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AFFILIATION: JAMS DATE OF BIRTH: May 22, 1940 LAW SCHOOL: Boston University School of Law, 1965 PREVIOUS JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE: Magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, 1972-1986; magistrate judge, including chief magistrate, for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, 1990-2001 (remained part-time after retirement until 2005) Edward Infante doesn’t let go easily. If the retired federal magistrate judge can’t bring two sides to a settlement when they meet with him for a mediation, there’s a good chance they’ll hear from him again. He keeps tabs on developments in court and the parties’ attitudes, scheduling up to a half dozen phone calls a week to follow up on such cases. So, though most of the litigation that comes to him settles at the official mediation, he estimates that he eventually resolves 70 percent of the rest. “I basically have to be told, ‘Stop calling us,’” Infante said last week, sitting in his polished conference room at JAMS, an ADR provider located high up in San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center. That “dogged pursuit attitude,” as one lawyer calls it, along with an air of credibility and expertise attributed to his time on the federal bench, now help Infante command a basic rate of $9,000 a day ($10,000 for a class action), and fill his schedule six to eight weeks in advance. He maintains a waiting list in case of cancellations. Infante, 65, has invested most of his professional life in federal courtrooms, but his reputation as a settlement judge was largely established in the 1990s when he served as a magistrate judge and then as chief magistrate for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. After graduating from Boston University School of Law in 1965, Infante took a clerkship for a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals judge and then, prompted by a draft notice, went to work for the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. That was followed by a job doing federal public defender work, and a partnership at a San Diego firm known as Pedersen, Flowers & Infante. In 1972, he was picked as a magistrate judge in Southern California, a seat he filled for more than 13 years. After a brief return to private practice and a stint as a U.S. trustee, Infante became a federal magistrate for the Northern District in 1990. In that post, he estimates that he spent about half his time conducting settlement conferences and presided over more than 100 civil trials. Where the federal courts in San Diego had been dominated by criminal cases, his new location in San Jose exposed him to more civil cases, many involving the high-tech businesses in Silicon Valley and their securities and patent litigation and other intellectual property disputes. “He has knowledge from being a judge, both about the law and about the risks of going to trial,” said James Finberg, a partner at plaintiff firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein who’s taken securities cases and an employment class action to Infante. “So he speaks with authority.” Since starting his mediation practice at JAMS in 2001, securities and IP have become Infante’s staples, along with class actions, employment cases and general commercial litigation. Infante wasn’t particularly predisposed to technology (he notes that his undergraduate degree was a bachelor of arts, with a major in economics). But many lawyers say they appreciate his ability to master the complexities of a case or even an entire area of law, like the economic modeling used to calculate damages in securities class actions. When Morrison & Foerster partner Harold McElhinny wound up in front of Infante for a mediation in a patent and antitrust war between two foreign companies, the litigation was taking place in the United States, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Infante, McElhinny recalls, “absolutely dove in and learned critical facts, including technology issues. “But more importantly, he clearly had spent a lot of time thinking about who the parties were, and what their needs were, and � cultural differences.” According to press releases at the time, ASML, based in the Netherlands, and Nikon Corp., based in Japan, crafted a settlement and a cross-licensing agreement. The biggest deal to come from Infante’s work made headlines last year, when McKesson Corp. agreed to pay $960 million in what is thought to be one of the largest securities class action settlements ever. Infante is quick to note that he has settled cases during his career for as little as one dollar. And his approach to a mediation, he says, varies as much as the size of the cases he’s considered. “In about half of mediations, you just need to be a facilitator, [and] broker the exchange of information,” Infante said. Other cases require him to offer his own evaluation to both sides. “The mediator needs to be the most flexible person in the room.” While some lawyers describe Infante as personable or even “gentle,” his candor and hands-on approach also make an impression. “His style is to get into the merits and basically beat hard on each side, with the message going to the clients that your position is not as [strong] as you think it is,” said Alan Schulman, a securities class action lawyer and head of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann’s California office. Infante treats clients with tact and diplomacy, McElhinny says, but is “sort of famous for” raising his voice at lawyers if he thinks they’re impeding the process or “playing games.” “He’ll cajole. He’ll argue with you. He’ll be sympathetic with you,” said Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partner James Lyons. Even during his weeklong vacation earlier this month, Infante settled three cases over the phone. “If he doesn’t think a case is settle-able, he’ll let you know,” Lyons said. But “if he believes a case is settle-able, he will move heaven and Earth to get it settled. He will invest himself in it.”

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