Harold P. (Peter) Smith, Esq. is an accomplished mediator, arbitrator, and referee with broad experience resolving disputes in the areas of business, construction, real estate, land use, employment terminations, and corporate governance.
Prior to joining ADR Services, Inc., Mr. Smith had an accomplished 35-year career as a litigator and trial lawyer. He began his career as Deputy District Attorney for the County of Alameda, where he tried more than 20 jury trials to verdict and well over 500 preliminary hearings and court trials on a wide variety of criminal matters. After three years, he joined a litigation firm and worked as a trial lawyer handling a wide range of civil litigation matters, with particular emphasis in the fields of business, corporate and shareholder disputes, facilities development and land use, construction, real estate, C-level employment terminations, and health care. He has handled numerous jury trials and complex commercial arbitrations in a wide variety of matters.
Mr. Smith has been awarded the prestigious designation of Northern California Super Lawyer in business litigation by Thomson/West Publishing, an accolade reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the jurisdiction.
In addition to his broad experience as a litigator, Mr. Smith brings a unique perspective as a neutral, having served as a leader in various community development organizations, including five years on the Oakland Planning Commission. As Chair of the commission for two terms, he was responsible for making decisions on development proposals and providing policy recommendations to the City Council. During this time, it was paramount that he demonstrated his ability to understand all sides of a particular issue and hear all points of view, while also identifying the key issues within a dispute. As a mediator, arbitrator, and referee, Mr. Smith draws upon the same skills to successfully resolve disputes, including thoroughly understanding all sides, actively listening to the parties, making well-reasoned proposals and decisions, and articulating the rationale behind a decision.
Mr. Smith has served as a faculty member for the Stanford Law School Advocacy Skills Workshop and as a panelist and commentator on transit-oriented development, green technology, planning, and economic development issues.
Mr. Smith received his A.B. in Economics from Harvard University in 1982, and his J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1986. He is a member of the State Bar of California, The Mediation Society, the United States District Court Mediation Panel for the Northern District of California, and the Mediation Panel for the California Association of Realtors. He is admitted to practice before all trial and appellate courts in the State of California and the United States District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Eastern Federal Districts of California.