Awards & Testimonials

Robert F. Peckham Award for Excellence in ADR

This award was created by the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council in 2001 to recognize non-judge court employees for innovation and achievement in court-based ADR programs. The award is named for the late Robert Peckham, who as Chief Judge of the Northern District of California was a leader in establishing a court-based ADR program. The legal staff of the ADR Program of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Mimi Arfin and Howard Herman, were the inaugural recipients of this award in 2002.

Howard Herman received this award again in 2019 in recognition of the ongoing vitality of the ADR Program.

Mediation Society of San Francisco—Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Mediation Award

This award is given annually by the Mediation Society of San Francisco to a distinguished mediator or mediation trainer in recognition of overall contributions to the field. Howard Herman received this award in 2011.

U.C. Hastings Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Exceptional Service Award

This award honors exceptional service by a dispute resolution teacher. Howard Herman received this award in 2013.


The following quotations are about neutrals that serve on the court’s ADR panels and are excerpted from the surveys that the ADR Office sends to all participants in a court-sponsored ADR session.


“Mr. K did a very thorough job in his evaluation of the case, and his evaluation was extremely insightful.  I was extremely impressed with his high level of preparation as well as his expertise.”

“The evaluator was excellent.  thorough understanding of the law, generous with her time, encouraged settlement discussion and gave a very blunt evaluation – which was good.”

“Excellent.  I am a great believer in ENE/ADR.  I wish more districts embraced the process.”

“Did a phenomenal job, including about 10 hours of follow up phone calls to help the parties settle.”

“Evaluator was candid w/parties but not partial.  She had a good grasp of the potential risks for both sides. Was generous with the time she spent w/us going back and forth as needed. Patient and professional.”

“He was a very compassionate and sympathetic person. Very patient. He didn’t rush us. He didn’t interfere in our decision making process, rather he suggested solutions. He was perfect.”

“The evaluator did an excellent job in facilitating communication between the parties, especially, in the area of our respective goals and objectives, and our perception of the other party’s case.”

“The evaluator did an excellent job of exploring non-traditional avenues of settlement. He was innovative and resourceful.”


“I have used this mediation program in several similar cases and always found it successful in reaching a settlement.  I believe it is both cost effective and helps avoid expensive trials over matters best left settled.”

“Very impressive. I have been skeptical about court-sponsored mediation, but this has changed my opinion of the likelihood of being assigned to a quality mediator with subject matter expertise.”

“This mediator was probably the most effective mediator I’ve encountered in 100+ meditations. Both sides were very well served by his mediation.”

“Mr. S was the epitome of ‘stick to it ness,’ and his calm and patient and thoughtful approach made him a superb mediator. This is a wonderful program that is a great service to litigants and that the court can be very proud of.”

“He was effective in narrowing the options to put the case in a settlement posture.”

“Mr. I was an excellent mediator, bringing careful, thoughtful assessment of the case, which permitted the parties to subsequently engage in meaningful settlement discussions.”

“Ms. L was very effective in defusing the hostility between the parties.  Without her help this case would not have been resolved absent trial.”

“One of the best! Unbelievably dutiful and proactive. I’ve engaged her twice since.”

“She was very effective. Although the case did not resolve that day it resolved shortly thereafter due to the mediation. The parties probably would have resolved the case…but the process saved time and money.”

“The Mediator settled a very difficult, emotion driven case.”

“[The mediator] incurred significant time, expense and effort to resolve a very difficult case and he did it all without being compensated…He is a great, compassionate, flexible and highly professional mediator.”

“Mr. Q was an extraordinarily competent mediator. It was evident that he had taken time to consider the parties’ statements and positions. He was frank and efficient. Perhaps most importantly, my clients left the session with the sense that they had been treated fairly and had ‘ownership’ over the settlement.”

“I think both sides thought [the mediator] did an excellent job in settling a very contentious case that involved non-monetary issues. He worked very hard and went above the call of duty; I think the parties’ respect for him was a big factor in resolving the case.”