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N. Damali Peterman
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N. Damali Peterman Esq.

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Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Civil Rights
Education Law
Employment Law
Energy & Utilities
Entertainment & Sports
Higher Education & Title IX
Intellectual Property
International & Cross-Border
Professional Liability
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education
Damali Peterman, Esq., is a distinguished ADR professional who joined JAMS in 2021. She brings over twenty years of experience as a mediator, conflict resolution trainer, ADR entrepreneur and corporate transactional lawyer in private and in-house practice to the disputes over which she presides and is highly-regarded for her use of innovative and engaging techniques designed to assist companies, institutions, nonprofits, government agencies and individuals prevent, manage, and resolve conflict.

Ms. Peterman has been active in many different areas of conflict resolution, including as a mediator, in a wide range of business and commercial, employment/Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, intellectual property, higher education, family, and housing disputes. She has worked across a broad swath of industries, including those in the banking, utilities, telecommunications, entertainment, food and beverage, and retail fields.

Prior to joining JAMS, Ms. Peterman founded Breakthrough ADR, a global conflict resolution firm that helps organizations resolve conflict and teaches people how to listen, negotiate and resolve everyday situations in the workplace and beyond. Through Breakthrough ADR, she routinely addresses acute and chronic inter- and intra-company conflict and provides conflict resolution/mediation training and coaching to thousands of individuals and companies. Prior to establishing Breakthrough ADR, she  founded a law firm focusing on corporate and other business transactions. She was an assistant general counsel at Deloitte LLP and an associate at the global law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges having handled, at both institutions, corporate transactions including deal structuring and contract negotiations.

Ms. Peterman believes that, in addition to enabling positive business changes, ADR is critical to empowering positive social change. To this end, through Breakthrough ADR and community organizations, she has been privileged to train hundreds of law enforcement officers in New York City and elsewhere in ADR-based techniques aimed at de-escalating and resolving conflict without the use of force. She relishes seeing the breakthrough moments these officers routinely have as they progress through training and learn new techniques to help navigate conflict.

Ms. Peterman empowers her clients by instilling in them a sense of agency and self-determination during their disputes. She makes each person feel heard, understood, and appreciated by employing the exceptional listening and communication skills she has honed over the course of her long and distinguished career. She has a well-earned reputation as a creative problem solver. Indeed, counsel often comment on her ability to forge a path to resolution even for the most intractable of disputes. 

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Ms. Peterman has handled a wide range of corporate and business/commercial matters in a variety of industries as a Neutral and as counsel, including mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, corporate finance, fairness opinions, business combinations, restructuring deals, joint ventures, licensing, and real estate transactions.
  • She is the author of a forthcoming book, Negotiating While Black: Be Who You Are to Get What You Want (Penguin Random House/Bonnier Books) (scheduled for release in June 2024), is a sought-after writer and speaker, and has been featured in multiple magazines, newspapers, and television networks.
  • Ms. Peterman travels globally to teach workshops in negotiation and mediation and to judge mediation competitions. She also instructs students, educators, and other professionals worldwide through virtual means. 
  • She is fluent in Spanish, conversational in Japanese, and possesses limited language skills in Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Portuguese and Dutch.

