Stephen Neel

Hon. Stephen E. Neel (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Gabrielle Thorp
T: 617-228-9124
F: 617-228-0222
One Beacon Street, Suite 2210, Boston, MA 02108-3106

Stephen E. Neel is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.


Hon. Stephen E. Neel (Ret.) has served as a full-time neutral since joining JAMS in 2011. Judge Neel brings nearly 40 years of trial management and judicial experience to his JAMS practice.

Judge Neel has experience managing and deciding complex arbitrations as a sole arbitrator, panel member and panel chair in a wide variety of matters, including commercial, construction, employment, insurance and professional malpractice matters.

As an arbitrator, Judge Neel works with counsel to develop a comprehensive case management order that is appropriate to the particular dispute. He then guides proceedings in an efficient, expeditious, and cost-efficient manner toward hearing and decision.

 Representative Matters

  • Business/Commercial
    • Dispute over interpretation of LLC operating agreement
    • Claim of breach of international distribution agreement
  • Construction
    • Scope of mixed-use residential and retail condominium development project
    • Chaired tripartite arbitration panel in dispute over indenture provision regarding purchase price of hydroelectric facility by lessor of project site
  • Employment
    • Alleged wrongful termination based on violation of public policy
    • Alleged wrongful termination based on disability
  • Insurance
    • Dispute over allocation of insurance proceeds
    • Chaired tripartite arbitration panel in claim by insured against excess carrier
  • Professional Malpractice
    • Sole arbitrator in several medical malpractice/wrongful death cases
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers as one of the Best Lawyers in America for his work in the practice area of Arbitration, 2016-2022
  • Liberty Bell Award, Middlesex Bar Association, 1999
  • Chairman, Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct, 2009-2010 (Member, 2004–2010)
  • Chair, Superior Court’s ad hoc Civil Steering Committee (developed, implemented Superior Court’s Firm/Fair Trial Date Initiative), 2004-2008
  • Chair, Superior Court’s Civil Committee, 2005-2007
  • Member, Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution, 2002-2004
  • Chair, Superior Court’s Subcommittee on Alternative Dispute Resolution, 2001-2004
  • Faculty member (“The Interaction Between the Superior Court and the Mediation Process”), Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc.’s Civil Mediation Workshop, 2007
  • Judicial Chair, Massachusetts Bar Association’s Superior Court Practice Bench-Bar Committee, 2002-2004
  • Team Leader and Lecturer, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc.’s Trial Advocacy Workshop, 2003
  • Co-Chair, Flaschner Judicial Institute’s Science and Technology Curriculum Advisory Board, 2000-2003
  • Member, Watertown, Massachusetts Zoning Board of Appeals, 1983-1992


  • Co-Author, “Continuity and Change in the Business Litigation Session,” Boston Bar Journal, 2008
  • Author, “The Role of the Commission on Judicial Conduct in Judicial Discipline and Enhancement,” Boston Bar Journal, 2005
  • Judicial Commentator, Massachusetts Superior Court Civil Practice Manual, MCLE, 1997
  • Judge, Massachusetts Superior Court, 1992-2011
    • Associate Justice, 1992-2011
    • Regional Administrative Justice for Civil Business for Middlesex County, 1998-1999, 2001-2004
  • Partner, Goodwin, Procter & Hoar, Boston, MA, 1986-1992
  • Partner, Herrick & Smith, Boston, MA, 1981-1986; Associate 1973-1980
  • Trial Lawyer concentrating in complex civil litigation, including construction, securities, broker-dealer, and products liability cases
  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1973
  • B.A., cum laude, Amherst College, 1969

Counsel Comments

    • “I was impressed with Judge Neel and the JAMS team from the very beginning of the Zoom mediation process.  It was clear to me that JAMS has conducted extensive training to prepare and made every effort to ensure that the mediation was secure, efficient, and as close as possible to the in-person experience.  JAMS’s had dedicated technological support to ensure that the cameras/sounds/lighting/Zoom platform function.  We even had a “test” session to work out any kinks, which I found quite helpful.  I had no concerns about online security or safety.  I am certain that the mediation would have worked out the same way if we had all been in one location, and my client was able to save the cost/time associated with travel from California in the process.  I plan to use Judge Neel and JAMS in the future based upon my experience.”  
    • “You got the parties speaking a common language, you made both sides more realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of our cases, and you brought to bear just the right combination of urgency and patience.”  
      Prominent Boston Attorney
    • “He was a gem of a judge and shines equally bright as a mediator with his calm and thoughtful approach to highly emotional cases. I look forward to an opportunity to work with him again, soon.”
      - Prominent Litigation Attorney
    • “You brought sensitivity and wisdom to a case that was particularly complicated and difficult. Thank you for the way in which you treated us, and for guiding us through a long day. We very much look forward to working with you again.”
      - Litigator leading Boston firm
    • “Going into our mediation I had little-to-no hope of settlement. You did an outstanding job of handling and facilitating a very complicated situation. Your touch/interaction with my clients was perfect."
    • "Mediation can be tense and emotional. You did a fantastic job of dealing with the issues as well as the personalities involved.”
      Employment Litigation Partner
    • “Judge Neel was outstanding and the mediation was very well organized.”
    • “Judge Neel remained patient and attentive during a long process.”
    • “Judge Neel communicated very effectively and sensitively with the parties and their counsel throughout the process.”
    • “Judge Neel spent a year with the parties to bring an intractable 25-year-old dispute to resolution. We selected Judge Neel for his intellectual power and practical experience -- but what made the most difference in the end was his personal dedication to the case. When the settlement was about to fall apart over a weekend during the winter holidays, he got each of the lawyers on the phone and by Monday the settlement was back on track.”
    • “Judge Neel did an excellent job. He made my client feel like a significant player in the process and made every effort to relate to her. That was most helpful.”



Practice Areas

  • Administrative Law
  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Class Action
  • Construction
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Life Sciences
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Securities
  • Special Master/ Discovery Referee
Available nationwide


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