George Calkins

George D. Calkins II, Esq.

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Reggie Joseph
T: 310-309-6209
1925 Century Park East, 14th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067


For arbitrations and court reference matters, please contact Josh Kroll at For mediations, please contact Reggie Joseph at

George D. Calkins II, Esq.
is a nationally recognized mediator and arbitrator with more than 35 years of legal experience, including two decades as a neutral. He has presided over thousands of complex ADR proceedings involving diverse legal and factual issues and partnered with the courts to resolve numerous complex cases.

Mr. Calkins is well respected for his knowledge and innovative settlement strategies in resolving business/commercial, engineering and construction, insurance coverage, partnerships, professional negligence, real estate, suretyship, and related disputes.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Business/Commercial: Numerous business disputes of all forms, including uniform commercial code disputes, corporate finance and corporate democracy matters; has experience assisting businesses of all kinds in resolving disputes relating to finance, corporate planning, corporate structure, securities, fair business practices, as well as sales, marketing, and shareholder participation disputes
  • Public Work Projects: Mediated and arbitrated many complex public works projects involving diverse public agencies, as well as general contractors and subcontractors, their sureties, and design professionals and contractors who design and build public works projects; expert in resolving conflicts regarding closeout, delay, disruption, and extra work issues among public project participants
  • Construction: Mediated and arbitrated numerous complex construction defect and workmanship disputes involving major public works, commercial, industrial and multi- and single-family residential projects, focuses on all aspects of such projects, including electrical, plumbing, framing, roofing, concrete, site drainage, and geotechnical issues
  • Environmental: Resolved disputes involving individuals, private property owners, corporations, insurance carriers, and governmental agencies, including state and local regulatory agencies
  • Partnership Disputes: Widely sought after mediator/arbitrator of complex partnership disputes involving written partnership engagements; understands the intricacies of partnership law and its impact upon participants in complex real estate transactions, involving profit and loss allocations and supplier disputes
  • Product Liability: Extensive mediation and arbitration experience in product liability law and practice
  • Professional Negligence: Developed and implemented strategies for resolving complex issues that arise in professional negligence disputes involving attorneys, accountants, engineers, architects, real estate brokers, healthcare, and other professionals; is familiar with specialized codes and regulations that impact the duties and responsibilities of professionals, including those impacting structural, electrical, or mechanical issues and conditions that can be hazardous to worker health and safety; extensive experience mediating design professional aspects of toxic and environmental claims, as well as disputes relating to alleged insurance broker and real estate broker malpractice
  • Real Estate: Resolved numerous matters involving transactions and financing of commercial and public real-estate projects, including purchase and sale transaction issues, partnership disputes involving real estate, landlord-tenant disputes, and finance, transactional, and documentation disputes involving real estate projects of all kinds; as well as disputes involving office buildings, commercial projects, and retail projects throughout California and the West
  • Surety: George Calkins is among the most experienced mediators/arbitrators in suretyship practice and litigation today; has extensive experience resolving complex suretyship-based disputes involving performance bonds, payment bonds, and fidelity bonds; his suretyship experience includes bonds for public works and commercial projects, as well as underlying indemnity agreements; has mediated numerous disputes among surety companies and principals regarding indemnitor responsibility to the surety for payments on performance and payment bonds
  • Special Master: Has been appointed by the court to serve as a Special Master/Settlement Officer in many complex cases and has served as an expert witness in business, construction, and insurance disputes

