AMC provides a single, comprehensive source for mediation, arbitration, and other conflict resolution services.
The Arbitration and Mediation Center has been in operation since 1993. Co-founded by the present Director, Robert A. Murray, AMC was one of the first providers of alternative dispute resolution services in Sonoma County serving the North Bay Area. AMC was formed to meet the alternative dispute resolution needs of individuals, businesses and governmental agencies of Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Lake, Mendicino, Solano and Humboldt Counties.
Individuals and businesses frustrated over the high cost and time consuming nature of traditional litigation are increasingly turning to arbitration and mediation to resolve civil disputes. The Courts recognize that arbitration and mediation are often more appropriate forums for dispute resolution that the courtroom. We offer experienced, practicing attorneys as professional neutrals with a wide range of expertise in various legal matters. AMC panelists have successfully mediated cases involving a variety of subject matter, from personal injury, product liability, insurance, employment, and legal, medical malpractice actions to contract matters, construction, real estate, land use, business disputes, partnership dissolutions and probate.
Robert A. Murray
Robert A. Murray has been a practicing attorney for 33 years and a mediator in the North Bay Area counties since 1992. His law practice specialized in general civil litigation including negligence actions, insurance law, real estate litigation, personal injury, products liability and the defense of a variety of legal malpractice actions.
Mr. Murray is a co-founder and Director of the Arbitration and Mediation Center in Santa Rosa, which started in 1992. After attending the University of California at Berkeley, he graduated from California State University at Chico with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Cum Laude, in 1970. He graduated from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, in 1976. At McGeorge, he was a member of the Dean's Honor List and a lifetime member of the Roger Traynor Scholastic Society.
He was admitted to the California State Bar in 1976. Upon graduation from law school, he practiced for two years with prominent Bay Area law firms. From 1979 to 1995, Mr. Murray was a partner in the Santa Rosa litigation firm of Boyd, Murray & Wick. From 1995 to 1999 he operated The Law Offices of Robert A. Murray in Santa Rosa. In January 1999 Mr. Murray merged his litigation and mediation practice into the then newly formed firm of Perry, Johnson, Murray, Anderson & Miller in Santa Rosa.
In 2002, he expanded the Arbitration and Mediation Center and focused his practice exclusively on mediation and other ADR services. He is a member of the Sonoma County Bar Association ADR section Steering Committee (Chair 2002), the Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California, a chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution, and was on the Board of Directors of Sonoma County Legal Aid Society (1998 - 2003).
He participated on the education committee of the Collaborative Council of The Redwood Empire, a newly formed group exploring collaborative practice in civil disputes. Mr. Murray was a professor of Professional Responsibility at the Empire College, School of Law, in Santa Rosa, 1979 - 1989 and 2006 - 2008. He has received advanced mediation training at Gary Friedman's Center For Mediation in Law, advanced training through the Northern California Mediation Association and the First District Court of Appeal.
He is on the ADR Panels of Sonoma, Marin and Solano counties. He serves as a neutral arbitrator in the Kaiser Permanente Program and as a hearing officer in disability retirement matters through the Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association and the City of Vacaville Mobile Home Rent Program.
He has successfully mediated over 2,300 civil litigation matters, including simple and complex personal injury cases, construction accidents, business litigation, construction defect, employment, sexual harassment, real estate, trust and estate cases and medical and legal malpractice claims. He has served as a discovery referee and Special Master in various litigation involving personal injury, partnership dissolution, construction defect and employment matters. He is available for arbitrations, mediations, neutral evaluations, special master and discovery referee assignments.
"The mediation process provides the parties a unique opportunity to be directly involved in the decision making and to fashion an acceptable resolution with the assistance of a knowledgeable and capable facilitator and thereby avoid the costs and uncertainty of litigation."
- Robert A. Murray
William D. Anderson
William D. Anderson completed his undergraduate work at the University of California at Berkeley, obtaining a B.S. degree with honors in 1969. He attended and graduated from Hastings College of Law, University of California in 1972.
