Biography

Mark Petersen has a broad-based litigation and mediation practice emphasizing energy and construction issues, consumer fraud claims, entertainment law, and general business litigation.

Mark brings substantial trial experience to his work. He has successfully represented both plaintiffs and defendants in employment matters (including a professional football team) ranging from non-competition and unfair trade practices to sexual harassment. He has represented a large biotech company related to nucleic acid testing of blood, and has defended officers and directors of biotech, financial and software companies in securities and shareholder lawsuits. He has also worked on many cases in the entertainment industry. Among others, he settled a case for a record producer suing a major recording personality for unpaid royalties, and he defended a well-known recording artist in a lawsuit that received national media attention. 

Mark has worked extensively on energy issues and construction matters, representing engineers and other design professionals, construction managers, private owners and contractors in numerous complex matters. He recently completed the successful defense of an international nuclear equipment designer/manufacturer for claims regarding steam generator defects at a nuclear power plant. The damages alleged were $7.6 billion, and his client was cleared of any liability. He has also represented an international contractor related to the construction of a $100 million computer chip manufacturing facility, and was able to resolve the case through mediation before any litigation had begun. Currently he represents an international design firm in some of the many lawsuits that have been filed concerning San Francisco’s luxury Millennium Tower, which has been sinking and tilting since its construction. 

His work as a neutral has focused on construction and engineering issues. Mark serves as a mediator for the Bar Association of San Francisco’s (BASF) Early Settlement Program, the Contra Costa County EASE Program, the Northern District of California’s Panel of Mediators, the American Arbitration Association’s Panel of Mediators (and its panel of Commercial Arbitrators), and as a Judge Pro Tem in San Francisco for mediation of cases going to trial. In the past ten years, he has settled nearly 500 cases as a mediator. Among others, he has completed the American Arbitration Association's Mediator and Arbitrator Trainings, the American Bar Association Advanced Mediation Training, and the U.S. District Court (N.D. Cal.) Advanced Mediation Training Program. He serves as chair of BASF’s Mediation Committee, and has served on the California State Bar’s Standing Committee on ADR. 

Mark has served as vice-chair of the firm, chair of the Litigation Department, and as a member of the Management Team. He was instrumental in the formation of the Professional Development Committee, and he is currently chair of the Partnership Admissions Committee.

Distinctions

  • 2021 Lawyer of the Year Award (San Francisco) - Litigation-Construction, Best Lawyers in America
  • Best Lawyers in America, Arbitration (2019-2021); Litigation - Construction (2021)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV and ALM "Top Rated Litigator" (2020)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers (2008-2020)
  • Recommended for Construction in Legal 500 USA (2016, 2019)
  • Bar Association of San Francisco’s Award of Merit, 2014
  • After receiving his BS at the US Naval Academy, Mr. Petersen served as a nuclear propulsion engineer on submarines with the U.S. Navy until 1980.  

Memberships and Affiliations

  • President, Board of Directors, Meals on Wheels San Francisco (2019-2020)
  • Board of Directors, Meals on Wheels San Francisco (2015-present)
  • Board of Directors, University of California Hastings College of the Law Foundation Board of Trustees (2017-present)
  • Member, State Bar of California, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
  • Chair, Bar Association of San Francisco, Mediation Committee 
  • Member, Association for Conflict Resolution
  • Member, The Mediation Society of Northern California

Firm Highlights

Event

BASF Political Speech in the Workplace

Holly Sutton is a featured panelist at the BASF Labor and Employment Section of the Barristers Club live webinar, "Political Speech in the Workplace." Details: Although the 2020 election cycle has ended, employees and...

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Event

Insurance for Nonprofits: Managing Risk in Risky Times

Mary McCutcheon and Cynthia Rowland will discuss "Insurance for Nonprofits: Managing Risk in Risky Times" at the April Nonprofit Education Series. Nonprofit organizations—and their directors and staff—are not immune to claims in difficult economic...

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News

Farella Awards 2021 Diversity Scholarships to Three Bay Area Law Students

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Publication

PSDcast – Is Energy Companies' Customer Data a Trade Secret?

We often focus on the privacy issues involved in data collection – and they are critically important – while neglecting the idea of data as a tangible and valuable resource (and how to protect...

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Publication

Law Updates for California Employers: COVID Sick Leave Obligations, Meal-Period Rules, COBRA Benefits

New legislation and a recent court decision have significant implications for California employers. Certain California employers must now provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees who miss work for specified reasons related to the...

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Publication

New Round of PPP Loans: What Nonprofits Need to Know

Matt Lewis and Julie Treppa discuss "New Round of PPP Loans: What Nonprofits Need to Know."  The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a lifeline for nonprofits and other businesses that are struggling to survive during...

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Publication

New Proposition 65 Warning Requirements for Cannabis and Hemp-Derived Products

Donald Sobelman and Wendy Hernandez discuss "New Proposition 65 Warning Requirements for Cannabis and Hemp-Derived Products." Proposition 65 requires “clear and reasonable” warnings in California for products containing chemicals on the State’s list of...

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Event

The Advocates’ Society Spring Symposium: The Advocate Making a Difference

Douglas Young is the keynote speaker at The Advocates’ Society Spring Symposium: The Advocate Making a Difference on April 28. The Advocates' Society and the American College of Trial Lawyers invite you to attend the...

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News

Farella Partners in Development of La Cocina Municipal Marketplace

Farella Braun + Martel served as the pro bono legal partner to La Cocina in the development of La Cocina Municipal Marketplace in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. The nation’s first women-led food hall will...

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News

Farella Advises MedMen to Win San Francisco Cannabis Retail Store Approval

Northern California legal powerhouse Farella Braun + Martel provided national premium cannabis retailer MedMen Enterprises Inc.  with land use and permitting advice to win approval to open a new retail store on Union Street...

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