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

  • Best Lawyers in America, Arbitration (2019)
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale Hubbell (2017)
  • Recommended for Construction in Legal 500 USA (2016)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers (2008-2018)
  • 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

  • Board of Directors, Meals on Wheels of 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

Publication

Individual Accountability in the Huawei Trade Secrets Prosecution

In the ongoing legal battle over the alleged theft of American trade secrets by Chinese telecom giant Huawei, one curious aspect is the lack of charges filed against any individual Huawei employees. On February...

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Publication

The 10th Circuit Correctly Construes “That Particular Part” Narrowly

We do not often write about coverage opinions from jurisdictions as far away as Oklahoma; however, a recent case from the Federal Tenth Circuit looked at one of our favorite topics and came out...

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News

Last Major SF Transbay Tower, Affordable Housing at Risk of Delays

Real Estate/Land Use and Development Partner Charles (C.J.) Higley shares his thoughts on why the 546 Howard St. tower project deserves priority for approval. Read the full article here .

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Publication

Who 'Owns' a Secret? Whether Trade Secret Licensees Have Standing to Sue in California

If the eye-popping damages awards in several recent lawsuits are any indication, companies are increasingly coming to see their private information as one of their most valuable assets—and California juries apparently agree. For example,...

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News

Judge Finds Grounds to Sue California Insurance Commissioner for Refusing to Investigate Industry Fraud in Recent Wildfire Claims

Lawsuit Alleges Insurance Industry Has Illegally Used Unlicensed Out-of-State Adjusters to Cheat Victims of 2017 and 2018 Wildfires SAN FRANCISCO, April 1, 2019: A judge is permitting a survivor of the 2017 Tubbs Fire...

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Event

Identifying and Preparing Expert Witnesses for Trial

How do you identify the key experts you need for trial? Once you have them, what are the best practices for preparing them for trial? How do these practices vary depending on your venue, and...

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Event

North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to underwrite the North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference featuring keynote speaker Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. The event will also feature...

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Publication

Attorney General Finds Impact Fees on Density Bonus Projects Invalid

In response to questions from a variety of cities across the state regarding the application of “public benefit fees” to density bonus projects, the State Attorney General’s Office published an opinion on April 9...

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News

How to Plan for a Smooth Transition of Your Family Business

Family Wealth Senior Associate Lauren Galbraith discusses how family internal dynamics play a role in transferring significant assets, especially a business, between generations. Link to read the full article.

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Event

CWA Regulation of Discharges to Groundwater: Permitting Uncertainty in Light of Circuit Court Split

Sarah Bell will speak on the Strafford live webinar, "CWA Regulation of Discharges to Groundwater: Permitting Uncertainty in Light of Circuit Court Split." This CLE webinar will discuss the "indirect discharge" theory of Clean...

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