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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 been a full-time neutral with JAMS since 1992 and has settled or arbitrated over 600 employment matters, including class actions; wage and hour claims; race, gender, and age discrimination claims; wrongful termination claims; whistleblower claims; FEHA claims and American with Disabilities Act claims.  She is known for her ability to handle complex cases with multiple parties involving unique situations such as insurance coverage, securities, intellectual property disputes, cross-cultural dynamics and sensitive topics.


Employment cases settled or arbitrated by Judge Westerfield have involved Fortune 500 companies, international businesses with US operations, professional sports teams, local and state governments, educational institutions, financial institutions, securities firms, and law enforcement agencies. Judge Westerfield is an effective mediator with an extremely high settlement rate. 

Representative Matters

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Claims, including Class Actions:
    • Multiple class actions and individual matters involving ADA claims and related insurance coverage issues
  • Complex Business Disputes with Employment Claims:
    • Multiple cases involving alleged breaches of contracts with high level executives and attendant securities issues
    • Dissolution of closely held corporations and family businesses including complex valuation issues
  • Discrimination Claims, including Class Actions:
    • Multiple class actions and individual cases involving age, race, disability, and gender discrimination claims
    • Disability discrimination cases involving issues such as failure to provide reasonable accommodations, and the relationship and discrepancies between payments under workers’ compensation, long-term disability, and SSDI
    • Single case, one hundred and two individual claims for race, sex, and age discrimination brought after a massive reduction in force by a single defendant entity with multiple funding authorities, including governmental agencies
    • Cases involving FEHA claims
    • Cases with claims of discrimination related to pregnancy, involving the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • ERISA:
    • Cases involving breach of fiduciary duty in the management of trust fund assets
    • Cases involving allegations of discrimination in order to avoid vesting of benefits and/or allegations of denial of long-term disability benefits
  • Financial Markets Employment Cases:
    • Executive termination cases involving the valuation of stock options
    • Wide range of employment matters in the investment banking industry, including hedge funds, banks, and private equity and venture capital firms
  • International Business Employment Claims:
    • Multiple cases involving international businesses involved in disputes with their US-based employees, involving complex, cross-cultural issues  
  • Sexual Harassment Claims, including Class Actions:
    • Multiple sexual harassment and battery cases with issues regarding appropriate investigation, significant psychological injury, and insurance coverage
    • Case involving sexual harassment claims with underlying breach of contract claims causing consideration over insurance coverage issues
    • Case involving sexual harassment claims against an international billionaire
  • Trade Secret, Non-Compete, and Non-Solicitation Disputes:
    • Employment disputes involving high-level executives accused of breaching non-compete and non-solicitation contracts, alongside theft of trade secret allegations as well 
  • Wage and Hour Claims, including Class Actions:
    • Multiple class actions and individual cases involving wage and hour claims, including the alleged misclassification of employees as exempt, the failure to provide meal and rest periods, the failure to distribute tips and service charges, travel time, and off the clock work
  • Whistleblower Cases:
    • Whistleblower claims in health care industry
    • Employment disputes involving Sarbanes Oxley whistleblower claims
  • Wrongful Termination Claims:
    • Wrongful termination matters where special considerations must be made for parties in bankruptcy
    • Wrongful termination claims relating to accounting malpractice such as failure to follow GAAP or Sarbanes Oxley claims
  • Advisor, Center for Advanced Mediation Practice, Bangalore, India, 2018
  • Certified Mediator, International Mediation Institute, 2018
  • Co-Chair, International Mediation Global Pound Conference (Northern California), 2016-2017
  • Presenter, USA-Italy Dialogue on Judicial Reform: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Rome, Italy, 2016
  • Presenter, USC-JAMS Arbitration Institute- Advanced Arbitration Academy, Los Angeles, 2016
  • Presenter, Admont International Summer School on Business Mediation, Austria, 2016
  • Presenter, Bangalore Chamber of Commerce, Conclave on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Bangalore, India, 2016
  • Recognized as an “ADR Champion," National Law Journal, 2016, 2018
  • Participated in private mediation conclave sponsored by the Bangalore Chamber of Commerce, 2016
  • Presenter, ABA Asia Pacific Summit on Mediation, 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
  • Active member, State Bar of California
  • Elected Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators
  • "Top Master," Daily Journal Top California Neutrals List, 2013
  • "Top California Neutral," Daily Journal, 2002-2011 (since the inception of the recognition)
  • Best Lawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution Category, Best Lawyers in America, 2008-2016, and Northern California Super Lawyer, 2008, 2010-2016
  • 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, by 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, and Advisory Board U.C. 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
  • Presenter, International Summer School on Business Mediation, Admont, Austria (2006, 2010, 2012, 2014)
  • Chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s International Human Rights Committee, 2009-2011
  • Participant, International Human Rights Summer School, Oxford University-New College 2004
  • Member, American Bar Association House of Delegates, 1987-1991, 1996-2008
  • Board of Directors, 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
  • Serves on ADR panel for the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California
  • Appointed Judge, Circuit Court of Jefferson Co., Kentucky (court of general jurisdiction), 1987-1992
  • Admitted to Bar of United States Supreme Court, 6th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals
  • Masters in Liberal Arts, Stanford University, 2008
  • J.D., University of Kentucky, 1975 (Law Journal, National Moot Court Team)
  • B.A., University of Kentucky with distinction, 1972

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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