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Phone: (510) 457-8274

Two Embarcadero Center 15th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94111

Zela Claiborne


Arbitrator & Mediator

Current Employer:


Areas of Expertise:

✔ Biotech ✔ Commercial/Business
✔ Construction ✔ Contract Disputes
✔ Copyrights ✔ Energy including oil and gas
✔ Engineering ✔ Environmental
✔ Health Care ✔ Insurance
✔ Intellectual Property ✔ International
✔ Joint Ventures ✔ Land Use/Planning
✔ Legal Malpractice ✔ Licensing
✔ Media & Communications ✔ Mergers & Acquisitions
✔ Mining ✔ Partnerships
✔ Pharmaceuticals ✔ Professional Liability
✔ Professional Malpractice ✔ Professional Negligence
✔ Real Estate ✔ Software
✔ Technology ✔ Torts
✔ Trademarks ✔ Trade Secrets and Confidentiality Disputes
✔ Transportation ✔ Utilities


Full-time neutral specializing in the resolution of domestic and international disputes including Business and Commercial, Intellectual Property, Real Estate and Construction matters, Employment, Energy, Environmental, Health Care, Insurance, Professional Liability, and International. Please see detailed information about each of these areas, including representative cases, at

MORE INFORMATION available from Kathleen Hanley, Case Manager,

As attorney, specialized in commercial and construction litigation. Jury trial experience. Extensive experience in mediation and arbitration as both advocate and neutral. Judge pro tem, San Francisco Superior Court. Visiting speaker at Stanford Law School, University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall), and Hastings College of the Law. Member of Mediation Panel, US District Court, Northern District. JAMS panelist since 2008; member of CPR panel, ICC;, AAA and ICDR panels of mediators and arbitrators since 1991. Former member of AAA Board of Directors.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Experience: Experienced mediator for a variety of matters, including complex, multi-party cases, ranging in value up to many millions of dollars. Successful handling of international mediations. Has mediated hundreds of cases with a high settlement rate.

Has served as an arbitrator-- as sole arbitrator, chair of a panel, or panel member--on hundreds of matters since 1991. Frequently speaks and writes nationally about ADR, and has been on the faculty for various national mediator and arbitrator training programs.

Work History:

May 2008 to present: on JAMS arbitration and mediation panels.
1998-2008, full-time independent Mediator, Arbitrator, and Special Master; 1982-1998, General Partner/ Associate, Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon LLP.


Please see bios at for descriptions of representative cases handled, both arbitrations and mediations .


Attended numerous JAMS arbitrator training sessions, April 2008 to present. Served as faculty for in-house JAMS training sessions on arbitration best practices, 2009 to present.
Faculty, USC/JAMS Advanced Professional Arbitration Institute, 2016 Co-Chair and Faculty, ABA Arbitration Institute, 2009-2014.


CA Bar, 1982

Faculty, ABA Arbitration Institute, San Francisco, 2009.
Faculty, ABA Arbitration Institute, Washington D. C., 2010.
Faculty and Co-Chair, ABA Arbitration Institute, Los Angeles, 2011; Philadelphia 2012; Washington D.C. 2014.
Faculty, USC/JAMS Advanced Professional Arbitration Institute, 2016-2017

AAA trainings:
AAA Arbitrator Update, 2006; faculty, AAA Neutrals Conference, 2005; AAA arbitrator Update, 2005 & 2001; International Arbitration Symposium, 2004; Neutrals Conference, 2003; Safeguarding, Deciding & Writing Awards, 2003; Advanced Case Management Issues, 2002; Forum on International ADR, 2002; Presenter, AAA Mediation Conference Workshop, Chicago, 9/00; AAA International Training, San Francisco, 3/00; Presenter, AAA National Mediator Conference, Denver, 3/00; AAA Board Retreat on Business ADR, 4/99; Commercial Mediator Training, New York, 11/97; Large and Complex Case Training, Black Point, Maine, 9/97; Faculty, Construction Arbitrator Training, Jackson Hole, '97; Faculty, National Construction Arbitrator Training, 1996-1997; Faculty, National Arbitrator Training, Boston, 8/96; Large and Complex Case Mediator Training, 10/94; Large and Complex Case Arbitrator Training, 5/94; Arbitrator Training, San Francisco, 11/91.


Recognized as a Super Lawyer in ADR, 2005-2017; listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2008-2017; East Bay's Best; "Who's Who Legal" California. Judge pro tem. IMI Certified mediator.




.Panelist : JAMS (since 2008); International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) and CPR China panel ; DPR (Hawaii). Former member AAA Board of Directors; AAA mediation and arbitration panels including large and complex case panels and ICDR


UC Berkeley Law JD 1982


See list at Profile: "The Experience Curve" Daily JOURNAL 2015. Available on JAMS bio.


College of Commercial Arbitrators (Board of Directors); American College of Construction Lawyers (former); Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry (former). IMI CERTIFIED.

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