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Randall Newsome

Hon. Randall J. Newsome (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee/Special Master, Neutral Evaluator

Case Manager
Kathleen Hanley
T: 415-774-2617
F: 415-982-5287
Two Embarcadero Center, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94111

Randall J. Newsome 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. Randall Newsome (Ret.) is an accomplished neutral with JAMS who is best known for his intelligent and pragmatic approach to resolving complex bankruptcy matters.  In addition to settling numerous bankruptcy cases as a neutral, he also successfully served as a mediator in more than 200 cases during his 28 years of experience as a bankruptcy and settlement judge.  He has handled both local and national matters involving complex bankruptcy and commercial issues, including claims of breach of contract, nondischargeability, fraudulent transfer suits, mortgage fraud, and lender liability.  Judge Newsome has a unique ability to evaluate and facilitate appropriate resolution in bankruptcy cases involving parties with continuing business relationships.   Judge Newsome has been lauded as being uniquely qualified to bring resolution to highly contested bankruptcy cases involving multiple parties and complex underlying financial issues. 

Most recently, before joining JAMS, Judge Newsome was Chief Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California. He was reappointed to a 14-year term as a bankruptcy judge in Cincinnati in 1986. He applied for and was appointed to another 14-year term in the Northern District of California in Oakland in June 1988, and was reappointed in June 2002. He became chief judge of the Northern District of California in January 2004.  He has served as a visiting judge in the Central District of California, the Western District of Washington, the District of Nevada, and the District of Arizona. Between 2001 and 2003 he was a visiting judge in the District of Delaware.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully mediated fraudulent transfer against a merchant who sold busses to a bus company, but was paid out of a Ponzi scheme
  • Successfully mediated trustee's fraudulent transfer claims against any investors who were "net gainers" in a Ponzi scheme
  • Pursuant to a court appointment, mediated a number of disputes leading to a proposed global settlement in a healthcare bankruptcy involving multiple parties, including the State of California and the United States. Successful three-day mediation among secured creditors, administrative claimants, state and federal governmental entities, and labor unions regarding a hospital in chapter 11.
  • Successfully mediated a case that involved a post-confirmation claim to enforce a prepetition option to purchase included in a prepetition lease of commercial premises that was assumed during the bankruptcy.  
  • Successfully mediated long standing dispute between a reorganized chapter 11 debtor and a former landlord regarding the validity of a lease with an option to purchase.  Long-standing dispute (having been subject to six mediation and arbitration proceedings) regarding a failed real estate developer in chapter 11 and various disputes with secured creditors. 
  • Resolved a single asset real estate bankruptcy dispute involving a building in downtown Los Angeles that was in the process of being converted into luxury condos. The dispute was between a group of banks that hold a deed of trust on the building and the debtor.  
  • Resolved a dispute involving 70 restaurant franchises that were assets in two chapter 11 cases in which a trustee had been appointed. The trustee and the principal lender for the chapter 11 entities were embroiled in a dispute over how much money the lender should receive as a result of the sale of the restaurants.
  • Successfully mediated an asbestos bankruptcy that involved the employment agreements of two officers of the company. The dispute centered on whether they should be required to disgorge compensation and what their future compensation should be.
  • Mediated a lawsuit involving a failed law firm alleging breach of contract against a former client of the firm for failure to pay a contingency fee that may (or may not) have come due. The client counterclaimed alleging that the failed law firm had breached its fiduciary duties to the client and misled the client as to the firm's financial condition.
  • This lawsuit alleged fraudulent transfers against departing shareholders of a failed law firm, and recovery under  Jewel v. Boxer against the new firm of the departed shareholders
  • Most notable bankruptcy mediation as a judge was in the Chapter 11 case of Pacific Gas & Electric Company. After three months of effort, the debtor and the California Public Utilities Commission reached a resolution of their disputes, thereby allowing the confirmation of a plan of reorganization.
  • Mediated to settlement  a dispute over the issuance of a bankruptcy discharge to a well known music personality
  • Mediated to settlement a dispute in a restaurant bankruptcy between the unsecured creditors committee and the debtor's lender involving lender liability (among other issues)
