Debra Bogaards, Esq. has served as a private mediator for over five years, as well as a mandatory settlement conference officer in San Francisco for over five years and in Marin County for almost 30 years. Her extensive career highlights a remarkable track record of successfully mediating hundreds of cases, achieving a consistent settlement rate above 98%. Ms. Bogaards brings a distinct advantage to her role, offering a clear and balanced perspective derived from having represented both plaintiffs and defendants throughout her 40-year career.
Ms. Bogaards’ subject matter expertise includes a wide range of employment issues in individual and multi-party cases involving wage and hour disputes, discrimination (across all protected classes), sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, whistleblowing, defamation, fraud, and reductions in workforce. Her expertise extends to personal injury matters including catastrophic injury, wrongful death, toxic tort, sexual abuse, and rideshare (Uber and Lyft) cases, elder neglect and abuse, as well as landlord-tenant disputes, including wrongful eviction and breaches of habitability like mold and carbon-monoxide exposure.
Ms. Bogaards brings nearly 25 years of experience managing two insurance defense firms and 7 years as an associate, providing her with a profound understanding of how claims representatives set reserves, evaluate cases to determine value, and negotiate settlements. With 15 years of plaintiff’s work overlapping her defense practice and over six years exclusively on the plaintiff’s side, she possesses a comprehensive perspective on personal injury cases. Ms. Bogaards is adept at calculating Howell medical specials, analyzing wage loss claims, reviewing life care plans, assessing economic damages, as well as discussing expert retention and trial budgets. Her experience, including almost 40 successful jury trials, enhances her effectiveness as a mediator in personal injury matters.
Ms. Bogaards embodies warmth, compassion, and empathy, while also maintaining a straightforward, direct, and no-nonsense approach. She adeptly discusses the strengths and weaknesses of a case with attorneys or parties directly, employing a polite, respectful, and professional manner. Her extensive experience earns the respect of seasoned trial attorneys, making them attentive to her insights. With grit, perseverance, and determination, Ms. Bogaards is committed to settling your case.
As a mediator, Ms. Bogaards has earned a reputation as a quick study capable of identifying the key issues in the heart of a dispute. The “secret” to her success lies in meticulous pre-mediation preparation, including a thorough review of all case materials. During the pre-mediation conference, expect a detailed discussion of your case’s strengths and weaknesses, potentially accompanied by additional homework. In the event that the case doesn’t settle at the hearing, Ms. Bogaards offers continued phone calls and follow-up at no extra cost until a resolution is achieved.
PERSONAL INJURY: motor vehicle accidents; bicycle and motorcycle accidents; pedestrian accidents; train accidents; public entity liability; premises liability; trip and fall; traumatic brain injury (TBI); sexual abuse; dog bite; product liability; wrongful death and catastrophic injury; psychological injury.
LANDLORD/TENANT: habitability issues arising from noise, mold, vermin, heating, plumbing, roof leaks, and electrical; inadequate repairs; constructive evictions; multi-unit buildings.
EMPLOYMENT: sexual harassment; wrongful termination; retaliation; discrimination (across all protected classes); failure to accommodate.
SEXUAL ABUSE: by teachers and coaches in a school district; religious leaders in a church; peer on peer abuse in a residential home for teenage students.
ELDER NEGLECT AND ABUSE: failure to provide medication; failure to prevent bed sores leading to the death of the patient.
ADR Services, Inc. 2024-Present
Full-time mediator and arbitrator specializing in resolving Personal Injury, Landlord/Tenant, Employment, Sexual Abuse, and Elder Abuse disputes.
UC Law San Francisco’s Center for Negotiation & Dispute Resolution 2023-Present
Adjunct Faculty teaching “Negotiation and Settlement” class.
Bogaards Law 2017-2023
Solo practice on behalf of plaintiffs in personal injury, wrongful death, landlord/tenant, medical malpractice, sexual abuse, elder abuse, toxic tort and employment law.
Pave & Bogaards and Bogaards Davis 1994-2017
Managing Partner and Senior Trial Attorney handling insurance defense and plaintiffs’ work.
Associate with Various Insurance Defense Firms 1983-1993
Holman Fenwick (London) and Loeff & Van De Plufg (The Netherlands) 1982-1983
Post-J.D. law student in Salzburg, Austria as well as clerkships at two maritime firms.
“We greatly appreciated Ms. Bogaards’ optimism and enthusiasm for the mediation process. This set a very positive tone and framing for the mediation itself. We also appreciated that she was a great listener, and welcomed hearing background information and emotional content that is present in most disputes, but that is often glossed over or ignored. She also did a great job of reality-checking, gently telling us about the potential weaknesses in our case. Finally, we thought it was great that she reminded us that a successful mediation will be one where both parties are unhappy. This was a great reminder of the nature of compromise. She also reiterated the upside of settling, as opposed to taking our chances with proceeding with the litigation – helpful to remind the parties about the risks of proceeding.”