He was a Member of Moot Court and won an award for the best written brief. He has served as a panelist for the American Arbitration Association. He has served as Judge Pro Tem, Sonoma County Superior Court since 1990 and as a Sonoma County Superior Court Arbitrator since 1989. He is a member of the Sonoma County Bar Association and the State Bar of California. He is a member of the Redwood Empire Trial Lawyers Association and served as its President in 1987. He is a member of the Northern California Association of Defense Counsel and the American Board of Trial Advocates.
"Mediation is successful because the parties actively participate in the process, have the opportunity to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of their case and, ultimately, to decide their fate with regard to litigation."
- William D. Anderson
Karin P. Beam
Karin P. Beam received her J.D. with distinction from McGeorge School of Law in 1983. There, she was elected to the Order of the Coif and the Traynor Honor Society, wrote for the Law Review, and edited the legal newspaper.
For more than twenty years, Karin Beam has represented and advised business clients and governmental entities in transaction work, litigation, and at trial, handling wrongful termination, sexual harassment and other employment matters, medical malpractice, real property, real estate, and construction disputes, civil rights claims, personal injury, and complex commercial, trade secret and business cases.
For many years, Karin has also served Sonoma County as a Small Claims Judge, Superior Court Settlement Conference panelist, and arbitrator. An extensively trained mediator, she has worked as a Hearing Officer for the Sonoma County Board of Realtors, instructed in the law at Sonoma State University, and lectured and presented seminars for lawyers and Northern California business groups alike. Karin brings to the table an ability to quickly discern the central issues underlying a dispute, whether factual, legal, or psychological. Her practical approach to problems and intuitive people skills have combined to help others achieve resolution in the many ADR matters she has handled. Her success rate as a mediator is almost perfect.
"It has been said that the highest calling of a lawyer is to enable the resolution of a dispute without the risk, expense and trauma of trial. Alternative Dispute Resolution offers practical methods of achieving that noble goal."
- Karin P. Beam
Fred L. Hirschfield
Frederic L. Hirschfield completed his undergraduate work at ColgateUniversity, obtaining a B.A. Degree in 1957. He thereafter served three years in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1965, he entered Golden Gate Law School at night, completing his studies in 3½ years, and was admitted to the California State Bar in January, 1969. Mr. Hirschfield began practicing in the insurance defense field in San Francisco and thereafter practiced plaintiff's personal injury with a San Francisco labor law firm.
In 1973, he associated with a general practice firm in Petaluma, California, where he specialized in personal injury trial practice. Mr. Hirschfield was an instructor at Empire Law School for two years and has continued to chair seminars in personal injury. From 1984 to 1998 he practiced in Petaluma in the firm of Hirschfield & Nadler, prior to Judge Gary Nadler being appointed to the Somona County Bench in 2002.
Presently he is of Counsel to the firm of Baddeley Oliker & Sartori, in Petaluma, California. Mr. Hirschfield has tried to verdict personal injury cases in Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt, Del Norte, San Francisco, Marin, Alameda and Contra Costa counties and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mr. Hirschfield has served as Judge Pro Tem, Arbitrator, Discovery Referee and settlement panelist for the Sonoma County Superior Court. He has mediated over 1,200 cases in the last ten years with high resolution rate. Areas of Expertise: Personal injury, Product liability, Third Party Construction Accidents, Professional Malpractice, Habitability and Landlord/Tenant matters.
"When the parties and mediator are able to set aside the traditional techniques specifically designed to persuade a jury, mediation is the most effective way to minimize the risk, costs and the emotional demand normally associated with trial."
- Frederic L. Hirschfield
Phil H. Kelly
Philip H. Kelly is a 1969 graduate of the University of San Francisco, and of its School of Law in 1975. Mr. Kelly became associated with Senneff Kelly PC from 1979 until 2000, when he formed his current litigation and mediation practice.
Mr. Kelly is an elected associate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a member of the Sonoma County Bar Association, the State Bar of California, the American Trial Lawyers Association, the California Trial Lawyers Association and the Association of Defense Counsel.
He is a past President of the Redwood Empire Trial Lawyers Association, and a past President of the Sonoma County Legal Aid Foundation. Mr. Kelly is a past elected member and two-term President of the Bennett Valley Board of Trustees for Bennett Valley Union School District and currently sits as a Board of Director and is a past-President of the Schools Plus Educational Enrichment Foundation.
