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Lawrence R. Mills

Lawrence R. Mills Esq.

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Employment Law
Environmental Law
Financial Markets
Governmental & Public Agency
Intellectual Property
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Lawrence R. Mills, Esq. brings to his ADR practice an accomplished and multi-faceted career of over 35 years as a lawyer specializing in litigation and business counseling, and over 25 years of experience as an arbitrator and mediator. Larry is well known in the ADR field, and, in addition to being a Fellow in the College of Commercial Arbitrators and a Distinguished Fellow in International Academy of Mediators, he has served as Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution.

As a mediator, Larry is known for being engaged and analytical and for leading parties to effective resolution. As an arbitrator, Larry is known for his fairness and proven ability to manage and adjudicate complex disputes. He has mediated and arbitrated a wide variety of cases such as business and commercial contract disputes, real estate matters, professional liability disputes, and cases involving environmental issues and government entities.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Over 25 years of experience as a mediator and arbitrator during which he handled hundreds of cases in a wide variety of practice areas
  • Over 35 years of experience as a commercial litigator, business lawyer, and leader in the legal community
  • Former chair of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and the Washington State Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Fellow in the College of Commercial Arbitrators and a Distinguished Fellow in International Academy of Mediators
  • Accomplished author in the field of ADR and has participated in numerous ADR trainings across the country

Representative Matters

  • Business and Contract Disputes
      • Mediated and provided neutral evaluation in a dispute regarding responsibility for damages under a contract for transport of a perishable food product
      • Arbitrated a case with a claim for refund of a deposit under a contract for purchase of a horse for breeding
      • Arbitrated a claim for attorneys’ fees on the discharge of a law firm in a commercial litigation
      • Mediated dispute between a municipal bond broker and a brokerage company regarding a non-competition provision
      • Mediated dispute regarding parking charges set by agreement between a tenant and a parking company
      • Mediated case with claims arising out of alleged breach of warranties on sale of business
      • Mediated case with claims for damages to restaurant business caused by competitor infringing on concept 
      • Mediated case with claim for breach of a loan commitment and related damages
      • Mediated case with claim by a financial advisor for breach of a contract for strategic planning and executing a strategic transaction for a hospital district
      • Arbitrated disputes between materials supplier and distributor regarding allocation of territory and pricing
      • Arbitrated case with claim by an Indian tribe for damages for failure to perform a settlement agreement
      • Arbitrated multi-faceted dispute between two on-line services to match compatible individuals for dating
      • Arbitrated case with claim for indemnification arising out of alleged breaches of representations and warranties in an asset purchase agreement of a seafood company
  • Construction
      • Arbitrated case with claims for reimbursement of pre-development design and permitting expenses for a multi-lot residential development
      • Mediated case with claims arising from site preparation and grading contract
      • Mediated action regarding recovery of costs of resurfacing access easement road
      • Mediated case with claim for damages for loss of view because of construction in breach of a height restriction covenant and subsequent arbitration of issues arising out of the performance of the mediated settlement agreement
      • Arbitrated dispute between owners of condominium spaces in a building regarding the disapproval of a change of use of a portion of the building
  • Employment Law
      • Mediated a dispute regarding claims of breach of a covenant not to compete and misappropriation of trade secrets
      • Arbitrated claims for discrimination by a physician against a medical clinic
      • Arbitrated a case involving an employee’s claim for a bonus under an incentive bonus plan
      • Mediated dispute regarding the scope of a non-competition agreement involving a life insurance sales representative
      • Mediated case involving a claim of embezzlement by an executive of a nonprofit organization with a counterclaim of ethnic discrimination
      • Mediated discrimination claim involving misuse of company confidential information
      • Mediated case involving breach of a non-competition agreement and appropriation of trade secrets
      • Mediated case with claims for wrongful termination and withholding of wages
      • Arbitrated gender discrimination claim against a software engineering company
      • Arbitrated case with claims for vested benefits under ERISA by former law firm shareholder
      • Mediated dispute regarding failure of an employer to contribute to a contractors’ “retro fund” regarding group premiums for industrial insurance
      • Mediated case with claims for contributions to benefit trust under collective bargaining agreement
  • Energy
      • Arbitrated case with claim for payment regarding chemicals supplied for ethanol production facilities
      • Arbitrated case with claim by a chemical supplier for amounts not paid by a customer
      • Arbitrated case with claim for liquidated damages for breach of a retailer contract for supply of branded gasoline
  • Environmental Law
      • Arbitrated case with claim for breach of contract to pay for substantial remediation of hazardous waste upon the removal of underground petroleum storage tanks
      • Mediated claim by a port district for environmental clean-up costs of an airport property
      • Mediated claim by a port district for recovery of escrowed funds for clean-up costs of commercial property
  • Government Entities
      • Mediated case with claim by a development company for damages against a municipality for failure to approve development permits
      • Mediated claim by a state governmental agency for breach of warranty by a seller of air pollution mitigation equipment
      • Mediated claim against a public hospital district for financial advisory service fees for a strategic transaction
  • Intellectual Property
      • Mediated case with claim for damages and for trademark infringement
      • Mediated case with claim for breach of software license
      • Mediated case with claims for trademark and copyright infringement
      • Mediated case with claims for damages and injunctive relief for misappropriation of trade secrets in the business of selling computer hardware
      • Mediated case with conflicting claims to intellectual property and funds relating to a non-profit organization for the prevention and treatment of a disease
      • Arbitrated breach of non-compete agreement and failure to transfer intellectual property
  • Professional Liability
      • Mediated case with claims to recover the value of a house and damages for misrepresentation by a real estate broker that a transaction was a re-finance when in fact it was a sale
      • Mediated case with claim for attorneys’ fees in which the client counterclaimed for malpractice
      • Mediated malpractice case with claim against attorneys relating to a protracted legal proceeding regarding disclosure of public records and penalties for nondisclosure
  • Real Property
      • Mediated a dispute among family members regarding ownership and use of property in the Philippines
      • Mediated a case involving a claim to collect amounts secured by a deed of trust granted by a prior owner of commercial property
      • Mediated dispute between two development companies regarding a commercial and residential real estate development
      • Arbitrated failure of a landlord to approve a commercial tenant’s plan for tenant improvements
      • Mediated dispute between a family and a developer regarding an easement and the right to use developable property
      • Mediated intra-family dispute regarding ownership and contributions to expenses for a personal residence
      • Mediated case with claim for damages for breach of a commercial lease involving unpaid rent and damages
      • Mediated case with claims regarding breach of contract for development of affordable housing
      • Mediated case with claims for damages for sale of property without disclosing zoning violations
      • Mediated case with claims of misrepresentation in the sale of residential property that sustained considerable damage because of abnormal settling of the foundation
      • Mediated dispute between two members of a limited liability company engaged in the business of selling commercial and residential real estate
      • Mediated case with claim for damages for misuse of a road easement and trespass
      • Mediated case with claim for damages based on loss of priority of a security interest in real property where the obligor filed for bankruptcy
  • Securities
      • Arbitrated a multi-party case involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty by an investment advisor
      • Mediated case with claim by investors for losses in their investment accounts over a period of years due to unsuitability of investments recommended by broker
      • Mediated case with claim for breach of agreement regarding a soccer program
      • Arbitrated case with consumer claim for conversion of funds by a trading and barter company
      • Mediated case with claim for negligent investment management
      • Mediated case with claims for damages for negligent reporting of credit information
      • Arbitrated case with claim for attorneys’ fees under Washington Securities Act
      • Mediated case with investors’ claims against a financial consultant for investment losses from unauthorized sales and purchases of securities and excessive trading to generate commissions

