Judge Kolker graduated with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law, where he served as Editor of the Iowa Law Review. His over 40 years in the legal profession includes service as a Municipal Court Judge, Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court, and District Associate Judge (Iowa), founding Chairman of the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board, Assistant United States Attorney (Civil Division, San Diego) where he received the Director’s Award For Outstanding Performance in complex litigation, and significant experience as a civil litigation attorney in private practice, including partnership in a major San Diego litigation law firm. Judge Kolker has served as Adjunct Professor of Law for National University College of Law, and as a judge pro tem for San Diego County Municipal and Superior Courts.
Judge Kolker has mediated and arbitrated in the private sector full-time for more than 18 years, following a decade of ADR experience in both the public and private arenas. For four of those years, Judge Kolker served as Chairman of the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board, a quasi-judicial agency responsible for mediation, fact-finding and arbitration, covering 450 school districts, 99 counties, numerous municipalities, and the state’s major universities, amongst others. He added mediation and arbitration as an adjunct to his private practice in 1989, and closed his private practice to practice ADR full-time in 1995.
Judge Kolker has mediated and arbitrated hundreds of disputes, with an emphasis on employment, business, estates and trusts, professional liability, negligence and real estate matters, including homeowners’ association disputes. Judge Kolker also facilitates negotiations between parties on contractual matters, business dissolutions, and intra-company personnel, compensation and policy disputes.
Judge Kolker has participated in over 600 hours of formal mediation training, including Negotiation and Mediation Workshops at Harvard Law School and the Straus Institute at Pepperdine University. He has trained more than 200 mediators in conjunction with the Academy of Dispute Resolution. In addition, Judge Kolker has served on numerous mediation panels, the Superior Court of San Diego County, the San Diego Association of Realtors, and also served on the select panel of arbitrators under the National Dalkon Shield Litigation Trust Program.
A Fellow in the International Academy of Mediators, Judge Kolker conducted mediation workshops for the High Court Justices of India under sponsorship of the United States State Department and a private foundation. He is a former director of the Southern California Mediation Association, the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (now Association of Conflict Resolution), and is active in local, state and national ADR organizations.