Philip Kelly is a Judge Pro Tem for Superior Court in Sonoma County and regularly serves as a discovery referee and arbitrator appointed by the Court. Mr. Kelly additionally serves as a neutral for the U.S. District Court. He is a trained professional mediator and a member of the Arbitration and Mediation Center, which provides services to litigants in Northern California, and a member of the Association of Conflict Resolution and Northern California Mediation Association. Areas of expertise include: Employment disputes; Personal injury claims; Bad faith claims; Construction defect claims; Real estate disputes and Partnership disputes.
"Mediation is a win-win proposition. When you combine motivated parties with a skilled and trained mediator, success is virtually assured."
- Philip H. Kelly
Leslie R. Perry
Leslie R. Perry completed his undergraduate work at the University of California, Davis, obtaining a B.A. Degree in Economics in 1971. He graduated from King Hall, University of California Law School, Davis in 1974. Mr. Perry has maintained a general civil litigation practice in Sonoma County since 1975. He is with the firm Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller & Moskowitz.
He has litigated a wide variety of civil cases, with an emphasis on real estate, construction, development and environmental/land use planning. Mr. Perry also has an active family law practice. He has served on a number of boards and commissions, including the Sonoma County Planning Commission, the North Coast Air Quality Control Board, the Emergency Medical Care Committee, the Energy Advisory Committee and the Sonoma County Fair Board.
He has served on the Superior Court panel of arbitrators and settlement conference judges for many years. He also completed a fifty-hour advance mediation course with the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University.
"I believe mediation has not been utilized to the extent possible in areas of land use planning and environmental disputes. My experience and expertise in these areas lead me to conclude that mediation is an untapped resource for environmental groups neighborhoods, developers and governmental entities."
- Leslie R. Perry
Brian J. Purtill
Brian J. Purtill has conducted arbitrations and mediations at Arbitration & Mediation Center in Santa Rosa since 1996. For the past thirty years, he has been a litigator in Northern California, but is now closing out that phase of his career to work full time as an Alternative Dispute Resolution neutral.
Mr. Purtill has tried and/or litigated cases in virtually all counties from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Oregon border. He has also appeared in both the U.S. Federal District Court and the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco. He began his legal career in Sonoma County in 1984 after graduating that same year from the University of San Francisco Law School, and handled primarily insurance defense litigation for the first eleven years of his practice. This included, among others, personal injury, insurance coverage, real estate fraud, premises liability, product defect, and construction defect litigation. His practice expanded in 1995 with the formation of a new partnership, Purtill & Bryan, where he added construction law, land use, and other business and personal disputes of various types, representing both plaintiffs and defendants, and where he developed a business consultation practice, primarily for contractors and owners in construction projects. In 2004, he became Of Counsel to the Santa Rosa law firm of Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP, and maintained his litigation and business consulting practice there for ten years until July 31, 2014, when he left the firm to devote himself full time to his ADR practice.
Litigation Experience (not all inclusive): Personal injury; property damage; real estate fraud; mechanics’ lien and construction law; first party insurance coverage disputes; complex multi-party construction defect; boundary and other neighbor disputes; commercial and personal unlawful detainers; breach of warranty of habitability cases; corporate and partnership dissolution; trust and estates litigation; breach of contract.
Mediation/Arbitration Experience (not all inclusive): Personal injury (auto/premises liability); trusts and estates claims; real estate sales disputes; partnership dissolution; business disputes; breach of construction contract; commercial and residential landlord/tenant disputes; homeowner association claims; boundary and other neighbor disputes.
Primary ADR Trainings (not all inclusive):
1996 Mediation Fundamentals: Gary Friedman (40 hours)
1999 Business Mediation: Ron Kelly, UC Berkeley Extension campus (40 hours)
2010 The Mastery of Collaborative Practice: Collaborative Practice Ctr. (16 hours)
2011 Fundamentals of Elder Mediation: Sonoma State University (16 hours)
2013 Impasse is a Fallacy: American Institute of Mediation (10 hours)
Recent Substantive Law Trainings:
2014 Family Law Boot Camp, Garret C. Dailey, Esq. (13 hours)
2014 Special Custody Issues as Minor’s Counsel; SCBA (8 hours)
“We’ve all heard the saying: ‘A good settlement is one where all parties are equally upset with the result.” I have a different take – the best result is one in which all are equally pleased. That is how most of my mediations end; it’s how I can best serve the parties.”