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.


  • Recognized as a “Best Lawyers in America," Best Lawyers in America, 2024
  • Recognized as a Lawyer of the Year, San Francisco Arbitration, Best Lawyers in America, 2022, 2024
  • Recognized as a "Best Lawyers, Mediation" and "Best Lawyers, Arbitration," Best Lawyers in America, 2023
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, Arbitration and Mediation, 2022
  • Recognized as Lawyer of the Year, Seattle Arbitration, Best Lawyers in America, 2018 
  • Recognized as a Best Lawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution Category, Best Lawyers in America, 2015-2016, 2022
  • Selected as a Washington Super Lawyer in the field of ADR, 2003-2013

Memberships and Professional Activities

  • Adjunct Professor, Arbitration Theory, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, 2020
  • Faculty, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation, Empire College School of Law, 2019
  • Board of Directors, Community Foundation Sonoma County, 2016-present
  • ADR Committee, Sonoma County Bar Association, 2015-present
  • Member, Mediation Society of San Francisco, 2014-present
  • Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators, 2004-present
  • Council Member, American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution, 2002-2012
    • Chair, 2007-2008
  • FINRA Panel of Arbitrators, 2002-present
  • Hearing Officer, Washington State Bar Association, 2001-2012
  • Chair, Dispute Resolution Section of Washington State Bar Association, 2001-2002
  • ADR Committee, Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington (Rule 39.1 Mediator and Arbitrator), 1998-present
  • Member, King County Bar Association ADR Section, 1998-present
  • Chair of the Board, Healdsburg Forever (community endowment), 2017
  • Board of Directors, Bainbridge Community Foundation 2004-2007 and 2010-2013
    • President, 2006-2007
  • Board of Directors, Bainbridge One Call for All, 2001-2004
    • President, 2003
  • Board of Directors, Bainbridge Public Schools Foundation, 2002-2004

Selected Publications

  • “Effective Mediation Advocacy: How Legal Counsel Can Make Or Break A Settlement,” Daily Journal, 2015
  • “The Appropriate Relationship Between Arbitration, Mediation and Settlement,” ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Magazine, 2015
  • “Exceeded Powers: Exploring Recent Trends in Cases Challenging Arbitral Authority” (with Thomas J. Brewer), Alternatives, September 2013
  • “When Arbitrators Exceed Their Powers,” (with Thomas J. Brewer), Dispute Resolution Journal, April 2009
  • “Vacatur of Arbitration Awards: A Real-World Review of the Case Law,” (with Thomas J. Brewer), Dispute Resolution Magazine, 2006
  • “A Courtroom Lawyer’s Guide to Arbitration,” (with Thomas J. Brewer), Litigation, Spring 2005
  • “ADR Drafting Tips,” Dispute Resolution Magazine, 2002
  • The Arbitration Alternative: Submission Cases, WSBA Litigation News, 2000
  • “Combining Mediation and Arbitration,” (with Thomas J. Brewer), Dispute Resolution Journal, November 1999

Background and Education

  • Partner/Shareholder, Mills Meyers Swartling, 1981-2013
  • Former panel member, American Arbitration Association (Commercial, Construction, and Large Complex Cases, Arbitration Panels, and General and Construction Mediation Panels), 1985-2012
  • J.D., University of Michigan, 1974; Editor-in-Chief, University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Vol. 7
  • M.P.P., University of Michigan, 1973
  • B.S.E., with high honors, Princeton University, 1969


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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