Representative Matters

  • Dispute between a manufacturer and an aerospace company regarding performance of high priced, sensitive generators in Los Angeles
  • Northridge earthquake-damaged condominium project, allocation of earthquake and construction defect caused damage of multiple buildings
  • Five Star Hotel Project, Santa Barbara (coverage dispute among primary and excess carriers)
  • Major Southern California metropolitan water district (dispute with manufacturer over blasting materials and procedures)
  • Private foundation, Los Angeles (resolution of receivership dispute with partners in real estate development)
  • Shopping center, Los Angeles (specific performance action by buyers against non-performing seller
  • John Wayne International Airport, Orange County (runway projects)
  • Two major Southern California hospitals (disputes between contractors and sureties)
  • Central High School, Los Angeles (closeouts – public/private development)
  • Alleged failure of an accountant to properly track the cost factors impacting a development firm's profitability in Nevada
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Honors
    • Chambers USA, California Construction Mediator List, 2017-2022
    • Recognized as a leading practitioner, Alternative Dispute Resolution Category, Who's Who Legal: California, 2016
    • Designated with the highest-level ranking (Band 1) in Construction, Chambers USA, 2015-2016
    • Robert B. Flaig Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement in Construction Law, Los Angeles County Bar Association, 2012
    • Recognized as an "excellent mediator," Chambers USA, 2012
    • Recognized as a Best Lawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution Category, Best Lawyers in America, 2007-2011
    • Selected as a Southern California Super Lawyer in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution, 2010-2011, 2019-2020
    • Jerrold S. Oliver Award of Excellence, presented at West Coast Casualty Construction Conference for outstanding contribution to the construction community, 2011
  • Memberships
    • Member, Defense Research Institute, the Financial Lawyers Conference
    • Member, Southern California Association of Defense Counsel
    • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
    • Member, Forum Committee of the American Bar Association concerning construction issues
    • Member, AGC Legal Advisory Committee
    • Former member, American Arbitration Association Construction and Specialty Mediation Panels
    • Former member, American Arbitration Association Large Complex Case Panels for Construction and Commercial Arbitration
    • Member, California Public Works Arbitration Program
  • Professional Activities
    • Lecturer on construction law and alternative dispute resolution at UCLA, USC, and the Straus Institute at Pepperdine University School of Law
    • Presenter at regional and national conferences and is widely published on business and construction law, including such topics as design/build contracts, evolving construction liability and damages theories, and creative settlement techniques
    • Participated in drafting legislation on arbitration procedures and has been a leader in developing sophisticated ADR procedures for the construction and business communities
  • ADR Profile
    • "Making Waves," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, November 26, 2010
  • Partner, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, 1980-2008
    • Full-Time Mediator/Arbitrator, 2000-2008
    • Attorney and Part-Time Mediator/Arbitrator, 1994-2000
    • Attorney, 1980-1994
  • Attorney, Spray, Gould & Bowers, 1973-1976
  • J.D., Loyola University School of Law, 1973
  • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1968

