About

Many know “the law”; Bob knows how things really work, and the conflicting pressures and interests that drive decisions. Bob’s experience brings an understanding that enables him to resolve disputes. For many years, he has brought people together to resolve their issues.

Bob has facilitated resolution of conflicts as a mediator, a partner with major law firms, a senior HR consultant, in-house counsel and counsel to a Congressional committee. He has mediated diverse, complex cases including employment, employee benefits, disability, business contracts, technology, real property rights, public land use, real estate, and construction.

In all cases, the key has been to clearly understand the parties’ real interests and with that understanding help them find basic common ground. Often more than money is involved. Different views on reputations, financial and other future interests, status, jobs, family and health can drive decisions. And, of course, important principles can be at stake.

A critical part of Bob’s work is to listen carefully and dig out the real dispute and the parties’ base line goals. Then he can help the parties understand the options, find common ground and help them move toward resolving their issues in a practical way.

Bob believes that people can resolve disputes with a mediator who understands the real world that people must deal with, hears what is not said as well as what is said, and with that knowledge help the parties develop practical solutions. This is what he has done for decades in his different practice experiences.

Bob also has substantial experience mediating “remotely” with electronic means, even before the COVID-19 lockdown. As more lawyers and clients become familiar with this process, they will continue to use it for mediating their disputes. That’s a good development – time and expense will be saved and some disputes can be resolved faster. Yet there are some important questions, especially about privacy and security. Bob will work with you to ensure that you are comfortable with the process before mediation begins.

Bob’s Practice

Bob has helped stakeholders resolve their disputes for over 40 years. Bob’s success in mediation is built on his work as a mediator, lawyer, senior HR consultant, Deputy General Counsel for a large corporation and Legislation Counsel for the Joint Committee on Taxation, U.S. Congress.

Bob has mediated complex litigation including employment, employee benefits, disability, business contracts, technology, real property rights, public land use, real estate, and construction. He also assists the courts as a member of pro bono mediation panels for the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California, the California Courts of Appeal for the Third and Sixth Districts, and the Superior Courts for Marin and Sacramento Counties.

He was a key Congressional staffer writing ERISA and developed an employee compensation and benefits law practice. His practice has dealt with multiple complex issues involving contracts, employees, employers, unions and collective bargaining, joint labor-management boards, and the significant amounts of money that are held in trust to pay for benefits. His clients have included publicly held and private corporations, the University of California, Stanford University, CalPERS, the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust Fund (the country’s largest Taft-Hartley fund), the State of California, and many California counties and cities. He has co-led successful class action litigation that involved hundreds of millions of dollars.

Beyond the law, Bob problem solved as an HR consultant and led teams that helped hospitals and physicians to negotiate revisions of their administrative and clinical procedures to achieve significantly better patient health outcomes and service at lower cost.

While working for the Joint Committee on Taxation, U.S. Congress, he was part of teams that negotiated and wrote legislation that bettered the lives of millions of Americans. In the Congress, life was all about resolving conflicting interests.

Employment History

2019 – present, Counsel, The Permanente Federation (The Federation is the national leadership and consulting organization for the eight Permanente Medical Groups that provide medical care to Kaiser Permanente members nationwide.) 2013-2019, Deputy General Counsel, Benefits, The Permanente Medical Group, Inc. (“TPMG”). TPMG provides all medical care to more than 4 million Kaiser-Permanente members in Northern California. TPMG employs over 40,000 people with over 8,000 physicians, 6,000 non-union employees and 25,000 union employees. Both the Federation and TPMG are separate and independent from Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.

Previously, partner in Hanson Bridgett (2001-2013); senior HR consultant for Mercer, an international human resource consulting firm (1992-2001) and partner in Orrick, Herrington and McCutchen, Doyle (1976-1992) and Groom & Nordberg (Washington, DC, 1975).

Government Experience

Bob was Legislation Counsel to the Congressional Joint Tax Committee and was part of the team that wrote ERISA and other major legislation. He was part of the team that audited President Nixon’s tax returns and led the investigation of the use of the IRS for political purposes.

Career Achievements

Bob has been recognized as a Northern California “Super Lawyer” for many years and is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a nationally recognized author and speaker and has provided over 60 hours of CLE training for ALI-ABA.

Recent Publications

Bob contributes articles on mediation for the Daily Journal. Recent articles include:

Bar Admissions

California, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, U.S. Tax Court

Education

University of California, Berkeley (BA, MA, JD)

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