  • Mediated to settlement a contract dispute between a convention center in a major metropolitan area and a telecommunications provider that was in a chapter 11 proceeding
  • For an entertainment company, mediated hundreds of millions of dollars in disputes involving dozens of secured creditors, two creditors’ committees and the debtor.  The agreements reached provided the framework for a consensual chapter 11 plan that ultimately was confirmed.
  • Handled a dispute involving allegations of fraudulent transfer arising out of an asset purchase agreement in which the trustee alleged that the defendant paid less than reasonably equivalent value
  • Mediated contract negotiations resulting in a new collective bargaining agreement between the debtor and a union
  • Mediated to settlement a dischargeability action involving a sexual harassment claim
  • Mediated a dispute that arose out of the bankruptcy of a law firm involving allegations of fraudulent transfers against another law firm which had acquired all of the assets of some of the bankrupt law firm’s offices following failed merger discussions
  • Mediated a dispute between the debtor, a jewelry company, and a hedge fund, which was the jewelry company’s largest creditor.  Resolution of this dispute, which involved claims of abuse of common control by a holding company largely owned by the hedge fund, enabled the parties to reach a consensual plan of reorganization
  • Mediated a creditor trustee's objection for amounts allegedly due as an investment banking fee
  • Mediated a number of non-dischargeability and fraudulent transfer suits in a large case involving mortgage fraud
  • Mediated a breach of contract matter between a debtor and investment company where the parties had entered into a settlement agreement regarding the sale of real property in Hawaii and that agreement then became the subject of a partially-completed arbitration
  • Settled fraudulent transfer claims throughout numerous mediation sessions with various groups of former shareholders of a failed San Francisco based law firm
  • Mediated to settlement a long-pending suit by a Chapter 11 trustee of a mortgage company against its former principal on numerous theories, including breach of contract, fraudulent transfer, corporate looting and Washington state law
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Honoree, Lawdragon Global Restructuring Advisors & Consultants Guide, 2020
  • Registered Mediator, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
  • President, subsequent to being Vice-President, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges
  • Fellow, American College of Bankruptcy
  • Member, American Law Institute
  • Lecturer, Federal Judicial Center, since 1986
  • Taught principles of bankruptcy jurisdiction to newly-appointed U.S. District Judges since 1994
  • Regularly serves on educational programs for the Federal Judicial Center, ALI-ABA, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, Practising Law Institute, American Bankruptcy Institute, Midwest Bankruptcy Institute, American Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors, and others
  • Appointed Chief Bankruptcy Judge, United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California, 2004–2010
  • Judge, United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California, 1988-2003
  • Judge, United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Ohio, 1982-1988
  • Lawyer, Dinsmore & Shohl, Cincinnati, OH, 1978-1982
  • J.D., University of Cincinnati College of Law, 1975
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Boston University, 1972

Counsel Comments

    • "I've been in a lot of big-time negotiations over my 30 years of doing this. Randall Newsome is the best I've ever seen."

      - Attorney
    • "Many thanks [Judge Newsome] for your assistance today in resolving the matter [...] the result was a fair one for all concerned and it once again reaffirmed my enthusiasm for mediation when conducted by a determined and skilled mediator."

      International Attorney and Chief Executive Officer of Litigation Firm
    • “[Judge Newsome’s] skillful approach to resolving the matter…ultimately resulted in a complete consensual resolution of the matter…” 

      - Attorney
    • “Judge Newsome is the best mediator I've ever worked with, and have been involved in dozens of mediations. He's the most prepared, knowledgeable and tenacious, an excellent questioner and works extremely hard to get to a deal.”

      - Los Angeles Bankruptcy/Restructuring Attorney
    • “Judge Newsome is simply fabulous.”

      - Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney
    • “Judge Newsome was excellent.”

      - Partner Miami Law Firm



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Banking
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business/Commercial
  • Employment
  • Federal Judge
  • Financial Markets
  • Governmental/Public Agency
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Securities
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