Counsel Comments

    • "George reached resolution with single parties, groups, and finally the key defendants in ways that none of us thought possible. His interactions with the principals were pitch-perfect, demonstrating an understanding of human psychology that many neutrals profess to have, but ultimately lack. He was professional with counsel and held them in high regard both privately and with principals. Counsel on all sides praised his efforts, commitment and results."
      - Michael Stewart, Esq.
      Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP 
      Los Angeles and Costa Mesa, California
    • “George has an exceptional ability to assimilate complex factual and legal positions, separate the important issues from those that are irrelevant, and move the parties toward a resolution of even the most difficult cases in an efficient and effective manner… George is simply among the very best mediators in practice today."
      - Robert S. Mann, Esq.
      The Law Offices of Robert Mann
      Los Angeles, California
    • "I turn to George Calkins to resolve my toughest and most contentious cases. George is far more than smart, prepared, and superbly skilled in mediation techniques with little rival. What separates George from all but a few of his peers is that he understands the importance of time, insurance coverage and direct client participation in mediation. He is a quick study, does not waste time on minor issues or planned rhetoric, and gets the job done. My clients all remark how fast the dialogue turns on money and upon bringing settlement closure with George than in their prior mediation experiences."
      - Richard C. Ochoa, Esq.
      Bryan Cave LLP
      Santa Monica, California
    • "I have utilized George Calkins as a mediator and arbitrator in numerous matters, with great success, including matters that began the alternative dispute resolution process with other mediators. He is prepared, organized, and has a knack for getting to the root of the dispute without wasted effort."
      - John O'Meara, Esq.
      Bremer Whyte Brown & O'Meara, LLP
      Newport Beach and Woodland Hills, California
      Las Vegas, Nevada
      Phoenix, Arizona
    • "George Calkins' strongest assets are his credibility and tireless work ethic. He settles complex cases at every phase of litigation, and that is the measure of an exceptional mediator."
      - Bennett J. Lee, Esq. Watt,
      Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald LLP
      San Francisco, California
    • "George takes the time and effort 24/7 to dig in and settle cases, even where the parties are at a perceived "real" impasse. He adds value in sophisticated litigation."
      - Keith J. Bremer, Esq.
      Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara, LLP
      Newport Beach and Woodland Hills, California
      Las Vegas, Nevada
      Phoenix, Arizona
    • “George Calkins has a talent for quickly and accurately gauging the issues, interests and personalities involved in a given matter in order to come up with solutions that even the most adversarial foes will accept. His fair and even-handed approach to each matter makes him a mediator that both sides of a dispute can trust.”
      - Lincoln V. Horton, Esq.
      Selman & Breitman LLP
      San Diego, California
    • "Relentless, very effective and has done his homework before arriving at the mediation. A real pleasure.”
      - Patricia Glaser, Esq.
      Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro LLP
      Los Angeles, California
    • "George combines extreme talent and intellect, with brute logic, HD clarity, and affability. He makes you understand why you settled and at the right amount. A sign of competence is business referred from your peers. A sign of greatness is business referred from adversaries. George achieves both."
      - Phillip J. Collias, Esq.
      Lockton Insurance Brokers, Inc
      Irvine, California
    • "George Calkins is a highly skilled and effective construction mediator, with an almost uncanny ability to grasp issues in the most complex of cases, and with the skill to effectively communicate with parties, attorneys and adjusters in a constructive and effective manner."
      - Rodney T. Lewin, Esq.
      Law Offices of Rodney T. Lewin
      Beverly Hills, California
    • “George possesses a rare combination of real-world experience, intelligence and a keen sense of what motivates litigants and decision makers, and has used those qualities to successfully resolve every case he has mediated for my firm.”
      - Bjorn Green, Esq.
      Demler, Armstrong & Rowland LLP
      Long Beach, California
    • "George Calkins has an incredible ability to see beyond the attorneys' advocacy and to identify the primary impediments to settlement. He then focuses his efforts there. He is a highly-skilled mediator."
      - Robert L. Green, Esq.
      Green & Hall
      Santa Ana, California
    • "Whenever I have a difficult construction defect case, with large exposures and problematic insurance coverage issues, I use George. I know I am in capable hands and that he will be tenacious in the pursuant of a fair global resolution."
      - A. Raymond Hamrick III, Esq.
      Hamrich & Evans
      Universal City, California
    • "I have been practicing law for over eighteen years in both Southern California and Northern California. My clients and I have had the privilege of having George Calkins Esq. serve as a Mediator in many complex construction litigation matters. George Calkins has never failed to foster a settlement in those actions, while gaining the trust and respect of all parties and participants in those Mediations. He is thoroughly professional in his preparation, knowledge of subject matter, and approach in mediating resolutions of construction conflicts."
      - Dana R. Corey, Esq.
      Sweeney, Mason, Wilson & Bosomworth
      Los Gatos, California
    • "One of only a few really skilled mediators, George is committed to going the extra mile to reaching a practical settlement."
      - John Darling, Esq.
      Hunt, Ortmann, Palffy, Nieves, Lubka, Darling & Mah, Inc.
      Pasadena, California
    • "In multiple party mediations, George Calkins grasps the key issues, strengths, weaknesses and dynamics of each party's position and effectively employs these assessments to persuade parties to realistically evaluate their case. He is tireless and focused in his efforts while always maintaining control of and civility in the mediation process. George is certainly recognized by California Construction Lawyers as among the top 3 or 4 mediators of complex contract and construction matters in the West."
      - Richard D. Corona, Esq.
      The Corona Firm, Inc.
      San Diego, California
    • "If you are interested in a mediator who is smart, insightful, can work with any personality, knows how to close a deal, and is a pleasure to work with, you've found the right guy. If you're not, good luck in trial."
      - John D. Hanover, Esq.
      Peckar & Abramson, PC
      Los Angeles, California
    • "I have taken many difficult cases to George Calkins plaintiff and defense, and he has gotten the job done. His most valuable quality is his willingness to follow-up and not just give up if it does not resolve at the formal sessions."
      - Tim Hogan, Esq.
      Law Offices of Timothy J. Hogan
      Camarillo, California
    • "George gets cases settled. I knew George as a litigator, and consequently, am glad he is now a mediator. But it is George's substantial skill as a litigator which lends to his ability to first determine where the common ground should be and then assist the parties with getting there."
      - David M. Huff, Esq.
      Orbach, Huff & Suarez LLP
      Los Angeles, California
    • "Mr. Calkins served as the mediator in a very large, very complex lawsuit regarding both construction defect issues and product liability issues. He showed extreme dedication to resolving the case, and his knowledge of the tens of thousands of pages of documents was impressive. George was diligent in keeping communications open, through formal mediation sessions, informal meetings, phone calls and emails; after many months of effort, the case was successfully resolved, with all parties satisfied with the result."
