• Retired Federal Magistrate Judge
  • Available in San Diego, Nationwide
  • Available for Mediation, Arbitration, and Private Judging assignments


Judge Jan Adler draws upon more than 40 years of legal experience to help resolve complex disputes. He served as a Federal Magistrate Judge for over 15 years and as Presiding Magistrate Judge the last two years. During that time, he presided over approximately 2,000 civil matters as a settlement judge, handling all types of civil litigation matters. Prior to his bench appointment, Judge Adler spent 25 years as a trial lawyer litigating complex civil matters, including securities class action, derivative, antitrust, and consumer fraud cases.

By tapping into his extensive litigation and judicial background, Jan Adler brings the requisite knowledge and experience to tackle any legal dispute, deploying a unique repertoire of resolution strategies and tactics to help all parties achieve satisfaction. He is also a frequent speaker and panelist on programs concerning complex civil litigation, federal practice, and mediation.


  • Business/Contractual
  • Class Actions
  • Corporate Governance
  • Employment
  • Intellectual Property
  • Catastrophic Personal Injury
  • Securities

Hobbies & Interests

In his spare time, Judge Adler enjoys traveling and hiking, listening to music, following NCAA and professional sports, reading, and community service, including serving as a Director of Jewish Family Services of San Diego.


He was very good at conveying the realities to the client.
- Attorney on a Business Partnership Dissolution

Judge Adler is an outstanding mediator who not only understands the human frailties and often heightened emotions of litigation, but uses his calm and assuring demeanor to facilitate meaningful and productive dialogue in assisting the parties to get to a deal. He is smart, kind, and decisive in his approach.
- San Diego Litigation Attorney

We had an emotionally driven, and legally complex case. Going into the settlement conference I gave us a 10% chance of resolution. Judge Adler through his persistence and persuasiveness was able to settle the impossible case.
- Attorney on a Complex Dispute

We really appreciated the collaborative approach.
- Attorney on an Antitrust: Commercial matter

Judge Adler is thoughtful and thorough – he takes the time to fully study and understand complex and new areas of law and he is well qualified to mediate a wide range of civil cases. He is kind and compassionate and ensures that every litigant has a voice at the table, but never hesitates to deliver difficult messages about the risks and weaknesses in a party’s case. Judge Adler is a superb mediator.
- Attorney who settled multiple cases before Judge Adler

Very hard working Intelligent mediator. He is exceedingly patient with all parties and the various nuances and fact patterns of their case. He settled a very difficult case for me for over ten million dollars working through the evening and into the next morning on his own personal time. I would not hesitate to use him as a private mediator
- Attorney who settled cases before Judge Adler

Links and Articles

Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • Neutral, Judicate West (Current)
  • United States Magistrate Judge, Southern District of California (2003-2018); Presiding Magistrate Judge (2017-2018)
  • Attorney, handling complex civil litigation with an emphasis on securities class action, derivative litigation, antitrust, and consumer fraud cases, Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, LLP (1982-2003); Partner (1987-2003) Associate (1982-1986)
  • Attorney, handling civil litigation including personal injury, business, insurance law, and workers’ compensation, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon (1978-1982)

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • J.D., Duke University School of Law (1978)
  • A.B., Cornell University (1975)
  • Ninth Circuit Director, Federal Magistrate Judges Association (2014-2018)
  • Member, Ninth Circuit Magistrate Judges Executive Board (2010-2016); Vice-Chair (2014-2016)
  • Member, Ninth Circuit Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution (2008-2014)
  • Member, Ninth Circuit Pacific Islands Committee (2011-2018)
  • Member, Ninth Circuit Committee on Magistrate Judge Education (2008-2011)
  • Member, Board of Governors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL) of San Diego (2000-2007); Secretary (2004-2005); Vice President (2006); President (2007)
  • Master, William B. Enright Inn of Court, San Diego, CA (2003-Present)
  • Judge Pro Tempore, San Diego County Superior Court (2000-2003)
  • Member, Board of Directors, San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program (1995-2006)

Achievements & Awards

  • Speaker, “A History of Mediation, Its Development in the United States, Its Use in the Federal Courts, Practical Tips and Tools for Effective Mediation, and the Benefits of Mediation,” presented at the Sorbonne Winter School Conference on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Negotiation Management, Paris, France (November 2018)
  • Panelist, “The Written and Unwritten Rules of Civility,” Association of Business Trial Lawyers Nuts & Bolts Program, San Diego, California (November 2018)
  • Instructor, Pacific Judicial Council 2018 Advanced Mediation Seminar, Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (March 2018)
  • Panelist, “The Early Neutral Evaluation Conference in the Southern District of California,” Thirteenth Annual Judith N. Keep Federal Civil Practice Seminar, San Diego, CA (Sep. 2017)
  • Moderator, “Effective Settlement Tools and Practices,” Twelfth Annual Judith N. Keep Federal Civil Practice Seminar, San Diego, CA (September 2016)
  • Panelist, “Significant Issues in Settlement,” Ninth Annual Judith N. Keep Federal Civil Practice Seminar, San Diego, CA (September 2013)
  • Speaker, First International Seminar on Mediation and Arbitration, Centro Universitario de Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil (May 2013)
  • Moderator, “Class Action Case Management,” Ninth Annual Judith N. Keep Federal Civil Practice Seminar, San Diego, California (September 2013)
  • Presenter, American Arbitration Association Mediation Training Program for San Diego Superior Court Mediators, San Diego, California (January 2011)
  • Panelist, "From the Bench: Effective (and Ineffective) Advocacy in Class Action Litigation,” Consumer Attorneys of San Diego Third Annual Class Action Symposium, San Diego, California (October 2010)
  • Moderator, “Settlement Panel–Rules of the Road in ENEs,” Fifth Annual Judith N. Keep Federal Civil Practice Seminar, San Diego, California (September 2009)
  • Panelist, “Judges Panel–What Works and What Doesn’t” and “Settlement Pitfalls and Objectors,” Consumer Attorneys of San Diego Second Annual Class Action Symposium, San Diego, California (October 2009)
  • Moderator, “Succeeding In Mediation: Tips From The Bench,” Third Annual Judith N. Keep Federal Civil Practice Seminar, San Diego, California (September 2007)
  • Panelist, “When Things Go Wrong: You Could Have Settled But You Didn’t,” Association of Business Trial Lawyers Annual Seminar, Grand Wailea Resort, Maui, Hawaii (October 2006)
  • Co-Chair of program on “Confidentiality and Settlement Secrecy Issues,” Ninth Circuit Chief District Judges Conference, Sacramento, California (February 2003)
  • Recipient, Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services (1997, 2000)
  • Co-Author with United States Magistrate Judge Anthony J. Battaglia, “The Federalization of Class Action Cases,” published in Report of the ABTL of San Diego (May 2005)
  • Co-Author with Melvyn I. Weiss and William S. Lerach, “Obtaining Adequate Monetary Relief for Shareholders of Bankrupt Public Companies: The Nearly Impossible Dream,” presented at Practicing Law Institute seminar entitled “Complex Litigation in the Context of the Bankruptcy Laws” (Spring 1984)

Legal Experience

  • Business/Contractual
  • Class Actions
  • Corporate Governance
  • Employment
  • Intellectual Property
  • Catastrophic Personal Injury
  • Securities

Recent Representative Cases

Downtown Los Angeles

601 S. Figueroa
Ste 4000
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