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John R. (Jack) Williams

  • Biography
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Testimonials


John R. (Jack) Williams

Super Lawyers
Seriously Outstanding
only 5% selected each year

John R. (Jack) Williams was born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1938.  He graduated from the University of Iowa and attended the University of Wales as a Rotary International Scholar in 1961. Upon his return to the United States, Jack moved to California, where he graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1965, he met his wife, also a Midwesterner, and they established their San Jose roots in 1968. They have four children and five grandchildren who all reside in the Bay Area.

Jack specialized in insurance defense litigation and earned over 200 jury verdicts during his career as a litigator and the founding, senior partner of three law firms. 

Jack has served as a settlement conference judge pro tem. For over 10 years, he has mediated litigated cases and became a full-time mediator in 2000. Since then, he has mediated nearly 2400 cases, while maintaining a settlement rate in the ninetieth percentile. He mediates cases of all subject matters, including personal injury, priest and sexual abuse cases, wrongful death, employment, high tech and intellectual property cases, real estate transactions, construction defect, and cases with deep complexity involving multiple parties. 

In addition to his litigation and ADR practices, Jack has been an adjunct professor of law (California Discovery, Trial Practice, Mediation and Arbitration, Legal Negotiation) at Santa Clara University for over 30 years. He has taught a multitude of State Bar and American Bar Association Continuing Legal Education courses, served as a keynote speaker and lecturer at various conferences, including the Pepperdine Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution Master’s Forum.  He has accrued hundreds of hours of specialized mediation training, including at Harvard and Pepperdine Law Schools.

He has been a member of the California Trial Lawyers Association, the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and various ADR organizations in Northern California.

Jack has been the recipient of a multitude of awards, including the Santa Clara University School of Law Owens Award in 2004, he has been repeatedly named to the California Super Lawyers Panel, the San Jose Magazine Best Attorneys and Top 300 list, as well as Who’s Who in American Lawyers list.

Apart from his unrivaled trial experience and success as a mediator, Jack is noted for being fair, extremely knowledgeable about the law and its nuances, personable, funny and likable, tenacious regarding follow-up, and exceptionally prepared. 


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Curriculum Vitae


Williams & Williams Mediation, San Jose, CA April 2001 - present

Williams Mediation, San Jose, CA, April 1999 - April 2001

Williams, Pinelli & Cullen, LLP, San Jose, CA April 1996  - April 1999

Williams, Romanski, Polverari & Skelton, San Jose, CA l98l - April 1996

Hession, Creedon, Hamlin, Kelly, Hanson & Williams, San Jose, CA l974 - l980

Popelka, Allard, Williams, et al., San Jose, CA l966 - l974

Professional Mediator, Senior Partner and Litigation Partner, Insurance Defense Litigation Trial Attorney, including evaluation, preparation, negotiation and trial of defense cases in civil litigation.



Over 2400 mediations, including legal and medical malpractice, auto, premises liability, products liability, high tech and intellectual property, sexual harassment and discrimination, personal injury, wrongful termination and business litigation.

Mandatory settlement conference Judge Pro Tempore for Santa Clara County Superior Court from the institution of their Pro Tem Program in l974 to the present.

Private settlement judge selected by attorneys for resolution of lawsuits before mandatory settlement conference, l985 to the present.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Panel, Approved Mediator: Santa Clara County Bar Association, San Francisco County Bar Association.

Victim Offender Mediation Program, approved mediator for Santa Clara County Juvenile Probation Department.

Hundreds upon hundreds of varied cases since l965 in settlement conferences and arbitration and mediations as an advocate for clients.


From l966 to 1996, trial of over 200 civil jury trials to completion in product liability, automobile, construction injuries, premises liability professional liability, business litigation, etc., hundreds more prepared and resolved on the morning of trial or arbitrated or mediated to conclusion.



Judge Pro Tempore, Santa Clara County Superior Court, San Jose/Santa Clara/San Mateo Municipal Court; Special Master; Settlement Judge Pro Tempore, Santa Clara and San Mateo County; and Court Appointed Arbitrator and Mediator.



Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Santa Clara Law School, over 30 years:

Trial Practice, 1970-1988
California Discovery and Trial Preparation, 1988-present
Negotiation and Mediation, 1997-present

Lecturer in Law, Pepperdine Law School, Dispute Resolution Institute, Mediating The Litigated Case, 2000

University of California, Santa Cruz, Extension, Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Litigation Process.

California Continuing Education of the Bar, numerous legal seminars with prepared written materials, including but not limited to such subjects as: Creating and Implementing a Discovery Plan, Preparation for and Taking Depositions, Use and Abuse of Interrogatories, Effective Use of Trial Evidence, Proving and Evaluating Damages, Experts in Litigation, Ethical Use of Discovery, How to Effectively Arbitrate Cases, The Last l00 Days Before Trial, Negotiating Personal Injury Cases, Preparing For Mediation, etc.

Hastings College of Trial Advocacy lecturer; University of Santa Clara Civil Trial Skills Workshop, summer program; Santa Clara County Trial Advocacy College, Board of Governors, Lecturer; Numerous seminars and programs for Association of Defense Counsel, California Trial Lawyers Association, State and Local Bar Associations, Practicing Law Institute, and University of Santa Clara Law School.



