Neutral Profile



  • Available in Northern California, All of California
  • Available for Mediation, Arbitration, and Private Judging assignments


Judge Sullivan retired on March 1, 2017, after more than 13 years of distinguished service for the San Francisco Superior Court, and he is now available to serve as mediator, arbitrator, and private judge statewide. During his tenure on the bench, he presided over a broad spectrum of civil matters including toxic tort, products liability, personal injury, and real estate cases. In addition, he spent several years on the cour's Family Law and Appellate panels.

After graduating top ten in his class from Santa Clara University Law School in 1971, Judge Sullivan began his legal career working in the San Francisco Regional Office for the California Department of Transportation where he tried numerous cases, covering everything from dangerous conditions on public property to eminent domain actions. In 1987 he left the public sector to enter private practice with the plaintiff's side tort and employment law firm of Herron & Herron, where his practice focused on toxic torts, products liability, personal injury, medical malpractice and labor & employment issues. In 1998, he joined his former Caltrans colleague Thomas J. Brandi at the Brandi Firm specializing in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. As an attorney, Judge Sullivan has tried cases before juries in 17 counties throughout Northern and Southern California.

Judge Sullivan's outstanding work during his career as an attorney and on the bench has earned him a great reputation from the Bay Area legal community. In 2002, he became President of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (SFTLA). In 2013, he was named “Judge of the Year” by SFTLA.

An attorney commented, “Judge Don Sullivan has the “trifecta” with respect to being in a position to be a superb mediator. He was a defense trial lawyer and then a plaintiffs' trial lawyer and then became a trial judge late in his career. There is no one I know who is more experienced. On top of all of it, he is a great guy.”


  • All Types of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
  • Business/Contractual
  • Government Liability
  • Employment
  • Medical Negligence
  • Real Property including Inverse Condemnation
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Arbitrations

Hobbies & Interests

In his spare time, Judge Sullivan enjoys traveling, studying foreign languages, reading, hiking, taking long walks, and swimming. He is also a casual stamp and coin collector.

Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • Neutral, Judicate West (2018-Present)
  • Marin County Superior Court Settlement Panelist (2019)
  • Judge, Superior Court, San Francisco (2003-17); Unified Family Court (2005-2009) Civil Division (2009-2014); Settlement Conferences (2009-2011); Court’s Appellate Panel (2014-2016)
  • Attorney, Brandi Law Firm, San Francisco (1998-2003)
  • Judge Pro Tem, Day of Trial Settlement Program, San Francisco (1997-2003)
  • Judge Pro Tem, Judicial Arbitration Program, San Francisco (1992-2003)
  • Settlement Master, Bar Association of San Francisco (1992-2003)
  • Attorney, Herron and Herron, San Francisco (1987-1998)
  • Attorney, Department of Transportation, State of California (Caltrans) (1972-1987)

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • J.D., Santa Clara University (1968-1971)
  • BSEE, Santa Clara University (1964-1968)
  • Member, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) (1992-Present)
  • Member, California Judges Association (CJA) (2003-Present)
  • Panel Neutral, appointed by the Independent Administrator of the Kaiser Arbitration Program (2018-Present)
  • Diplomate, American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), Med Mal (1991 to 2003)
  • Certified Civil Attorney, National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) (1991-2003)
  • Member, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (SFTLA) (1987-2003)
  • Past President, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (SFTLA) (2002)

Achievements & Awards

  • Judge of the Year Award, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (2013)

Legal Experience

  • All Types of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
  • Business/Contractual
  • Government Liability
  • Employment
  • Medical Negligence
  • Real Property including Inverse Condemnation
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Arbitrations

Recent Representative Cases

Downtown Los Angeles

601 S. Figueroa
Ste 3400
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: 213.223.1113
Fax      : 213.223.1114

Los Angeles Mediation

West Los Angeles

11601 Wilshire Blvd
Ste 2040
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 310.442.2100
Fax      : 310.442.2125

Mediators Los Angeles

San Diego

402 W. Broadway
Ste 2400
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619.814.1966
Fax      : 619.814.1967

San Diego Mediation

Santa Ana

1851 East First Street
Ste 1600
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Phone: 714.834.1340
Fax      : 714.834.1344

Orange County Mediation

San Francisco

100 Pine Street
Ste 1950
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415.266.1242
Fax      : 415.266.1243

San Francisco Mediation


980 9th Street
Suite 2200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916.394.8490
Fax      : 916.394.8495

Sacramento Mediation