Professional Panel - Judge Michael J. Berger (Ret.)
The San Francisco Bay Area has spawned a remarkably fertile field of legal giants in the past 75 years – including James Martin MacInnis, Nate Cohn, and Vincent Hallinan – and Mike Berger says both his life and career have been greatly enhanced from the sheer joy of having been associated with these legends. He has also benefited from former law partners Dan Weinstein and Butch Hallinan, and authored a book--a first-person account of his experiences with his distinguished colleagues and other famous San Franciscans.
“Twenty-nine years as a trial lawyer and 17 years as an ALJ is a lifetime of rewarding experience. It has been a true blessing to have been associated with these very colorful characters,” says Berger, who brings integrity, a keen sense of fairness, and an acutely rich sense of humor to his role as one of Resolution Remedies’ finest mediators.
Complex and highly publicized cases have been his specialty, having successfully represented 52 People’s Temple survivors; Chinatown’s Hop Sing Tong Benevolent Association’s involvement in the notorious Golden Dragon massacre; as well as having Sausalito’s flamboyant and irrepressible madam-turned-Mayor, Sally Stanford for a client.
“What I learned from my famous peers and mentors,” says Berger, who exudes a charisma of his own, “is how to be a committed listener. People in mediation desperately want to be heard, and I think all good things flow from genuine listening. Good listening prepares me to offer helpful guidance in mediations and balanced awards in arbitrations.”
Judge Berger’s substantial background lends credence to his skills in such matters as wrongful termination, medical malpractice, personal injury, and partnership dissolution. His calm, personal style, linked with a genuine desire to bring fairness and closure to sticky mediations and arbitrations, adds a gravitas to our panel of attorneys and judges.
ON THE BENCH
Since his appointment to the bench, Judge Berger has developed a particular expertise in employment law and wrongful termination, complementing his broad personal injury experience. In addition to legal and medical malpractice matters, Judge Berger's expertise includes partnership dissolution, premises liability, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation. Judge Berger brings a relaxed and knowledgeable mediation style to the matter at hand. His integrity and fairness in the handling of disputes has produced numerous settlements.
Prior to his appointment, Judge Berger was a trial lawyer in San Francisco for approximately 30 years, specializing in personal injury, medical and legal malpractice, as well as general commercial litigation. Judge Berger was Of Counsel to Law Office of James Duryea, Jr.; Partner, Hallinan, Berger & Osterhoudt; Partner, Weinstein, Welsh & Berger; Associate, Law Offices of James Martin MacInnis and Conrad Donner.