Lawrence Mills

Lawrence R. Mills, Esq.

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Aimee Hwang
T: 415-774-2607
F: 415-982-5287
Two Embarcadero Center, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94111


Lawrence R. Mills, Esq. is a seasoned arbitrator with over 25 years of experience as a neutral. He has handled a wide variety of arbitrations, including business, real estate, construction, and environmental disputes. Nationally known as a leader in the ADR community and as a reputable arbitrator, Larry is a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators and a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. He has served as Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and Washington State Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section.

As an arbitrator, Larry is known for his fairness and proven ability to manage and adjudicate complex disputes.

Representative Arbitrations

  • Business and Contract Disputes
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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 and Labor
    • 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
    • Arbitrated case with claims for vested benefits under ERISA by former law firm shareholder
  • 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
    • Arbitrated case with claim for breach of contract to pay for substantial remediation of hazardous waste upon the removal of underground petroleum storage tanks
  • Intellectual Property
    • Arbitrated breach of non-compete agreement and failure to transfer intellectual property
  • Real Estate
    • Arbitrated failure of a landlord to approve a commercial tenant’s plan for tenant improvements
  • Securities/Financial
    • Arbitrated a multi-party case involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty by an investment advisor
    • Arbitrated case with consumer claim for conversion of funds by a trading and barter company
    • Arbitrated case with claim for attorneys’ fees under Washington Securities Act
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.


  • Recognized as a "Best Lawyers, Mediation" and "Best Lawyers, Arbitration," Best Lawyers in America, 2023
  • Recognized as Lawyer of the Year, San Francisco Arbitration, Best Lawyers in America, 2022
  • 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

  • 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

Counsel Comments

    • “Larry was direct with the parties and able to answer questions regarding each side’s strengths and weaknesses. Larry is very even handed and analytical.”
    • “Larry is excellent, fair, thorough, and well respected. He makes fair and well thought out rulings.”
    • “Larry is pragmatic. He was interested on focusing on what mattered and not smoke and mirrors. He is able to cut through to the issues and he is respectful and accommodating of parties and counsel.”
    • “Larry has experience as a good smart litigator and has good common sense. He is very approachable and not only can he really cut to the chase, he also is flexible and changes his mind on issues if need be.”
    • “Larry does not give up. He works very hard, even after a session is over to follow up. He is able to follow up in a tactful and effective way.”
    • “Larry was straight forward with the strengths and weaknesses of the case and pointed out options. He has a calming demeanor that isn’t adversarial and is comforting to clients.”
    • “We settled the case which I wasn’t sure would be possible given the parties involved. Larry did a good job of keeping my client focused and on track.”




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