Harvard Law School Negotiation Program (60 hours), Spring 1999. 
Pepperdine University School of Law, Dispute Resolution Program, 1997, over 70 hours of training including six-day and three-day seminars on Mediating the Litigated Case, Advanced Mediation Techniques, etc.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Certification Program, University of California Santa Cruz, 225 classroom hours, multi-facet program culminating in Fall l995.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Commercial Mediation, sponsored by Santa Clara County Bar Association, 40 hours of all facets of ADR with interactive role playing and videotaping, leading to Santa Clara County Bar Association Select Panel ADR Certification.

Mediation Means to Solutions, University of California Santa Cruz, training of personal injury 40 hours of technique demonstrations and role playing in litigation and conflict situations, April - May l995.

California Association of Defense Counsel, ADR Certification Seminar, Golden Gate University, October l994.

How to Mediate Intellectual Property Cases, (20 hours, May 1999, presented by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of Geneva, Switzerland.

Over l00 plus hours of additional formal courses, seminars and training workshops during the past five years on mediating to conclusion specific kinds of cases, mediation ethics, dealing with difficult people, etc.

Over 50 hours of negotiation training courses in the last five years from the University of California Extension, National Law Center of Washington D.C., Pepperdine Law School, California Continuing Education of the Bar, Karrass Negotiation Program, etc.



International Association of Insurance Counsel, Pre-Suit Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
Federation of Insurance and Corp. Counsel, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, Member
Northern California Mediation Association, Board of Directors, (Former), Member
California Dispute Resolution Council, Member.



University of Iowa, Bachelors of Arts, History Honors, l960
University of Wales, Rotary International Fellowship in Law, l962
University of Santa Clara Law School, Juris Doctor, l965




Plaintiffs’ Attorneys:

Santa Clara County:
“I cannot speak highly enough for John Williams’ knowledge of the mediation process, his fairness, his neutral temperament, and his ability to grasp key issues.  He is respected by the defense.  He gains the confidence of the parties, as well as the carrier representative for the defense.  He keeps the parties loose and has a keen insight into problem areas….He tells the plaintiff from the outset that he is going to settle his case, and he means it, because he did settle the case.  In my mind, he is the very best, and I am a plaintiffs’ attorney… . "

Respectfully yours,
William Clopton
San Jose, California


Other Counties:
“… You might wonder if a plaintiff’s attorney can trust a defense lawyer who has been practicing defense litigation for over  35 years, but in this case, you can.  Jack is the hardest working mediator we have ever used.  He just never gives up, and will not accept the fact that the case cannot be settled.  If the case does not settle at the scheduled mediation session, he follows up by phone until he gets resolution.  Even though the case may be scheduled with a settlement judge, or a settlement panel, or even the second round of settlement panels, Jack is always on the phone, always working on the case, never stops, and continues to be relentless in pursuit of the settlement.

During the mediation, Jack always seems to know what the real expectations are in the case.  He works to those, and routinely surpasses them.  Jack’s approach to the plaintiff is part of his success.  He takes a lot of time at the beginning, as well as throughout the mediation, to make the plaintiff feel  comfortable with him and with the format of the mediation.  Jack again spends time with the plaintiff at the end of the mediation so that the plaintiff feels that the settlement was reached fairly and with great consideration for the plaintiff.

… Jack has heard every conceivable reason why an insurance company doesn’t want to pay the plaintiff’s demand.  …  Over a period of three decades, Jack has gained a valuable knowledge of the amount of money that will settle a case.  This means that Jack is always ready to argue the defendant’s exposure (not just cost of defense) to those representatives and defense attorneys and home office personnel, and he always seems to get their ear.  Perhaps that is why he always seems to get that extra amount that exceeds the plaintiff’s (and plaintiff’s counsel’s) expectations.

I know that everyone who has employed Jack’s services as a mediator will agree with me that he is the best they have used.  But what I really like about the whole process, when Jack is the mediator, is that the defense attorneys call me the next day to tell me how much they enjoyed having Jack as the mediator, and how pleased they are with the fairness of the result that was obtained.  This makes everyone involved truly satisfied with the experience."

Sincerely yours,
Michael Edward Coke
Walnut Creek, California


“… I can state without reservation that your legal and mediation skills, coupled with your tenacious, yet, gracious temperament, was the primary contributor to the settlement of this litigation.  I am certain that your extensive experience and reputation as a litigator gave your efforts a level of credibility very few mediators bring to the table.  Please accept my personal thanks and appreciation for your constant efforts and the very positive result of those efforts.  Your candor and objectivity, as well as your skill in utilizing the ADR process, are of the highest level. … "

Richard J. Kahdeman
Westlake Village, California


Defense Attorneys:

“On behalf of my client and myself, we thank your for all the work you performed in mediating our case.  Your hard work and insight into the law and procedure, as well as into settlement negotiations, was a major factor in bringing this case to an out-of-court resolution.  In addition, you made it possible for the parties to spend time reflecting on their case and their respective positions without feeling pressured or hurried.  We appreciate your good work."

Very truly yours,
Henry G. Haddad
Los Angeles, California




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