design professionals regarding the earthquake retrofit of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
  • Mediation involving reconstruction of a gas fired power plant in California after a fire destroyed much of the plant
  • Mediation involving several-million-dollar dispute between owner of a power plant in Florida and design engineer for the project
  • Member of a Design Review Board which reviews disputes that occur during renovation of a Hospital in the Bay Area
  • Sole arbitrator/judge in an infrastructure dispute regarding construction of a commuter train system in the Bay Area
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Included on "National Mediators" list, Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2017-2022
  • Recognized as a Top California Neutral, Daily Journal, 2004, 2005, 2009-2013
  • Recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer, ADR Category, San Francisco Magazine, 2004, 2006-2014
  • Recognized as one of the three Best Neutrals in the Bay Area, through an open survey of attorneys, The Recorder, 2007, 2008, and 2009
  • Recognized as one of the “500 Leading Judges in America,” by Lawdragon Magazine, 2006
  • Recognized as one of the Bay Area's Top 10 Mediators and Top 10 Arbitrators, The Recorder, 2002
  • Chosen as the top judge on the San Francisco Superior Court in a poll published in the San Francisco Examiner; Judge Cahill's settlement skills were noted in the December 14, 1998 article
  • Trial Judge of the Year, San Francisco, 1992
  • Lecturer, international, national, and local speaking engagements including topics related to class actions, mediation, employment, arbitration, insurance, construction, ethics, law and motion practice, expert witnesses, and clause drafting, among others
  • Former Member, Chief Justice Ronald George's Committee to revise the California Civil Jury Instructions
  • Judicial Officer, San Francisco Bar Association Bench Bar Media Committee, 1991-2000
  • Former Member, Board of Directors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 1996-1998; (In 1994, Judge Cahill was chosen by the ABTL to be an instructor on settlements to both the United States District Court, Northern California and the San Francisco Superior Court benches.)
  • Member, Litigation Section, Bar Association of San Francisco, 2000-present
  • "Reading the Room," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, October 16, 2015
  • Judge, San Francisco County Superior Court, 1991-2000
  • Partner, Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon, 1986-1991
  • J.D., Hastings College of Law, 1979
  • B.S., University of California at Berkeley, 1976

Counsel Comments

    • "As a mediator, Judge Cahill is prepared, diligent, perceptive, and persistent. He devotes his full attention to understanding the dispute, the dynamics of the parties and their counsel, and to reaching a resolution.” 
    • “Judge Cahill is an excellent arbitrator. He can handle matters that are extremely complex and he prepares very thoughtful and careful statements of decision.”




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