About Dana Curtis


Dana Curtis

DANA CURTIS is a pioneer and leader in the Bay Area alternative dispute resolution field. She was among the first attorneys in the country to devote her legal career exclusively to mediation of non-family law disputes, beginning her full-time practice in 1991. 

Since serving for 4 years as a Circuit Mediator with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Ms. Curtis has maintained a Sausalito-based practice. She has been acknowledged by the Daily Journal as a "Top- 50" California Neutral; by The Mediation Society of San Francisco for her Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Mediation; by The Academy of Distinguished Neutrals as a Diplomate Member; and by Who's Who Legal, California, 2018-2020, as a leading practitioner of Mediation. 


Ms. Curtis is experienced in a wide range of ADR processes (training, mediation, early neutral evaluation, special master and independent fact-finding), all within numerous legal subject areas. She offers an individualized approach focused on the parties’ interests and the challenges presented by each case. For a description of her approach to mediation, see Mediation Procedures.

Prior to becoming a  mediator, Ms. Curtis served as law clerk to Associate Justice Edward A. Panelli of the California Supreme Court and practiced commercial and employment litigation with McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen in San Francisco and San Jose. Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Curtis was a community college and nationally recognized high school teacher in Idaho.

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. Ms. Curtis designed and co-taught the first appellate mediation trainings for California Courts of Appeal, in the First, Second and Third 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 and as adjunct faculty at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she taught mediation between 1988 and 1997 and 2017 and 2020, when she also directed the Conflict Resolution Program. To view a list of the programs and academic courses Ms. Curtis has taught, see her expanded resume.

Ms. Curtis has written widely on the subject of mediation, including Appellate Mediation: A Guidebook for Attorneys and Mediators (with Brendon Ishikawa), ABA Publishing 2016, and as a contributing author to the Continuing Education of the Bar’s Litigator’s Guide to  Representing Clients in ADR. For a list of Ms. Curtis’ other  publications, see publications. Ms. Curtis has also been active in the mediation community, currently serving on the boards of The Mediation Society of San Francisco and the Foundation for Sustainable Rule of Law Initiatives, supporting mediation programs in developing countries. She served for 10 years as Co-Chair of the Mediation Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco; as a member of the California State Bar ADR  Committee; and on the boards of the California Dispute Resolution Institute and California Dispute Resolution Council (as vice-president). Ms. Curtis also co-founded and served on the board of RockRose Institute, an NGO dedicated to resolving conflict through dialogue and deliberation. She belongs to numerous professional organizations, where she is frequently invited to present programs, and on numerous Bay Area court and national mediation panels, including all Bay Area state and federal mediation programs. 

When she is not working, Ms. Curtis enjoys hiking and traveling, especially to visit her family, which includes 6 granddaughters.

"I wanted to let you know on a personal note how grateful I am to you and your working style. Using more emotional intelligence was really profound and helpful. You really did us a huge service and we are grateful." ~ Party, partnership dissolution.