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Dana L. Curtis
Dana L. Curtis

Senior Mediator

Senior MediatorThis mediator has at least 100 hours of mediation training, 500 hours of mediation experience, agrees to take part in at least 12 hours per year of continuing mediation education, and subscribes to's required standards of mediation practice.Premium Member

Dana L. Curtis

Since 1991, Dana Curtis has devoted her career as a lawyer to helping  parties resolve their disputes efficiently, effectively, and  respectfully in mediation. She believes the quality of resolution reached in mediation, and of the mediation process, is as important to the parties as the fact of resolution. Dana’s experience includes:

  • Full time mediator since 1991, including four years as Circuit Mediator for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Wide-ranging subject matter expertise and experience helping parties to resolve thousands of conflicts
  • Exceptional skill with difficult people and highly emotional situations
  • Extensive  experience in mediation of a broad range of disputes, including  business/commercial, employment, partnership, elder (adult family  decisions and elder abuse, trusts, estates and probate) and personal  injury
  • Recognized by the Daily Journal as a Top-50 Neutral in California

ADR Experience

Ms. Curtis is also a respected mediation teacher. She has facilitated hundreds of programs for law schools, businesses, court panels, private groups, bar associations and professional conferences throughout the United States and internationally, including in Switzerland, India, and Austria, where she served as faculty for the bi-annual Summer School for Business Mediation from 2010-2016. Ms. Curtis designed and co-taught appellate mediation trainings for California Courts of Appeal, in the First, Second, Third, and Sixth Appellate Districts and for appellate courts in Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, Minnesota, and Washington, DC.
Ms. Curtis’ teaching and mediation practice is informed by her strong academic experience, including as lecturer at Stanford Law School, where she taught Mediation and Negotiation Seminars for 10 years; as adjunct faculty at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she taught mediation between 1998 and 1997. From 2017 to 2020, she returned to Santa Clara to direct the Conflict Resolution Program and teach mediation. She served on the faculty of Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation’s Mediating Disputes 5-day course from 2013-2023.

Ms. Curtis’ is also the instructor for Universities online course Mediating with Adult Families.


Ms. Curtis approaches each case individually, tailoring the mediation approach to the needs of the parties. She confers with counsel, or parties if they are not represented, in advance of the mediation to learn about the dispute and develop a plan for the mediation. She prefers to conduct the mediation in joint session as long as it is productive to do so, especially if the parties have had a previous relationship and they believe it would be valuable to them to repair their relationship. She is adept at helping the parties communicate constructively and preparing them to do so in advance of mediation. She believes the mediation process should provide parties information to help them analyze the likely outcome if they do not resolve their dispute and assist them to analyze whether the options immediately available in mediation are better for them than walking away without an agreement.


B.A., English, University of Montana, Missoula

M.A., English, University of Idaho, Moscow

J.D., University of Santa Clara School of Law, Santa Clara, CA

Areas Of Practice

  • Adult Family
  • Boundary Disputes
  • Business
  • Elder
  • Employment
  • Estate Planning
  • General
  • HOA
  • Neighbor to Neighbor
  • Partnership
  • Personal Injury
  • Probate
  • Products Liability
  • Trust Management
  • Workplace

Additional Services

  • Advanced Mediation Trainer
  • Communication Skills Trainer
  • Conflict Coach
  • Facilitator
  • Mediation Consultant
  • Mediation Trainer
  • Systems Designer



Fees and Provisos

$650 per hour

Liability Insurance

  • Yes

ADR Training

  • Since before she became a full-time mediator in 1991, Ms. Curtis has been a participant in hundreds of training programs.
  • Since 1988, she has taught hundreds of partiecipant in mediation training programs, internationally and throughout the US.


  • Top 50 California Neutral
  • Mediation Society of San Francisco's Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Mediation

Professional Associations

  • Board Member, Foundation for the Sustainable Rule of Law Initiatives, 2015-present (NGO supporting development of mediation in developing countries)
  • California Dispute Resolution Council, 2011-present (also served as Vice President and member of the Board of Directors)
  • Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, 2006-present (Diplomate Member)
  • Member, State Bar ADR Committee, 2005-2008
  • Co-chair, Bar Association of San Francisco Mediation Committee, 1997 - 2005
  • Board of Directors, California Dispute Resolution Institute, 2002 - 2003
  • Member: mediation panelist for the US District Court for the Northern District of California; California Courts of Appeal, Second, Third, and Sixth Appellate Districts; Superior Courts of Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Mateo Counties
  • Founder, Director ,and Secretary of RockRose Institute (supporting conflict resolution through dialogue and collaboration)

Publications & Presentations

  • “Working with Loss and Grief in Elder and Adult Family Mediation,” ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine, May 2021
  • Appellate Mediation: A Guidebook for Lawyers and Mediators, with Brendon Ishikawa, ABA Publishing, 2016
  • California Arbitration and Mediation Practice Guide – Court-connected ADR, by John Toker, Supplement Editor 2010-2021
  • Litigator’s Guide to Representing Clients in ADR, CEB, co-author of two mediation chapters
  • “The Power of Forgiveness,” California Lawyer, December 2000
  • “The Role of Empathy in Reconciliation,” chapter in ADR Personalities and Practice Tips, ABA Publishing 1998