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Mediated multiple commercial disputes across a variety of industries including banking, utilities, telecommunications, entertainment, food and beverage, and retail entities
      • Mediated multiple cases between co-founders, boards of directors and management of various entities
      • Mediated cases between general contractors and subcontractors regarding allegations of breach of contract
      • Mediated contract disputes involving banks and credit card providers and the Truth in Lending Act 
      • Mediated multiple cases between high-net-worth family members regarding elder care and financial planning
      • Mediated commercial and residential real estate transactions and disputes
      • Represented client in connection with the acquisition of a major snack company in a cross-border transaction
      • Represented client in sale of auto parts castings businesses in a cross-border transaction
      • Represented client in the acquisition of wind power farms
      • Represented financial advisor to board of directors in a $1.3 billion acquisition
      • Represented financial advisor to board of directors in a $661 million acquisition
      • Represented financial advisor to special committee of board of directors in a $24.4 billion going-private acquisition
      • Represented client in drafting, negotiating, and amending co-venture and licensing agreements with major beauty brands
      • Represented client with its senior notes offering
      • Represented client in connection with financial guaranty insurance restructuring
  • Employment Law
      • Mediated several cases involving allegations of wrongful termination and discrimination based on age, race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, and retaliation
      • Mediated multiple disputes involving claims of workplace sexual harassment
      • Mediated matter relating to alleged discrimination and retaliation
      • Mediated multiple matters involving employees’ severance terms 
      • Mediated several mediation cases pending before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
  • Higher Education & Title IX
      • Mediated dispute involving tenured professor and university
      • Mediated matter involving dispute between NCAA coach and university
      • Mediated dispute involving staff claims against university

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Admitted to practice law in New York State
  • International Ombudsman Association, 2021
  • National Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section, 2021
  • Association for Conflict Resolution, Greater New York Chapter, 2019
  • New York State Dispute Resolution Association, 2017
  • New York City Bar Association, Women in the Legal Profession Committee, 2008
  • American Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section, 2008
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, 1998


  • Woman Legal Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the 2023 Women Owned Law Awards, 2023
  • Hudson Valley Women in Business Awards, 2022
  • Social Change Agent of the Year, National Institute for Mentoring Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs (NIMBLE), 2019
  • Semifinalist, Fulbright Global Scholar Award
  • Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Scholar/Tory Burch Foundation Alumni, 2018–2019
  • Applause Award for Excellence in Client Service, Deloitte, 2017

Dispute Resolution Training

  • Certificate: Harvard Business School Online, Negotiation Mastery Certificate, Summer 2020 
  • Certificate: Cornell University ILR School, Professional Neutral Development Certificate, 2019–2020 
  • Mediation, negotiation, and commercial diplomacy courses as a part of M.A. program at Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, 2000–2002
  • Mediation at the Institute for International Mediation and Conflict Resolution/Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague, Netherlands, 2002
  • ADR courses as a part of J.D. program at Howard University School of Law, 2005–2008
  • Basic mediation training, advanced mediation training and a thirteen-week apprenticeship program at the New York Peace Institute, 2013–2014
  • Special education mediation training at the New York Peace Institute and New York State Dispute Resolution Association, 2017
  • Advanced commercial mediation training at the New York City Bar Association, 2018

Publications & Media References

Media Appearances


Ms. Peterman is a podcast professional who, since 2019, has hosted her own podcast, “Breakthrough Barriers with Damali.” She and a co-host have published over sixty podcast episodes designed to help callers navigate conflict in a variety of milieus involving business, personal, family, and societal challenges. She has also appeared as a guest speaker on numerous other podcasts.

Background and Education

  • Breakthrough ADR, LLC, 2016–present
    • Chief Executive Officer
  • Damali Law LLC, 2016–present
    • Chief Executive Officer
  • Howard University School of Law, 2020–present 
    • Adjunct Professor
    • ADR Program Advisory Board Member
  • Deloitte LLP, 2014–2016
    • Assistant General Counsel
  • Lawyers Alliance for New York, 2011
    • Secondee
  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges, 2008–2013
    • Senior Associate
  • Global Young Leaders Conference, 2005
    • Faculty Advisor
  • Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center, 2003–2004
    • Assistant Director
    • Community Outreach Coordinator
  • The Institute for International Mediation and Conflict Resolution, The Hague, Netherlands, Summer 2002
  • Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Nagoya, Japan, Summer 2001
  • Denmark International Studies Program, Copenhagen, Denmark, Fall 1999
  • Centro de Idiomas, Oaxaca, Mexico, Summer 1999
  • J.D., Howard University School of Law, 2008
  • M.A., Middlebury Institute of International Studies, 2002
  • B.A., Spelman College, 2000


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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