From Trial Lawyer to Mediator
The most effective mediators of civil disputes tend to be those with extensive civil jury trial experience. After nearly 40 years of accomplished civil jury trial practice, I have “been there, done that” and as a result bring to the mediation process a direct, pragmatic, and real-world approach.
I began practice with Baker, Manock & Jensen of Fresno in 1980, one of the largest full-service firms in the Valley, and soon gravitated toward defending medical malpractice cases and employment/wrongful termination litigation. I became a partner in 1985 and headed the firm’s professional liability defense practice group from 1996-2007. In 2007, three partners and I left to form our own boutique firm, Weiss, Martin, Salinas & Hearst, primarily focusing on professional liability defense and Medical Board matters. The firm morphed into Weiss-Salinas Law Group and remained as such until the end of 2018, when I retired from active trial practice and moved to the Central Coast.
Though based in Fresno, I tried cases in Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings, Kern, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles counties, and in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California. In 1995, I was invited to join American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) in recognition of my extensive jury trial experience and reputation for integrity and civility. I participated in leadership of the San Joaquin Valley chapter from 2014-2019, serving as chapter president in 2018. After moving to the Central Coast, I transferred to the California Coast chapter.
I served as President of the Fresno County Bar Association in 2009, and President of the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada in 2011.
I was honored in 2007 to be inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the premiere trial lawyer association in America. Membership is by invitation only and limited to the top one percent of trial lawyers in each state.
Along the way, I was named 14 times a Northern California Super Lawyer for professional liability defense. Since moving to the Central Coast in 2019 and changing my focus to mediation, I was named a Southern California Super Lawyer for alternative dispute resolution in three consecutive years, 2021, 2022, and 2023.
In 2016, I was awarded America’s Top 100 – Lifetime Achievement recognition for Northern California. I hold a Martindale A-V Preeminent rating, the highest designation for legal ability and ethical standards.
I was a 1980 graduate of U.C. Davis – King Hall School of Law. My undergraduate degree in Business Administration, with emphasis in economics and second major in American Studies, was earned at Cal State Fullerton, where I graduated with honors in 1977.
I took formal mediation training in 2001 at Dispute Settlement Center of Central California and San Joaquin College of Law, and in 2015 at Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.
When not doing private mediations, I conduct civil settlement conferences as a volunteer for the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court and regularly provide free legal services to elderly and low-income members of our community at San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation (SLOLAF).
Away from the law, I enjoy traveling (especially road trips around the U.S.) with my wife Lauri, being a grandfather, gardening, playing ukulele and exploring the beauty and wonders of the Central Coast.
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