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November 16, 2012
Irvine, Calif. – Hon. H. Warren Knight (Ret.), the Orange County judge who founded JAMS, the largest private provider of mediation and arbitration services worldwide, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 15, due to complications from lung disease. He was 83 years old.
Judge Knight founded JAMS, The Resolution Experts more than 30 years ago. From its modest beginnings in Santa Ana, Calif. in 1979, JAMS has grown to 26 offices in the United States, London and Toronto, with affiliates in Italy, The Netherlands and Ireland. His distinguished judicial career included six years of service with the Orange County Superior Court and two years with the Orange County Municipal Court. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was in private practice with Portigal & Knight in Orange County for 12 years.
“Judge Knight changed the legal culture forever when he founded what is now JAMS, The Resolution Experts,” said Chris Poole, JAMS president and CEO. “He was an inspiring and warm person and almost like a father figure to so many of the JAMS panelists and associates. We’re so fortunate to be a part of his legacy.”
“Judge Knight was a visionary,” said Hon. Jack K. Trotter (Ret.). “He saw a better way for lawyers to do business and he never stopped believing it. More importantly, he was my friend for 50 years and I will miss him greatly.”
Judge Knight was most proud of creating the JAMS Foundation, the largest provider of grants to nonprofits in the dispute resolution field, and the JAMS Society, in which JAMS associates perform thousands of hours of pro bono activity each year for numerous causes. He was the recipient of many awards, including the D’Alemberte-Raven Award from the ABA, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American College of Civil Trial Mediators and the Founders Award from the Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel.
Judge Knight was born in Charleston, West Virginia on October 16, 1929. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1952 and University of Virginia School of Law in 1955. He joined the Marine Corps in 1955 and was stationed in California until his discharge four years later.
Judge Knight is survived by his wife, Carolyn, five children and eight grandchildren.
About JAMS, The Resolution Experts
Founded in 1979, JAMS, The Resolution Experts is the largest private provider of mediation and arbitration services worldwide. With Resolution Centers nationwide and abroad, JAMS and its more than 300 exclusive neutrals are responsible for resolving thousands of the world’s important cases. JAMS may be reached at 800-352-5267 or www.jamsadr.com.
I always had the highest regard for Judge Knight. As a young lawyer, I had the privilege of appearing before Judge Knight. I was surprised that he remembered me when he left the bench and started JAMS. I was impressed that he immediately took my call to learn more about private judging as it was called then. I was an early user. Judge Knight inspired me to volunteer as a fee arbitrator as soon as I became eligible. That led to stints as a judge pro tem and ultimately to becoming a mediator. John