– Brian J. Purtill
Richard R. Rudnansky
Richard R. Rudnansky has been involved in Alternative Dispute Resolution in one form or another and in various capacities for over 25 years. He has completed well over 100 hours of mediation training including training with the Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University, the Center for Mediation in Law and the American Institute of Mediation.
Before retiring from the day to day practice of law after 35 years to devote his full attention to mediation, Mr. Rudnansky was a principal with the law firm of Meyers Nave and the managing partner of the firm's Santa Rosa office.
Mr. Rudnansky has ecperience in state and federal courts, in a wide range of cases including but not limited to tort (e.g. motor vehicle, dangerous condition of public property), civil rights (e.g. due process and equal protection, police procedures and use of force), insurance law and coverage, inverse condemnation (e.g. landslides, floods, takings), environmental (e.g. California Environmental Quality Act), land use (e.g. land use entitlements, zoning, easement and boundary disputes, real estate), municipal and governmental disputes; mobile home park rent control, nuisance; and contract disputes.
During his legal career, Mr. Rudnansky has represented individuals, public agencies, and insurance companies as both plaintiffs and defendants. He was the City Attorney for the City of Petaluma and General Counsel for the Petaluma Community Development Commission; Town Attorney of Windsor and General Counsel for the Windsor Water District, Windsor Redevelopment Agency and In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority of Marin; and interim City Attorney for the City of Modesto managing an in-house staff of 6 attorneys and 4 support staff there until the City hired an In-House City Attorney.
He advised these public agencies on almost all aspects of municipal law, including land use, environmental issues, conflict of interest, Brown Act, public records requests, nuisance abatement and public works projects. In addition, he has had experience in defending a wide variety of claims on behalf of a number of governmental entities, including cities, counties, and school districts, in areas of land use, civil rights, environmental law and torts (in both State and Federal Courts).
"Mediation can resolve disputes and conflict in a way that reduces or eliminates the time, expense, emotional drain and uncertainty of outcome that accompanies litigation.
Although they may not agree, the goal is for the parties to at least understand each other’s points of view and needs so they can move forward in a respectful and dignified manner and, with the assistance of the mediator and their respective attorneys, reach an acceptable and fair resolution."
- Richard R. Rudnansky
Tad S. Shapiro
Tad S. Shapiro completed his undergraduate work at the University of California at Los Angeles obtaining his B.A. degree in 1977. He attended and graduated from Hastings College of Law, University of California in 1977.
He was admitted to the California bar in 1980. He is a partner in the firm, Shapiro, Galvin, Shapiro, Piasta & Moran. He has been an instructor through the Sonoma State University, Attorney Assistant Program from 1983 to the present. He is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association, Association of Trial Lawyers of America and California Trial Lawyers Association.
He is a member of the Redwood Empire Trial Lawyers Association serving as President in 1987. He has served on the County of Sonoma panel of arbitrators and as Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem from 1992 to the present. He is on the American Arbitration Association's panel of personal injury arbitrators/mediators.
"Alternative dispute resolution provides an opportunity for a win/win resolution of litigation by providing the parties with their day in court in a cost effective manner, or the guidance of an experienced mediator in resolving a dispute. Resolution allows the parties to move on, without litigation or potential litigation and the uncertainties of trial hanging over their heads."
- Tad S. Shapiro
Ivan Weinberg received his undergraduate degree from StanfordUniversity in Biological Sciences. He has a Master's in Health and Medical Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley where graduate studies included coursework in basic medical sciences and a thesis on medical aspects of tort reform. His legal education was at UCLA.
After passing the bar in 1967, Mr. Weinberg entered practice in San Francisco with Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold, which specializes in insurance defense litigation. In addition to various general defense litigation matters, his medical background was put to use in medical malpractice, and medical products, litigation. There followed a two year period of trial work in criminal law with the public defender's office in Oakland, California. In 1974 Mr. Weinberg resumed his defense practice with a medium-sized San Rafael firm where he was a partner from 1975 to 1981.
