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. brings to his ADR practice substantial knowledge and experience in real estate matters.  Larry has mediated and arbitrated many disputes involving real property sale and purchase transactions, commercial and residential real estate development projects, and breaches of commercial lease agreements.   

Larry has over 25 years of experience as a mediator and arbitrator.  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.

Representative Matters

  • 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 breach of maintenance agreement for side sewer easement between two personal residences
  • Mediated matter involving foreclosure and whether a parcel of land next door was part of the transaction
  • Mediated a case involving an appraisal of property with groundwater contamination
  • Mediated cases involving the exchange of industrial properties with appraisals involved
  • Arbitrated matter involving the value of a high rise commercial office building in which the appraisals for each party were millions of dollars apart
  • In transactional law practice, reviewed many appraisals of residential and commercial properties
  • 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
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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