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Stephen Sulmeyer

Stephen H. Sulmeyer, J.D., Ph.D.

Case Manager
Darcy English
T: 415-774-2635
F: 415-982-5287
Two Embarcadero Center, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94111

Stephen H. Sulmeyer 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.


Stephen H. Sulmeyer, J.D., Ph.D., joins JAMS as a full-time neutral after nearly 20 years as a mediator in private practice. With a dual background as a commercial and intellectual property litigator as well as a clinical psychologist, Mr. Sulmeyer specializes in the settlement of disputes involving professional and intimate relationships, particularly in areas such as family law, probate and estate planning, elder law, family businesses, workplace, sexual harassment and partnership disputes, as well as commercial and business disputes. His skill at working with the human issues that drive disputes has earned him a reputation for resolving the most challenging high-conflict and high-emotion cases. 

Mr. Sulmeyer’s approach to dispute resolution focuses on understanding as thoroughly as possible the parties’ material and non-material interests, as well as their financial and legal positions—hence his commitment to thorough and diligent pre-mediation preparation. His ability to listen empathically, think analytically and communicate clearly allows parties and counsel to feel genuinely heard and understood, and ripens negotiations for creative and pragmatic problem-solving. His combination of tenacity, legal acumen and amiable practicality contributes to his high rate of settlement.

In addition to his mediation practice, Mr. Sulmeyer is highly-sought-after as a speaker and trainer of dispute resolution, nationally and internationally. He is also the founder and former president of Integrative Mediation Bay Area, an organization that brings together psychotherapist, financial industry and attorney co-mediators in family law and other cases. Mr. Sulmeyer is the co-founder (with Judge Verna Adams) of the Marin Superior Court’s Interdisciplinary Settlement Conference program, in which mental health professionals and lawyers trained in dispute resolution team up to assist judges to resolve the most intractable child custody, probate and other civil cases. 

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • 12 years of private practice litigation experience covering a wide variety of intellectual property, entertainment and general business matters
  • 20 years practicing as a psychotherapist, during which time he honed his skills in empathic listening and understanding human behavior and motivations
  • Highly experienced in resolving matters involving current and/or future relationships among the parties; high-conflict, difficult personalities; mental health issues; and substance abuse
  • Co-founded the Interdisciplinary Settlement Conference program at the Marin County Superior Court; in its 12-year history, the program has maintained a greater than 80% settlement rate while substantially reducing the number of return visits by litigating parents

Representative Matters

Business and Commercial

  • Dispute between major chocolate manufacturer and dissatisfied customer involving claims of false advertising and misleading labeling
  • Commercial lease dispute between San Francisco restaurant and landlord
  • Case involving alleged wrongful denial of death benefits by national insurance company


  • Case involving claims of wrongful discharge and sexual harassment brought by employee of psychotherapist employer
  • Dispute involving claims of unpaid commissions, overtime wages and other Labor Code violations against Silicon Valley tech firm


  • Dispute between well-known 1960s rock musician and his former record company involving claims of copyright infringement, rescission of songwriting contract and defamation
  • Dispute between musician and multinational snack food corporation involving claims of copyright infringement and violation of right of publicity based on alleged misappropriation of signature guitar riff


  • Dispute between trustee/beneficiary and beneficiary, both sisters, involving allegations of trustee malfeasance and underlying misconduct resulting in the death of the parties’ elderly mother
  • Multiple cases involving opposed sibling factions, some involving mental illness and/or substance abuse

Family Law

  • Divorce, separation and custody cases of all kinds, many extremely high conflict
  • Very high net worth individuals involved in cases involving estates valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars

Intellectual Property

  • Trademark and trade dress infringement case between rival manufacturers of exercise equipment
  • Patent and copyright infringement case between two leading providers of cloud-based Enterprise Incentive Management software and equipment where president of defendant company was formerly an officer of plaintiff company
  • Copyright infringement case involving allegations of piracy of musical recordings and related artwork via illegal postings on the web and online services such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and You Tube
  • Patent infringement and Lanham Act § 43(a) false advertising case involving competing thumb drives
  • Copyright infringement case involving allegations of copying of copyrighted software code

Personal Injury/Elder Law

  • Case involving online impersonation and posting of false sexually explicit material online
  • Wrongful death case involving plaintiff who was struck and killed by an Amtrak train
  • Multiple cases involving disputes between siblings or sibling factions relating to the care of an elderly parent
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Founder and President, Integrative Mediation Bay Area, 2008–2018
  • Chair, ADR Section, Marin County Bar Association, 2005
  • Member, Section of Dispute Resolution, American Bar Association, 2013-present
  • Member, ADR Section, Mediation Division, Bar Association of San Francisco, 2002-present
  • Member, Association for Conflict Resolution, 2005-present
  • Member, Mediation Society, 2012-present

ADR Panels

  • Mediation Panel, Marin and Alameda County Superior Courts
  • Mediation Panel, United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • Mediation Panel, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District

Selected Publications

  • Co-Author (With Hon. Lynn Duryee), “Managing the High-Conflict Litigant,” California Courts Review, Fall 2008
  • Co-Author (With Hon. Verna Adams and Hon. Beverly Wood), “The Interdisciplinary Settlement Conference: A Grass Roots Alternative for Resolving High-Conflict Parenting Disputes in Lean Times,” Family Court Review, October 2015

Other Professional Activities

  • Judge Pro Tem, Small Claims Division, Marin County Superior Court, 2004–2005
  • Adjunct Professor, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2001–2003
  • Founder and Settlement Panelist, Interdisciplinary Settlement Conference Program, Marin County Superior Court, 2008–present
  • Mediation Offices of Stephen H. Sulmeyer, J.D., Ph.D., 2001–2019
  • Mediator, Northern California Mediation Center, 2002–2018
  • Law Offices of Stephen H. Sulmeyer, 1993–1998
  • Attorney; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; 1989–1990
  • Attorney, Graham & James, 1983–1984
  • Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2001
  • J.D., Stanford Law School, 1983
  • B.A., With Distinction, History, Stanford University, 1980



Practice Areas

  • Business & Commercial
  • Employment Law
  • Estates/Probate/Trusts
  • Family Law
  • Higher Education & Title IX
  • Intellectual Property
  • Personal Injury/Torts
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