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AFFILIATION: JAMS BORN: Oct. 25, 1942 LAW SCHOOL: Harvard Law School, 1967 PREVIOUS JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE: None If he had his way, Martin Quinn would have left litigation a decade ago to become a high school history teacher. But, “the financial hit would’ve been absurd,” said Quinn, who spent nearly 30 years as a litigator before joining JAMS in 1996. Instead, he entered a field where he sometimes wonders why people even need him. “People have been sort of overly reliant on mediators to get cases settled, which is great for me,” said Quinn, who also now teaches mediation at Hastings College of the Law. He says being a neutral is about the best job he could imagine, even though he often finds himself wondering, “Why couldn’t they have negotiated this?” As he works to mediate cases � many of which are high-profile suits involving insurance carriers, government agencies and multiple aggrieved parties � Quinn does his best to stick adversaries in a room together. “I just want them to talk to each other, because the way litigation works, the lawyers, correctly, have said ‘Don’t talk to the son of a bitch.’” “I tell people at the joint session, ‘I mean this with all respect: It’s not my problem, it’s not your lawyers’ problem, it’s your problem,’” he added. “And that’s a very different message than they get from their lawyers.” Lawyers who’ve used Quinn’s services repeatedly say such tactics are often successful because he’s able to combine an understanding of complex legal issues with an ability to figure out what litigants need to feel they’ve been treated fairly. “He’s very, very sharp, and catches not just the legal issues, but the personality issues in a case almost by divining it,” said Susan Griffin, a partner at Griffin & Sullivan in San Francisco. She tends to use Quinn in cases where she represents individual consumers � such as legal malpractice suits � since he’s able to put edgy clients at ease. Disputes between clients and lawyers have been a longtime interest of Quinn’s � handled them as a founding partner of what is now Rogers, Joseph, O’Donnell & Phillips, a firm that specializes in legal malpractice suits. Before that, Quinn was a partner at the now-defunct Pettit & Martin, and also worked for the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. But his main area of expertise as a mediator � and his specialty since leaving Rogers, Joseph for JAMS � is settling complex suits with multiple parties. In addition, he often works as a court-appointed special master � or, in state court, as a discovery referee � dealing with insurance companies, real estate interests and government agencies to push forward settlements of entangled cases. His expertise in that area began in the 1980s when he worked as a lawyer on a massive piece of litigation involving a contaminated Southern California garbage dump. With government agencies trying to make companies pay for a cleanup, the dump managers, the companies that used the dump, and the insurance carriers spent years fighting over who would pay. Quinn said it forced him and the general counsel at his client company to negotiate deals with about 20 insurance carriers. “I thought, ‘This was really satisfying,’” he said. “I got a really good result, and we never went into a courtroom.” Since then, complex, multi-party environmental suits have become more routine and more structured, with neutrals often brought in to help parties figure out the extent of an environmental cleanup, who will pay, and who will assume future liability. “You have a mediation where there are 50 people in the room,” Quinn said. While those environmental cases tend to take months or years to resolve, he said most of his mediations settle after a day of discussion, and often a follow-up phone call or two. “I’m on the phone a lot, and if a case doesn’t settle the first day, I’m relentless,” Quinn said. “I tell people I may not be the best mediator, but I’m the most persistent.” Douglas Straus, a partner at Archer Norris in Walnut Creek, has used Quinn as a mediator and, in a complex real estate case, as an arbitrator after a mediation with him didn’t resolve it. “I feel that the arbitration was a tie,” Straus said. “My client got one thing he wanted and didn’t get another thing.” Straus said Quinn is worth the $500 an hour he charges � which amounts to $5,000 for a one-day mediation, including prep time � because he understands complex legal issues and human emotions equally well. “He’s a combination of very smart and personable. He gives lawyers and clients the feeling that he cares about their problems,” Straus said. Guy Kornblum, of Kornblum & Associates in San Francisco, agrees. He’s known Quinn since 1972, and has returned to him repeatedly. “He’s just as confident as they come,” Kornblum said. “He’s got a deep understanding of why people settle.” Quinn says that understanding amounts to a pretty basic fact: Even in money-driven business disputes, people tend to care most about things other than cash � and once those issues have been resolved, suits tend to settle. “Corporate counsel, CEOs, they’re full of guilt, greed and anger,” he said. “You scratch your head and say, ‘Why didn’t these people settle this case six months ago.’ And the CEOs are going after each other like bulls.” You can order past judicial profiles of more than 100 Bay Area judges here or by calling 415-749-5523.

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