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.) is adept at acting as special master, discovery referee and CCP §§ 638 and 639 reference.  He also specializes in acting as a neutral evaluator for individual clients and for professional evaluation service firms, such as jury consultants.  He has managed a myriad of Discovery Referee matters.  As a San Francisco Superior Court Judge, he developed a reputation for his diligence, tenacity, problem solving abilities, fairness, and his kind, yet firm manner.  His work is widely respected, and his Court Reference protocol has set precedents.


Representative Matters

  • Special Master For All Purposes in consolidated construction defect class action cases involving multi-unit residential buildings in San Francisco; plaintiffs sought in excess of $87 million in damages
  • Special Master appointed by Court to process application for attorneys’ fees claimed to be in excess of $10 million
  • Served as Court appointed Special Master to determine prevailing party, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and costs in multi-million dollar insurance matter
  • Discovery Referee in eight consolidated cases involving allegations of racial and sexual harassment and discrimination
  • Discovery Referee in class action case involving the calculation of commissions based on sales of computer hardware and peripherals; the class sought damages in excess of $60 million
  • Discovery Referee in case involving interrelationship of private and quasi-public providers of utility products; plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $250 million
  • Discovery Referee in class action involving repossession and sale of automotive vehicles following default on loans offered by bank and other commercial lending institutions; plaintiff class sought damages claimed to be between $50 million and $200 million
  • Served as Discovery Referee in a dispute involving the acquisition of property for the development of a business and residential complex; the case involved allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets, and claims of unfair competition; Judge Warren’s discovery protocol developed for this case has subsequently been used by several Superior Court judges in California
  • Served as Discovery Referee in an e-discovery dispute related to production of stored computer data; the special appointment involved the identification of searchable databases, recovery of metadata, and international production of documents
  • Served as Discovery Referee in dispute involving the construction of a multi-unit residential complex in the San Joaquin Valley
  • Served as Discovery Referee in litigation involving insurance industry with allegations relating to theft of trade secrets, poaching of key personnel and their confidential information, and claims of unfair competition
  • Served as Court appointed Referee for all purposes in a major class action construction defect dispute that included allegations of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and failure to disclose potential toxic pollution
  • Served as Judicial Referee in dispute between producer and non-profit intellectual property holder concerning a musical production contract, breach of lease, fiduciary duty, good faith and fair dealing, interference with prospective business advantage, and allegations of libel and slander
  • Neutral evaluator in insurance coverage matters following Hurricane Katrina; potential exposure exceeded $17 billion; issues involved coverage, excess lines, exclusions, contract interpretation, co-insurance agreements, and damages
  • Neutral evaluator in case brought by minority shareholders challenging corporate acquisition.; plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $400 million; issues involved insider trading, pricing, business valuation, antitrust considerations, disclosures and government investigations
  • Neutral evaluator in pre-litigation case involving cancellation of long term contract for the provision of telecommunications services based on asserted breach; the case raised serious causation and liability issues; plaintiff sought over $10 million in damages
  • Served on several occasions as Neutral Evaluator for professional organizations working with third party clients seeking independent judicial response to evidentiary and trial presentations
  • Served on multiple occasions as Neutral Evaluator for clients seeking independent judicial reaction to motion presentation and oral argument
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




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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