      - James J. Jackson, Esq.
      Thorndal, Armstrong, Delk, Balkenbush & Eisinger
      Las Vegas, Nevada
    • "George has the depth of knowledge from both a plaintiff and defense prospective concerning the key issues of liability, damages, indemnity, and insurance necessary to effectively mediate any construction dispute. Further, he has the tenacity necessary to enlighten parties as to the wisdom of a fair mediated resolution. He has my highest recommendation."
      - Keith D. Koeller, Esq.
      Koeller, Nebeker, Carlson & Haluck LLP
      Irvine, California
    • “Over 20 years, I have been involved in hundreds of days of mediation/arbitration. I have had the good fortune of having many of these cases either mediated or arbitrated by George Calkins. I have found that George's significant experience as a construction defect lawyer coupled with his knowledge of insurance law and pragmatism to be a great recipe for successful resolution of cases. I believe that George is one of the finest construction defect mediators in Southern California.”
      - David A. Loewenthal, Esq.
      Loewenthal, Hillshafer & Rosen LLP
      Sherman Oaks, California
    • "I have worked with many excellent mediators over the years and have found that George Calkins notable among them in that he consistently brings his special intelligence and deliberate approach to construction mediations. George truly treats every mediation as capable of resolution and, seemingly, never walks away from the process. More importantly, he spends the time to not only learn the case, but also to get to know the party representatives to get to know what makes them tick. It is always a pleasure to work with George.”
      - Laurence P. Lubka, Esq.
      Hunt Ortmann Palffy Nieves Lubka Darling & Mah, Inc.
      Pasadena, California
    • “George Calkins is recognized as one of the top mediator professionals by attorneys, courts, and judges. I have utilized his mediator services both as a defense and as a plaintiff's attorney for over 20 years. George's knowledge, work ethic, and dedication are superior. You can count on a positive result. I am proud to recommend his services.”
      - Jack A Lucas, Esq.
      Kasdan, Simonds, Riley & Vaughan LLP
      Irvine and Concord, California
    • "George has been instrumental in resolving a number of (complex) cases, as a result of his intricate knowledge of construction issues and process, willingness to work very hard, effective communication with principals and tenacious follow up if the matter is not settled during the first session."
      - David McPherson, Esq.
      Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald LLP
      Irvine, California
    • "George Calkins is a well qualified mediator with the rare combination of experience and dedicated follow-through that combine to make him an excellent candidate for resolving complex, multi-party litigation. I have successfully used Mr. Calkins on many construction and non-construction related cases that seemed destined for trial, yet he successfully negotiated settlements. I would recommend Mr. Calkins as one of a handful of top notch Orange County or Los Angeles mediators."
      - Namvar A. Mokri, Esq.
      Archer Norris
      Newport Beach, California
    • "George is a Closer, which is needed for a good mediator. Unlike other mediators who put their eight hours in and go home, George works hard 8, 10, 12 hours, or whatever it takes, often with follow up effort in the days or weeks to come. George is in an elite group of only a few mediators in California we use voluntarily for our difficult and contentious construction claims."
      - Robert C. Niesley, Esq.
      Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald LLP
      Irvine, California
    • "George Calkins is simply the most effective construction dispute mediator I have ever encountered. Whether the claims are sophisticated delay analysis involving critical path schedules or homeowner complaints over defective tile, he brings the same intensity and understanding to both the issues involved and takes into account the practical, financial and sometimes emotional investment of each side to the dispute. He also brings a refreshing sense of humor and wit to the proceedings so the attorneys are more relaxed and less prone to gladiator behavior. George's softer side is effective because the clients can relax knowing that George is genuinely concerned about their case and reaching a fair resolution yet he still can laser down on recalcitrant or unreasonable counsel or clients when the situation requires such action. We have selected George as mediator in dozens of cases and in every matter he is fully prepared, completely focused and extremely effective."
      - David M. Orbach, Esq.
      Orbach, Huff & Suarez LLP
      Los Angeles, California
    • “Many times the Experts get caught up in the issues, the Lawyers in the law, the Insurance Representatives in coverage and the aggrieved parties in the anger; but few put the components together into a complete picture with a focus on resolution as quickly as George Calkins does. When I hear I am going in front of Mr. Calkins I feel confident that my points will be considered; provided they are properly presented and supported with two independent Industry sources.”
      - Ernest Orchard, Claims Consultant
      Los Angeles, California
    • "George is terrific at softening the hard edges of a multi-faceted complex construction dispute into a settlement. His extensive factual and legal knowledge of construction issues, combined with his insightful probing of litigants, enables him to bring the parties to common ground and settle cases where others have failed. Many talk the talk, but George actually delivers results. A true master of the craft.”
      - Joe Potocki, Esq.
      Balestreri, Pendleton & Potocki
      San Diego, California
    • "I have worked extensively with George Calkins as a mediator on various actions including large construction defect lawsuits and business interruption claims. In each case, no matter the size or complexity, George Calkins has been instrumental in securing a favorable result for all the parties involved. What sets George Calkins apart from most other mediators is his hands on approach and his relentless drive to effectuate a timely resolution. George Calkins' extensive experience as a litigator assists the parties in focusing on issues often overlooked and to chart a path to ultimate resolution. Additionally, I would be remiss not to mention that part of the joy with working with George Calkins is his good nature and wit. I will continue to use George Calkins as a mediator and would highly recommend his services to others."
      - Peter K. Pritchard, Esq.
      Koletsky, Mancini, Feldman & Morrow
      Los Angeles, California
    • "George and I butted heads many times over the years, always on opposite sides, so I had my doubts when I was brought into a matter shortly before a mediation in which George had already been selected as mediator. He did a terrific job, however, in settling that case and several others since then. He is creative, is comfortable in complex cases and has a great ability to keep people talking to one another. He is most definitely on my list of top construction mediators."
      - Douglas C. Purdy, Esq.
      Morris, Polich & Purdy LLP
      Los Angeles, California
    • “George has a wealth of knowledge of the construction industry from his many years of experience as a lawyer practicing in the field. Combine this background with a sense of humor and an ability to see alternative paths to resolution, and you have a recipe for a successful mediation."
      - Craig A. Ramseyer, Esq.
      Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP
      San Diego, California
    • “It is nearly impossible to successfully mediate construction disputes without a detailed knowledge of the construction process and the practices of the construction industry. George Calkins has penetrating insight into both. He also has the crucial skill of educating and empowering the client to make rational decisions without making the client feel insulted or dismissed by the mediator.”
      - David M. Robinson, Esq.
      University Counsel
      Office of the General Counsel

