• Construction
  • Contracts
  • Discovery Referee
  • Elder Abuse
  • Family Law
  • Homeowner
  • Insurance
  • Landlord-Tenant
  • Personal injury
  • Real Estate
  • Tree Law
  • Trusts/ Estates/ Probate
Memberships & Special Honors
  • President, Marin County Bar Association (1984)
  • J.D., Hastings College of the Law, 1963
  • B.A., Stanford University, 1960

Judge Michael B. Dufficy (Ret.)

If you are ever in need of a crash course in Marin legal history of the past 40 years, Judge Dufficy would provide you a fascinating first-person account of the oft-tumultuous trials that have utilized his talents as both an eyewitness and a fully engaged participant. As a member of a highly respected pioneer Marin family whose name elicits instant respect in medical, legal, and community activism circles, Dufficy has never eschewed controversy or tough decisions. The strength he has gained from his eye-of-the-storm involvement – he defended Fleeta Drumgo in the highly charged “San Quentin Six” trial, and he was certified a “Specialist” by the California State Bar in both family and criminal law – has shaped him into a top-notch mediator with first-rate people skills.

“I thoroughly enjoy the challenge presented by complex, frequently thorny mediation issues,” asserts Dufficy. “What often amazes me is how even three or four decades worth of being an attorney and a judge is still not adequate preparation for what awaits you in delicate negotiation matters. That’s when you really have to dig deeply into your soul, check your preconceptions at the door, and maintain a completely open mind. The intensity of the proceedings is sometimes breathtaking. These are very serious matters that will affect people’s families, livelihoods, careers and holdings, so I take my role as facilitator very seriously. The parties recognize this, which allows us to proceed with a sense of fair play and mutual respect.”

Best known for his family law expertise, Judge Dufficy earned a solid reputation in personal injury, real estate, construction, probate, and other matters. Low key and conservative in personal demeanor, Dufficy admits to a passion for justice burning deep within. His peers refer to him as a wonderfully affable and loyal friend who brings wisdom, balance, and a delightfully dry sense of humor to sensitive proceedings which sorely need each of these attributes.

On The bench

During his tenure on the bench, Judge Dufficy served two two-year terms as Presiding Judge of the Superior Court. Over the years he has presided over all calendar assignments, including the Court’s Appellate Division. Judge Dufficy also served ten years in the Civil Department, six years as Probate Court Judge, and five years as the Family Law Judge, as well as participating in the Marin County Office of Education Mock Trial competition.


Before taking the bench, Judge Dufficy practiced law for 26 years in Marin County, including two years as a Marin County Deputy District Attorney.  In addition, Judge Dufficy was elected President of the Marin County Bar Association in 1984.  His private practice emphasized family law and criminal defense, but also included essentially all areas of civil litigation, including personal injury, real estate, construction, and probate matters. As a lawyer, he tried more than 100 civil and criminal jury trials and was certified a “Specialist” by the California State Bar in both family and criminal law. Judge Dufficy has taken several mediation courses, both privately and through the CJA.

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