“My mediation with Ms. Bogaards went smoothly and productively. The case settled within the allotted time frame due largely in part to Ms. Bogaards’ persistence, but also her vast experience in personal injury work. It was obvious her defense and plaintiff’s background gave her credibility with both parties. All in all, it was all a very positive experience. She was prepared and knew the flash points needed to get this settled. It took time but it was due to the parties’ obstinance, which she dealt with professionally and civilly. I’ve known Ms. Bogaards over the years from having litigated with her in her role as a defense attorney. I thought this case was perfect for a Mediator with a defense background that also does plaintiff’s work, as she does. I was very impressed with her grasp of value in regards to a plaintiff’s case. She was spot on regarding the values and issues. I would not hesitate to use her again and recommend her as a Mediator to all plaintiff’s attorneys who view her strictly as a former defense attorney. She is way more than that – very efficient; there was no wasted time.”
“I recently had to mediate a complex and difficult case, where opposing counsel and I agreed to use Debra as the mediator. I found her to be extraordinarily competent, empathetic and efficient in getting my case resolved. Debra was very thorough, read through and understood all the materials, and was very well prepared. She privately met with the parties and impressed upon them the risks each of them faced by going to trial. As a result, the parties reached a compromise which was fair, and only accomplished because Debra was able to see the case from a good perspective from both the plaintiff and the defendant’s point of view.”
“What we’re looking for when selecting a mediator is someone willing to put in substantial groundwork in advance to make sure the right people will be there with all the answers necessary for success, selects a location based on the participants’ needs, perceptively reads people, never gives up, and if the matter does not resolve, follows up, follows up, and follows up until it gets done. Debra Bogaards is at the top of her game as this type of mediator, and why we trust her to help resolve our most complicated cases.”
“A month before trial, Ms. Bogaards successfully mediated a challenging personal injury case and was able to effectively bridge a vast cultural and legal divide, to broker a settlement acceptable to all.”
“Debra is a very effective mediator because she is able to understand the important issues in every case and effectively discuss them with both sides to facilitate the settlement. She doesn’t give up and keeps finding creative ways to get the mediation process going.”
“Debra is well prepared and follows up after the mediation. I will definitely use her again as a mediator. We need more mediators like her.”
“Debra combines dogged determination with a velvet touch in her mediation work. She worked hard, showed my client she knew the case and understood much of what he was going through and once she did that, her evaluative comments had credibility. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with Debra again.”
“We had a tough personal injury case with multiple parties, and two prior efforts to resolve the case with a different mediator had been unsuccessful. Debra quickly grasped the issues that had been roadblocks to resolving the case and worked tirelessly to get the job done. Her experience as both a defense attorney and a plaintiff attorney was invaluable -she could see the case play out in a courtroom from both perspectives and was able to point out the strengths and weaknesses in the case to all parties. She also has a complete understanding of indemnity, which in our case helped to secure settlement contributions from all parties. Debra Bogaards is a dedicated and effective mediator whom I highly recommend.”
“Bogaards is a skilled neutral who can quickly navigate challenging issues and find a solution. Her thorough preparation allows her to hit the ground running and quickly identify the key issues in the case. Most importantly, her tenacity and ability to bond with clients allows her to get cases resolved.”
“Our firm has had several successful mediations with Debra. She is a seasoned professional who thoroughly prepares and builds trust with the parties. Her extensive experience and strong work ethic bring results.”
“Debra’s background and experience working on both sides of the “v” make her uniquely qualified and adept at successfully mediating disputes. She understands what motivates people — the parties, the attorneys, and the insurance claims professionals. When Debra talks, decision-makers listen.”
“Our firm has had great success with Ms. Bogaards in resolving a variety of claims. It goes without saying that her impressive litigation experience allows her to hone in on the core issues of any dispute, but above all, she is tenacious. It is immediately obvious she is invested in the matters before her, and that she is genuinely focused on achieving an appropriate compromise every time. It is always a great pleasure working with Debra, and I look forward to recommending her to others and using her services again in the future.”
“Great Result Debra. We call you GRD from now on. Thank you so much for your help and hard work. That wasn’t an easy one. Kudos!”
“I appreciate not only your savvy and skill but your passion, compassion, and ability to communicate a complex reality. I like to feel like I do the best I can for my clients, and money is one kind of yardstick but it is best measured in other ways. Thank you for helping me with that in this case.”