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Zela Claiborne

Zela ''Zee'' G. Claiborne, Esq.

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Case Manager
Kathleen Hanley
T: 415-774-2617
F: 415-982-5287
Two Embarcadero Center, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94111

A full-time neutral since 1998, Zela ''Zee'' G. Claiborne, Esq., is held in the highest regard by counsel for her exceptional listening skills, fairness, and calming influence when diffusing volatile situations. Known for being tenacious in order to achieve settlements she has handled many types of health care matters including disputes between hospitals and suppliers, insurance carriers, health workers’ unions as well as cases involving staffing and construction of hospitals.



Representative Matters

  • Arbitrator for a contract dispute between a large insurance carrier and a group of hospitals
  • Mediation between a health care company and a group of surgeons and anesthesiologists arising out of discussions about how staffing would be handled at a proposed new surgery center
  • Mediation of claims by a hospital group in Hawaii and the suppliers and servicers of allegedly defective new software for patient records and billing
  • Resolution of claims against a U.S. design firm arising out of construction of a hospital in India
  • Dispute arising out of a contract between a health workers’ union and a firm that gathers signatures to qualify an initiative for the California ballot
  • Arbitrator for claims for monetary damages and injunctive relief by a group of dialysis treatment centers arising out of a licensing agreement for computerized software for dialysis treatment and management
  • Mediated a claim by an elderly resident with no insurance against a non-profit retirement community over the terms of a Continuing Care Agreement
  • Chaired an arbitration panel for a dispute between and national medical device manufacturer and a national pharmaceutical company involving licensing claims to certain worldwide patents for cardiac stents, with rights valued at approximately $4 billion
  • Resolution of a multimillion dollar legal malpractice claim brought by the developer of health care communities for seniors against a leading California law firm
  • Mediation of a dispute arising out of construction of a national ambulatory care facility in the U.S.
  • Honors
    • Recognized as a leading practitioner, Alternative Dispute Resolution Category, Who's Who Legal: California, 2014-2017
    • Recognized as a "Best Lawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution Category," Best Lawyers in America, 2008-2018
    • Recognized as a "Super Lawyer in Mediation and Arbitration," San Francisco Magazine, 2005-2016
  • Memberships
    • Member, Northern California International Arbitration Club (NCIAC)
    • Chair, ABA Arbitration Institute, Los Angeles, 2011, Philadelphia, 2012, and Washington, D.C., 2014
    • Member, Executive Advisory Committee of CPR: International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution
    • Member, National Panel of Distinguished Neutrals, CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution
    • Member, Mediation Panel, US District Court, Northern District
    • Member, American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry (Governing Committee, 1996-1999), Litigation Section, and Dispute Resolution Section; Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL Report, Editorial Board, 1991-2001); California Bar Association; San Francisco Bar Association; California Dispute Resolution Counsel
    • Former Member, American Arbitration Association Board of Directors, National (AAA) and International (ICDR) Rosters of Mediators and Arbitrators for large and complex cases
  • Professional Activities
    • Judge pro tem, San Francisco Superior Court
    • Speaker on a variety of ADR topics before professional organizations including the American Bar Association (Dispute Resolution Section, Forum on the Construction Industry, Litigation Section), CPR Institute, International Centre for Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property Owners, Patent Law Institute, American College of Construction Lawyers, the ICC, the AAA, Canadian Bar Association, New York Bar Association, Oregon State Bar, Bar Association of San Francisco, California Judges Association, National Conference on Financial Management, Construction Industry Institute, ALI-ABA ("Top Ten Cost Effective Ways to Resolve Construction Disputes" webcast), College of Commercial Arbitrators, International Arbitrators Club, California Women Lawyers, and others
    • "The Experience Curve," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, April 3, 2015
    • Panelist, International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) and CPR China Panel; International Chamber of Commerce; and DPR Hawaii
    • Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators (Board of Directors); Fellow, American College of Construction Lawyers
    • Faculty, ABA Arbitration Institute, San Francisco, 2009 and Washington DC, 2010
    • IMI Certified Mediator
  • Full-time mediator and arbitrator, 1998-present
  • Partner/Associate, Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon LLP, San Francisco, 1982-1998
  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law (formerly Boalt Hall School of Law), 1982
  • M.A., University of Texas, Austin
  • B.A., Beloit College, Wisconsin

Counsel Comments

    • “Her greatest strength is taking a volatile situation and making it work. At the end of the mediation when the parties settle and have to work together again, there is nobody I’d rather have.”

      - Prominent Attorney
    • "[Zee] quickly grasps the legal, financial and real world aspects of the dispute. She is able to close the deal."

      -In-House Counsel, Bay Area Tech Firm
    • "Zee put in extra effort to get our matter settled. She really did a masterful job at assessing the facts, the issues, and most importantly, the personalities."

      -Senior Partner, Top Bay Area Law Firm
    • “Zee has a substantial number of qualities that one would expect of a mediator with her experience… Zee’s greatest strength, and the primary reason I continue to work with her and refer partners and colleagues to her, is her ability to mediate difficult, sometimes acrimonious cases in situations where the parties need to continue to work together postlitigation/settlement. Zee is the most skilled mediator I have ever seen in such cases…Where opposing parties need to work together going forward…her skill and deft touch is unmatched in my experience.”
    • “Let me thank [Zee] for [her] work, patience and understanding in this case…[Her] thoughtful rulings were, from my perspective, instrumental in bringing this matter to a proper conclusion.”
    • "Zee Claiborne is an excellent mediator…She is very smart, has good people skills, and is able to move people to more reasonable and realistic positions. She quickly grasps the legal, financial and real world aspects of the dispute. She is able to close the deal. I think very highly of her and would use her again as mediator.”
    • “Her greatest strength is taking a volatile situation and making it work. At the end of the mediation when the parties settle and have to work together again, there is nobody I’d rather have.”
    • “I enjoyed working with [Zee] and truly appreciated [her] ability to quickly understand the issues at the heart of the dispute and for [her] dedication to getting a deal done. In addition, I commend [Zee] for [her] ability to keep an open mind by listening to the issues of concern, and willingness to engage in open and frank exchanges regarding our positions on the issues. Should we find ourselves in need of mediation services, [Zee] will be at the top of the list.”
    • “A big thank you [to Zee] for the extra effort to get our matter settled yesterday. It was fun to see [her] in action and I am duly impressed (and will spread the word accordingly)! [She] really did a masterful job at assessing the facts, the issues, and most importantly, the personalities.”

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