Hon. William D. Stein (Ret.)


Justice William D. Stein has been a full time neutral with ADR Services since he retired from the California Court of Appeal in 2008.  During the twenty years he served on the Court of Appeal, Justice Stein authored over two hundred published opinions covering virtually every area of the law and served on the Judicial Council’s Appellate Rules Committee.  Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeal, Justice Stein was a trial judge in the civil division of the San Francisco Superior Court for four years and the Presiding Judge of the Appellate Department.   He frequently lectures on appellate procedure, effective brief writing and conducts moot arguments for counsel with pending appeals.  As a recognized expert on appellate practice and procedure, Justice Stein is one of the most sought after consultants on appellate cases.

During his years on the bench, Justice Stein was involved in nearly every type of civil litigation including: attorney-client fee disputes, business litigation, employment discrimination and “wage & hour” violations, environmental matters, insurance coverage and personal injury cases.  Since joining ADR Services, he has served as an appellate consultant, arbitrator, mediator and discovery referee.  Justice Stein is well known and respected in the legal community for his fairness and impartiality and has a well earned reputation for a quick grasp of complex matters and strong negotiating skills.  His experience brings to settlement even the most sensitive and complex matters.

A native San Franciscan, Justice Stein received his B.A. from San Francisco State University and his J.D. from Hastings College of the Law.  After graduation, he joined the California Attorney General’s office as an appellate specialist where he briefed and argued cases before the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court and the California Court of Appeal.  He was initial Director of the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Bureau of Investigations which investigates all work place accidents resulting in the death of an employee.

Education and Training

  • B.A. San Francisco State University, 1962
  • J.D. Hastings College of the Law, 1965, admitted to the California State Bar 1966.  Also admitted: United States District Court for the Northern District of California, United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, United States Supreme Court and United States Court of Military Appeals.
  • 2008 Completed the STAR program offered by the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University’s School of Law.

Professional Experience

Judicial Experience

  • 1988-2008 Court of Appeal – Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian
      Court of Appeal’s Building and Space Committee
      Appellate Advisory Committee of the Judicial Council
      Federal-State Judicial Council, 1990-1995
  • 1985-1988 San Francisco Superior Court, Civil/Criminal Trial Departments
      Judicial Council, Court Management and State Funding of the Trial Courts, 1987
  • 1984-1985 San Francisco Municipal Court, Civil/Criminal Trial Departments

Legal & Trial Experience

  • 1981-1984 Senior and Chief Assistant Attorney General, in charge of San Francisco office and Criminal Division
  • 1966-1981 Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Division
      Specialized in criminal appellate cases, constitutional law

Memberships and Personal Information

Justice Stein is a fourth generation native San Franciscan, educated in the City’s parochial and public schools.

Current Memberships

  • United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • University of California Alumni Association
  • San Francisco Opera Association
  • St. Francis Yacht Club
  • Olympic Club
  • Classic Yacht Association
  • Sovereign Order of St. John

Previous Memberships

  • California District Attorneys Association
  • Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association
  • Soaring Society of America
  • Jaguar Associate Group
  • United States Power Squadron
  • California Heritage Council
  • Northern California Samoyed Fanciers

Boards of Directors

  • Clay-Jones Apartments Condominium Association
  • St. Francis Yacht Club
  • San Francisco Girls Choral Association
  • “Great Hall Project” for Hastings College of the Law
  • The 1200 California CoOperative Apartments Corporation

Representative Cases

Attorney Fee Disputes

  • Consulted in an arbitration of an attorney fee dispute over $30,000,000 in statutory fees and costs arising from a series of qui tam awards in several “whistle blower” cases. Advised counsel on the preparation of their arbitration briefs and oral argument.

Attorney Malpractice

  • Consulted in an appeal from a non suit in an attorney malpractice case arising from the representation of the owner of a shopping center in a construction defects case. Advised appellate counsel on the preparation of their oral argument and conducted a moot argument.


  • Provided General Counsel with an evaluation, for use in pre-litigation negotiations, of the corporation’s potential exposure for an alleged breach of their lease of a high speed internet cable connection between New York and London.
  • Provided the Board of Directors of a foreign corporation with an evaluation of their appeal from a $500,000,000 judgment for intentionally interfering with a contract between two other corporations. Advised appellate counsel on the preparation of their oral argument.
  • Consulted on an appeal from a JNOV in a commercial contract dispute nullifying a jury verdict in the amount of $17,350,000. Advised appellate counsel on the preparation of their oral argument and conducted a moot argument.


  • Appointed by the trial courts in several cases as the Discovery Referee for all purposes. Acted as the hearing officer at depositions, oversaw the production of documents, ruled on requests for sanctions and reviewed E-Discovery materials for claims of privilege.


  • Conducted multiple arbitrations of employees’ claims for violations of “wage & hour” rules after their lawsuit was not certified as a class action.
  • Mediated a dispute for failure to pay prevailing wages for work performed under a public works contract.
  • Arbitrated wrongful termination claims based on discrimination and a hostile work environment.


  • Consulted on the briefs and conducted a moot argument in a FINRA arbitration of an investor’s claim that her account was churned by the broker to increase his fees which caused the client losses in excess of $4,000,000.
  • Mediated claims between an investment banker and his former employer over the repayment of a bonus that was subject to a “claw back” provision requiring his continued employment with the firm.

Landlord / Tenant

  • Mediated the eviction of a long-term tenant from a rent controlled building for operating a medical marijuana exchange in his apartment.

Personal Injury

  • Arbitrated the award of damages for plaintiffs whose injuries included Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Paraplegia.

Mass Tort

  • Mediated the claims against a tour bus operator brought by over forty passengers who were injured when their bus rolled over after the driver fell asleep. Injuries included death, paraplegia and spinal cord injuries. Plaintiffs’ potential claims exceeded $52,000,000. A “good faith settlement” for the proceeds of the tour bus operator’s insurance was obtained which encouraged generous settlements from other defendants who had only minimal liability exposure.

Medical Malpractice

  • Arbitrated a medical malpractice claim under Kaiser Permanente’s neutral arbitration system that involved the treatment of a brain tumor.

Real Estate

  • Arbitrated a dispute over realtors’ commission under an exclusive representation agreement to negotiate the lease of a new location for their client’s business.
  • Mediated a claim that the seller of an apartment building failed to disclose to the purchasers problems with a disruptive tenant.

Tenants in Common

  • Arbitrated disputes between the tenants in common under an agreement drafted by attorney Andrew Sirkin, Esq.

Articles / Publications