      Oakland, California
    • "George is one of the best mediators that I have had the pleasure to work with over the years. I have learned much from George, which I have put to use as both a litigator and now as a mediator myself. I give George two thumbs up!"
      - Alexander Robertson, IV, Esq.
      Robertson & Vick LLP
      Calabasas, California
    • "George truly is one of the best mediators in town. We currently get the opportunity to utilize George's services in the construction defect arena, where he rates as one of the best. He can settle very difficult issues because he "shores up the process" at each step along the way. He has a convincing personality which moves the process forward at each juncture. This allows him to settle some very difficult matters, which would probably not settle otherwise. His ability and true desire to rise to the challenge of these tougher cases sets him apart from the rest."
      - Mark J. Skapik, Esq.
      Law Offices of Mark J. Skapik, APCC
      Claremont, California
    • "George Calkins grasps all issues and strategies immediately and pierces all arguments with deftness."
      - Gary V. Spencer, Esq.
      Santa Ana, California
    • "George's past life as a real trial lawyer gives him a depth of experience, especially in the construction arena, which most mediators simply don't have."
      - Brian Stewart, Esq.
      Collins, Collins, Muir & Stewart, LLP
      Pasadena, California
    • “George has unparalleled dedication to the cases and parties for which he provides his mediation and special master services. He is relentless in his pursuit of a fair resolution and settlement of even the most difficult cases. George uses drive, skill, time investment and creativity in his proven efforts to settle matters.”
      - Candace M. Van den Bosch, Esq.
      Law Offices of Candace M. Van den Bosch
      Aliso Viejo, California



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Construction
  • Engineering and Construction
  • Environmental
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee
  • Surety
Available nationwide


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