Eric Ivary
  • Of Counsel


Oakland, CA





Experience has taught me to do what works and not get too caught up in theory or the academic side of mediation. My goal is to get the case in a position where the parties can see a clear path to settlement.

My approach varies because no two cases are alike. For example, an employment case can be very sensitive to the parties involved as can a police misconduct case or a medical malpractice case. Probably the best way to describe my approach to mediation is to be sure that the parties are dealing with their REAL case, not the one they wish they had. This often involves asking both sides questions, sometimes uncomfortable ones. (The tough questions are asked in separate sessions).

When parties request I will become very active in their negotiations. For a full explanation of my mediation style and philosophy, please download an article I wrote for the SFTLA magazine. It can be found at the ADR website ( Although originally written as a practical guide for the plaintiff’s bar, it also tells the defense how I approach mediation.

My assumption in mediation is that the parties are there to get their case settled, not just have a discussion or use the process as a discovery vehicle. I view the process as a “time out” from the litigation and an opportunity to identify the REAL case.

I work with little formality. As long as the attorneys agree, anyone can speak, not just the lawyers. I insist on civility but I am very sensitive to what the parties themselves want the process to be.

I discourage “opening statements” and oral arguments. My theory is that the briefs should adequately cover the parties’ legal positions and opening statements and arguments only reinforce entrenched positions and don’t help settle cases.

In my opinion, mediation should not resemble what we experience in court. Trial is always an option if you don’t settle your case. I don’t try to tell the defense about the “cost of defense” or tell the plaintiffs that they “might lose their case”.

Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury / Products Liability
  • Employment (wrongful termination, retaliation, age & gender discrimination)
  • Public Entity Liability, including school districts
  • Civil rights, discrimination of all types, police misconduct
  • Insurance, including arbitration of UM/UIM cases
  • ERISA, both disability claims and employer contribution liability

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1972

Published Works

  • Mediating with the Difficult Plaintiff
  • Medical Malpractice Jury Instructions
  • Punitive Damages in Employment Cases

Honors and Awards

  • Alameda County Lawyers' Club, Lawyer of the Year
  • Nominated, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Trial Lawyer of the Year
  • Judge Pro Tem
  • Bench-Bar Moderator
  • Selected as Evaluator by the CEB Trial Advocacy
  • State Bar Commendation for Outstanding Contributions to Pro Bono and Voluntary Legal

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Alameda County Bar Association, Member
  • State Bar of California, Member
  • Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association, Member, Board of Governors, 1975 to 1990
  • Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association, President, 1990 to 1990
  • Alameda-Contra Costa County Trial Lawyers Association, Editor, The Verdict, 1986 to 1986
  • The Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Member
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member
  • Alameda County Lawyers Club, Member
  • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Member
  • The American Inns of Court Alameda County Chapter, Member
  • The Alameda County Bar Foundation, Board of Directors, 1996 to 1996
  • Consumer Attorneys of California, Board of Governors, 1999 to 2000
  • Served 12 years on the Northern District panel for ADA cases involving disability access, architectural barriers for all types of commercial establishments, including nationwide corporate policy for institutions such as hospitals, and also cases involving service animal access and related issues.
  • Mediator for the United States District Court ADR Program in the fields of Employment, Federal civil rights, Medical Malpractice, ERISA, ADA, Maritime and Federal Tort
  • Panelist for all the Alameda County Settlement Programs (since 1985)
  • Panelist for the Contra Costa County Courts programs (since 1991)
  • Panelist for San Mateo County Courts MAP Program (since 2008)
  • Panelist for Santa Clara County Court
  • Invited Panelist and Speaker to Employer Groups and Panelist for Employment Law


  • Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, California
    • J.D. - 1971
  • St. Mary's College of California, Moraga, California
    • B.A. - 1968
  • Initial training through San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda County court sponsored ADR Programs (MAP, EASE, SMART and TOT programs)
  • 40 Hour Intensive Mediation Training course taught by Nancy Yeend (2001)
  • 20 Hour US District Court training program
  • Multiple CLE programs on a variety of topics, as well as regular updates on specific mediation issues on interest (including confidentiality, changes in the law,)


  • Phi Alpha Delta