Thereafter, Mr. Weinberg established his own firm in Sausalito. Weinberg, Hoffman, LLP, now in Larkspur, presently handles all manner of insurance defense litigation, though Mr. Weinberg's primary interest continues to be in medical-legal matters. His practice has included the defense of nursing homes, sub-acute hospitals, convalescent hospitals, substance rehabilitation facilities and residential facilities for children.
In addition, he handles special education matters where medical issues predominate. A substantial portion of his practice encompasses plaintiffs' medical malpractice litigation. He also handles peer review matters and defends physicians and other health care professionals before California licensing boards.
"Mediation has truly become the gold standard of dispute resolution. It empowers the parties to effect an outcome at a time when they are still in control, before the reins are irretrievably taken by other decision makers."
- Ivan Weinberg
Barton W. Weitzenberg
W. Barton Weitzenberg received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1968. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from UCLA Law School in 1971. After completing his tour of active duty in the United States Army, he commenced practice of civil trial law in 1972. He is a partner in the Santa Rosa law firm of Abbey, Weitzenberg, Hoffman & Emery. He was born on September 30, 1946.
He is a Past President of the Redwood Empire Trial Lawyers Association, Past-President of the Sonoma County Trial Lawyers Association and Past President of the Consumer Attorneys of Sonoma County. He is a member of the Sonoma County Bar Association, where he serves as co-chair of the Bar's Superior Court Committee.
He is also a member of the American Bar Association, the Consumer Attorneys of California, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and a variety of professional associations related to common interest development law. He is an active professor of trial tactics at the Stanford University of Law School Trial Practice Program, an active professor of trial tactics at the University of San Francisco Trial Practice Program and the professor of the trial tactics course at the Empire School of Law.
He has been a frequent lecturer in trial tactics before Bar Associations, local Trial Lawyers Associations and the Consumer Attorneys of California. His practice is limited to civil litigation with a speciality in personal injury and construction defect law.
"While I am an enthusiastic advocate of our civil jury trial system, the economic reality of our time is that a very few cases can be resolved in a cost effective manner at trial. All others should be and can be resolved through alternate dispute resolution. A mediator/arbitrator with substantial trial experience can assure the litigants who appear before him that ADR is superior to trial as a means by which to resolve their disputes."
- W. Barton Weitzenberg
Thomas D. Wright
Thomas D. Wright completed his undergraduate work at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, earning a BS degree in 1974 and a teaching credential at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, in 1975.
After teaching in Oregon for a number of years, he attended Empire Law School in Santa Rosa and obtained his JD in 1982. Tom's practice has always emphasized family law; in 1996, he became a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law by the State Bar of California.
Over the last 22 years, Tom has acquired substantial litigation and trial experience in the area of family law. He has served as a mediator and private judge in his private practice since 1998. Tom has been a Judge Pro Tem for the Sonoma County Superior Court since 1991 engaging in Pre-Trial Settlement Conferences, family law Orders to Show Cause and Case Management Conferences.
In 1996, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors awarded Tom the Judge Pro Tem of the year certificate for his volunteer work on particularly difficult family law matters. Tom has completed advanced mediation training at Gary Friedman's Center for Mediation in Law and course work qualifying him as a collaborative law attorney from Chip Rose in Santa Rosa. He has completed mediation training through Goldman Negotiation Seminar in San Francisco and the Harvard Negotiation Project at the US District Court in San Francisco, California.
Tom is a member of the Family Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Collaborative Law Sections of the Sonoma County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California, and has been a member of the Richard Sangster Inns of Court since 2001. Tom was on the Board of Directors for the Sonoma County Legal Aid from 2002 to 2005. For over ten years, he served as an advisory board member and instructor for Grandparents Parenting Again. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Santa Rosa Salvation Army from 2002 through 2008.
"Creative strategies for settlement and resolution in a divorce are imperative for the parties who are forever bound together by their children. Even without issues involving children in the dispute, the parties can employ civility and come to a creative and mutually satisfying result by keeping an open mind and utilizing a trained and experienced mediator."
"The issues in family law usually have an emotional component that can magnify the intensity of the discussions. Mediation allows both parties the opportunity to fully address all of their interests and issues, and to create resolution options far beyond what might be relevant in a courtroom."
- Thomas D. Wright