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Rebecca Westerfield

Hon. Rebecca Westerfield (Ret.)

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Case Manager
Melissa Ornstil
T: 415-774-2600
F: 415-982-5287
Two Embarcadero Center, Suite 1500, San Francisco, CA 94111

Judge Westerfield has served as an arbitrator in over 200 cases since joining JAMS as a full-time panelist in 1992. She has arbitrated a wide variety of types of cases, including business and contract disputes, investment disputes, professional fee disputes, real estate disputes, securities fraud, environmental claims, partnership dissolutions, employment matters, and legal and medical malpractice.


Judge Westerfield is well versed in financial and securities issues that arise in business, employment and professional fee disputes.  She quickly synthesizes data and evidence presented with legal arguments and is known for her sense of fairness.  Her managerial arbitration style is to provide parties with an opportunity to be fully heard while moving the process forward efficiently.


Representative Arbitrations

  • Business and Contract Disputes
    • Dissolution of business and professional partnerships
    • Deteriorated business relations among family members
    • Franchise disputes
    • Cases involving allegations of breach of intellectual property licensing agreements
    • Cases involving breach of contracts relating to the sale of businesses
  • Construction Disputes
    • Disputes arising from construction defect allegations
    • Construction delay disputes
    • Forty-day complex arbitration involving public transit construction
  • Employment Disputes
    • Disputes involving complex valuation of stock options upon employment termination
    • Disputes between business executives and former employers involving issues of wrongful termination, theft of trade secrets, breach of non-disclosure and non-compete agreements and breach of fiduciary duty 
    • Claims of unlawful discrimination or wrongful termination by employers
  • Environmental Disputes
    • Allocation of remedial costs in environmental contamination claims
    • Business dispute involving energy production
  • Healthcare
    • Coverage and payment disputes between HMOs, insurance companies and physicians and providers
    • Multiple medical malpractice cases, including those with complex underlying insurance issues
    • Billing disputes between insurers and hospitals/providers
  • Insurance
    • Coverage disputes
  • International
    • Disputes between domestic and international companies arising from breach of contract allegations
  • Professional Malpractice
    • Claims regarding insurance coverage
    • Legal malpractice involving antitrust issues
    • Numerous medical malpractice claims involving permanent injuries or death
    • Real estate - fraud claims
  • Professional Fee Disputes
    • Multiple disputes over significant attorneys fees
    • Seven figure attorney fee dispute with decision affirmed by the California Court of Appeals
  • Real Estate Disputes
    • Disputes arising from breach of real estate purchase agreements
    • Commercial and residential lease disputes
  • Securities and Financial Disputes
    • Claims of business fraud violation of securities statutes
    • Cases involving allegations of breach of stock purchase agreements and complex earn out provisions
    • Securities fraud cases and stock valuation disputes
    • Multiple disputes involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty by entities such as Homeowners associations, accountants, brokers and other financial professionals
    • Claims of unsuitable investments
  • Torts and Catastrophic Personal Injury
    • Cases involving personal injury claims arising out of vehicular accidents
  • Active Member, State Bar of California
  • Advisor; Center for Advanced Mediation Practice; Bangalore, India; 2018
  • Certified Mediator, International Mediation Institute, 2017
  • Presenter, Mediation, University of Southern California Gould School of Law School, 2018
  • Co-Chair, Global Pound Conference, International Mediation Institute (Northern California), 2016–2017
  • Presenter; USA/Italy Dialogue on Judicial Reform: Alternative Dispute Resolution; Rome, Italy; 2016
  • Presenter, USC/JAMS Arbitration Institute Symposium: Advanced Arbitration Academy, Los Angeles, 2016
  • Presenter; Admont International Summer School on Business Mediation; Admont, Austria; 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016
  • Presenter; Bangalore Chamber of Commerce, Conclave on Alternative Dispute Resolution; Bangalore, India; 2016
  • Recognized as an “ADR Champion,” National Law Journal, 2016, 2018
  • Presenter; ABA Asia Pacific International Mediation Summit; New Delhi, India; 2015
  • Presenter; Private Commercial Mediation Conclave; Bangalore, India; 2015
  • Trainer, ADR for Supreme Court of India (Delhi), High Court of Bangalore, 2013
  • Elected Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators
  • "Top Master," Daily Journal Top California Neutrals List, 2013
  • "Top California Neutral," Daily Journal, 2002–2012 (from the inception of the recognition to its conclusion)
  • Best Lawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution Category, Best Lawyers in America, 2008–2018, and Northern California Super Lawyer, 2008, 2010–2018
  • Best Lawyer in the Bay Area, San Francisco Business Times, 2009
  • One of the Top Three Best Neutrals in the Bay Area, The Recorder, 2007
  • One of the 500 Leading Judges in America, Lawdragon magazine, 2006
  • Distinguished Mediator of the Year, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, 2003
  • One of the Top 10 Mediators in the Bay Area, The Recorder, 2002
  • Member, Advisory Council to the ABA International Human Rights Center, 2011–2014
  • Member, Advisory Board University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Human Rights Center, 2009–present
  • Member, National Association of Women Judges, International Association of Women Judges, ABA Women in Dispute Resolution Committee
  • Member, International Academy of Trial Judges, Northern California International Arbitration Committee
  • Chair, International Human Rights Committee, The Bar Association of San Francisco, 2009–2011
  • Participant, International Human Rights Summer School, New College at the University of Oxford, 2004
  • Member, American Bar Association House of Delegates, 1987–1991, 1996–2008
  • Board of Directors, The Bar Association of San Francisco, 1994–1997
  • Chair, American Bar Association Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities (now Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice), 1994–1995
  • Co-authored the ADR chapter of CEB's Wrongful Termination Practice 2ed. (1997)
  • Adjunct Professor, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
  • Lecturer, Stanford Law School
  • "Enduring Optimism," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, June 28, 2013
  • Appointed Judge; Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Kentucky (court of general jurisdiction); 1987–1992
  • Admitted to Bar of United States Supreme Court and Sixth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals
  • M.A., Stanford University, 2008
  • J.D., University of Kentucky, 1975 (Law Journal, National Moot Court Team)
  • B.A., University of Kentucky, with distinction, 1972
  • Serves on ADR panel for the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California

Counsel Comments

    • "I really enjoyed mediating the case with [Judge Westerfield] , and I was impressed with [her] patience, empathy, clarity, flexibility, and determination. I am strongly recommending [her] to my colleagues, and I look forward to our next mediation."

      - Bay Area Attorney
    • "Judge Westerfield was remarkable, truly remarkable.  This has to be one of the toughest mediations she’s ever had in terms of the difficult nature of the parties."

      - Bay Area Attorney




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