John Edwards, Esq.

John Edwards

Contact John’s Case Manager: Smhale Leon
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John Edwards is a nationally recognized speaker and mediation trainer. An AV-rated trial lawyer for many years, John became a full-time neutral in 2014 and mediates cases throughout Southern California.

During John’s mediation training at Harvard Law School, he was introduced to interest-based negotiating as articulated in “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher and William Ury. Subsequently, he trained under Bill Eddy of the High Conflict Institute and now frequently lectures at seminars and law schools on effective negotiation strategies with high conflict personalities.

John has a deep and enduring interest in the empirical study of decision making and bargaining as found in the work of Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, whose groundbreaking work with Amos Tversky taught us about cognitive bias, anchoring, bargaining, and undid our assumptions about the decision-making process. Their papers showed how the human mind makes systematic errors when making decisions in uncertain situations. A mediator who understands this may be able to provide invaluable assistance in helping decision makers in our very uncertain world, without being coercive or judgmental in the process.

John is often engaged to mediate challenging matters in which the legal issues are not driving the dispute, but the personalities are the issue. Lawyers are often frustrated because their analytical and persuasive legal skills are often ineffective with high conflict people. John’s years of training and experience have helped him achieve successful results when legal analysis and vigorous advocacy have failed to achieve settlement. John believes it is most important to treat everyone, even the most difficult person, with empathy, attention and respect. John practices polite persistence without coercion and is committed to follow through when cases do not settle at the first session.

John is proficient in conducting mediations using Zoom and other virtual platforms.


  • Half day – $2,500 flat rate: includes 1 hour of preparation (including brief review and pre-mediation Zoom test session) and 4 hours of mediation time; $500 per hour thereafter, in 1/2 hour increments.
  • Full day – $5,000 flat rate: includes 2 hours of preparation (including brief review and pre-mediation Zoom test session) and 8 hours of mediation time; $500 per hour thereafter, in 1/2 hour increments.
  • $300 non-refundable administrative fee per party


  • University of California, Hastings College of Advocacy
  • University of San Diego, Law School, J.D.
  • San Diego State University, B.A., Psychology
  • Harvard Law School Mediation Workshop, 2001
  • Civil Mediation Training, Academy of Dispute Resolution, 1998
  • State Bar of California Mediation Skills Training, 1997
  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. District Court: Southern District (1977), Central District (2001)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1980)
  • California Real Estate Broker (2004)
  • Association for Conflict Resolution, Practitioner
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Adjunct Faculty, Pepperdine University, Strauss Institute of Dispute Resolution
  • Faculty Member, High Conflict Institute


  • Real Estate
  • Business
  • Personal Injury (Soft Tissue to Catastrophic Injury, and Wrongful Death)
  • Professional Liability
  •  Employment Law
  •  Homeowners Association


  • Top Lawyers, San Diego Magazine (2013 to present)
  • Martindale-Hubbell “AV” rated


“Thank you for your great work on this one. The clients and I sincerely appreciated your efforts in this. I know it was not easy. Also, the Zoom mediation went great– I may never attend a mediation in person again!”
— Ian R. Friedman, Partner, Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Juskie LLP

“Thank you so much for mediating our case. You and your techniques and abilities settled this case. I doubt any other mediator could have done so… What I watched you accomplish is something I have never seen, never had a mediation approached in this way, even from those who claim to work with personalities. With your talents and personality, I would be surprised if you ever have an open slot in your mediation schedule.”

“That was an incredibly successful mediation! What happened yesterday is the classic example of the power of facilitative mediation. We came prepared to trust completely in John. John is thegreatest. He has outstanding intuition and a wonderful way with people. He is perfectly suited to the mediation mode and I am in awe.”

“Dave and I want to thank you for making a difficult situation so much easier for us. Your guidance helped to make me feel so much more comfortable and composed. We can see that you are truly a good person who is very good at what he does.”

“This is a long overdue letter to thank you for your yeoman efforts in resolving this matter…. I feel confident that this particular mediation will occupy its own special place in your pantheon of war stories. I need to voice, however, my strong belief that without your participation, this case would likely be heading to trial. On behalf of my clients, let me thank you for your
dedication to achieving a fair result, and your demeanor in handling at least one distraught party. While this is the first time that you and I have worked together, I sincerely hope that it will not be the last.”

“I again wanted to thank you for putting this settlement together. As I told you when we spoke over the phone, your approach was exactly what was needed to bring the parties together, and without any animosity between them. Truly masterful!!!”
–Mark C. Mazzarella, Esq.


Surfing, biking, hiking and spending time with family.

Ready To Get Started?

To schedule a mediation please contact Case Manager Smhale Leon