H. Warren Knight, founder of alternative dispute resolution company JAMS, died on November 15 of complications from lung disease. He was 83.
Knight started JAMS, formerly Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, in Santa Ana, Calif., in 1979, and was a leader in establishing a method of resolving disputes intended to be
more streamlined and cheaper than litigation. JAMS is now one of the largest arbitration and mediation services in the country.
Knight served for six years as a California Superior Court judge and for two years as a Municipal Court judge in Orange County, Calif. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he practiced at Portigal & Knight.
“Judge Knight was a visionary,” said Jack Trotter, former presiding justice of the California Fourth District Court of Appeal. “He saw a better way for lawyers to do business, and he never stopped believing it.”
Born in Charleston, W.Va., in 1929, Knight graduated from the University of Virginia in 1952 and University of Virginia School of Law in 1955. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1955 and was stationed in California until his discharge four years later.
Knight created the JAMS Foundation, the largest provider of grants to nonprofits in the dispute resolution field, and the JAMS Society, which provides thousands of hours of pro bono services each year. JAMS has 26 offices in the United States, London and Toronto, and affiliates in Italy.
Knight is survived by his wife, Carolyn, five children and eight grandchildren.
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