James Warren

Hon. James L. Warren (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Terri Benson
T: 415-774-2653
F: 415-982-5287
Two Embarcadero Center, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94111


Hon. James L. Warren (Ret.) has handled many individual as well as state and national class action employment disputes throughout his extensive career.  He has considerable experience with labor and civil rights issues in employment, including cases involving wrongful and retaliatory termination, misclassification of employees (wages, overtime, meal and rest breaks, off-the-clock work), harassment, workers’ compensation, whistleblower, slander, discrimination (racial, age, sex, sexual orientation, and national origin/religion) and trade secret misappropriation.  He is particularly adept at mediating and arbitrating employment class actions.  Praised for his fairness and ability to deal with volatile personalities, Judge Warren is often entrusted to handle matters of the most sensitive nature dealing with the senior personnel in the corporate hierarchy.


Representative Matters 

  • Settled California class action wage and hour dispute with allegations of misclassification of employees; denying breaks to non-exempt employees; miscalculation of overtime wages; and violations of the California Business & Professions Codes
  • Settled consolidated, California and national class action disputes involving a leading uniform and apparel provider with allegations of unpaid overtime, misclassification of workers, claims of unfair competition, and unfair labor practices
  • Settled sexual harassment dispute with sensitive sexual orientation and transgender issues involving allegations of retaliation, failure to promote, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and FEHA violations
  • Settled sensitive whistleblower dispute involving Chemical/Biological/Radiation (CBR) Safety issues, with allegations of gender and age discrimination, retaliation, and FEHA violations
  • Settled major dispute brought by former employees against a public utilities provider with allegations of emotional distress resulting from a hostile work environment, sexual harassment by supervisory personnel, discrimination, and negligent hiring and retention
  • Settled breach of franchise license case with issues relating to defamation and libel, breach of contract and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Mediated national class action dispute between 30,000 class members and a major apparel store regarding illegal hiring practices
  • Mediated sensitive dispute involving a former county employee with allegations of discrimination based on race, religion, and national origin, an improper background check, and FEHA violations in revoking job offer
  • Mediated class action ERISA case involving non-exempt workers in electrical generation plants with allegations of failure to provide meal breaks and rest periods, unlawful delay in salary payments, and failure to keep proper records of wage statements
  • Settled wage and hour case brought by exempt employees against an international financial services firm, involving allegations of failure to pay overtime, waiting time penalties, discretionary bonus distribution, and adverse employment actions
  • Resolved multiple disputes involving allegations of harassment, libel and slander, FEHA violations, retaliation, wrongful termination, and discrimination
  • Arbitrated numerous employment cases, many class actions, involving allegations of wrongful termination, harassment and sex discrimination, wrongful designation of employment status, meal and rest breaks, and overtime calculations
  • Arbitrated labor law and complex commercial case involving a major financial management firm with issues related to forfeiture of wages and deferred compensation plan benefits, validity of covenants not to compete, vesting rights, and breach of employment contract
  • Arbitrated dispute between a former employee and a leading insurance company with allegations of wrongful termination, libel and slander, retaliation, and harassment
  • Served as Chair of a three arbitrator panel on a wage and hour class action matter between current and former employees of a major extermination company
  • Served as Chair of a three arbitrator panel on ERISA case between a former employee and major medical device manufacturer with allegations of wrongfully denied benefits, procedural errors, bias, and internal conflicts of interest
  • Discovery Referee in eight consolidated cases involving allegations of racial and sexual harassment and discrimination
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Recipient, Champion of Justice Award, Bar Association of San Francisco, 2006
  • Recipient, The Barristers Choice Award (Judge of the Year), The Barristers Club of the Bar Association of San Francisco, 2006
  • Recipient, Award For Outstanding Service to the Legal Community, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, 2005
  • Judicial Advisor, Executive Committee, Litigation Section of the California Bar Association
  • Professor, Mediation, University of San Francisco Law School
  • Member, San Francisco Superior Court's Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
  • Member, California Judicial Council Task Force on Complex Civil Litigation
  • Member, California Judicial Counsel Continuing Education Committee
  • Member, California Judges Association; Faculty Member, Judges College and New Judge Orientation Program
  • Judicial Fellow, Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Lifetime Member, Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
  • Member, American Bar and California Bar Associations
  • Member and Officer, Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court
  • Admitted to practice: U.S. Supreme Court; Court of Appeals for Second, Fifth, Ninth, and Federal Circuits; all District Courts for California and New York; Northern District of Texas; all State Courts in California and New York
  • "Effective Law and Motion Practice," ABTL Reporter, Fall/Winter 2012
  • Co-author with Judge Ann Kough (Ret.), "Judicial Reference, A Forgotten Tool," The Recorder, October 7, 2013

ADR Profiles

  • Judge, San Francisco County Superior Court, 1994-2006 (Law & Motion Department, 2003-2006)
  • Senior Counsel, Pacific Bell, 1993-1994
  • Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop (formerly Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro), 1980-1993 (Associate, 1975-1980)
  • Associate, Clifford Chance (formerly Rogers & Wells), 1973-1975
  • J.D., Hofstra University School of Law, 1973; Recipient of University's First Most Distinguished Alumnus Award, 1983
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1966

Counsel Comments

    • “Judge Warren is a top choice for private arbitration or mediation. I will choose him for any kind of case, particularly complicated ones.”

      - Founding Partner of a premier litigation specialty firm in San Francisco




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