The Latham Square Building
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 210
Oakland, CA  94612

Tel: (510) 273-8880

Fax: (510) 588-4673

Attorneys and Mediators

Smith LLP

1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 210
Oakland, California 94612
Telephone: (510) 273-8901
Mobile: (510) 418-4942

University Of San Francisco School Of Law, San Francisco, California. J.D. May 1986.
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. B.A, Economics, June 1982. Tennis Team 1978-1982, Delphic Club 1979-1982.

Bar Associations
State Bar of California, Member in good standing, December 1986 to current.

Professional Recognition
Super Lawyers.  Recognized as having attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. 2014-2018.
The Mediation Society of Northern California. 2016 to present.

Smith LLP, Oakland, California. Partner.
Practice Areas: Mediation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution, facilities development and land use, corporate governance, election law, construction and real estate litigation, and rights of adjoining property owners. August 2014 to present.  

Dhillon & Smith LLP, San Francisco, California. Partner.
Practice Areas: facilities development and land use, business consulting, corporate governance, election law, commercial litigation, construction and real estate litigation, employment disputes, personnel rules, collective bargaining agreements, discrimination and wrongful termination claims, first amendment claims, rights of adjoining property owners and dispute resolution. November 2006 to July 2014.

Law Offices of Harold P. Smith, Oakland, California. Partner.
Practice Areas: construction and real estate litigation, commercial litigation, land use, facilities development, business consulting and dispute resolution. August 2002 to November 2006.

Stein, Smith, Rudser & Cohen, LLP, Oakland, California. Partner.
Practice Areas: land use, facilities development, government contracting, commercial litigation, intellectual property litigation, business consulting, compliance with OSHA requirements, and dispute resolution. Responsible for administrative, financial, marketing and emerging technology matters within the firm. September 1997 to August 2002.

Stein & Smith, Oakland, California. Partner.
Practice Areas: land use, privatization and conversion, construction, product liability, real estate, intellectual property and commercial litigation. June 1992 to September 1997.

Birka-White & Stein, Oakland, California. Senior Associate.
Practice Areas: land use and construction, product liability, real estate and commercial litigation. December 1989 to June 1992.

California State Legislature, Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Sacramento and Oakland, California. Counsel.
Areas of specialization: planning, transportation, public safety, and education. January 1989 to November 1989.
Alameda County District Attorney, Oakland, California. Deputy District Attorney. December 1986 to January 1989.  Certified Law Clerk, December 1988 to May 1989.

Dispute Resolution Training, Programs, and Certifications
Federal District Court, Northern District of California, Certificate of completion of the Court’s Mediation Training Program.  March, 2011.  Mediation Panel member March 2011 to present. 

Contra Costa Superior Court, Discovery Facilitator, April, 2017 to present.

Alameda County Superior Court, Unlawful Detainer Mediator, July, 2017 to present.

California Association of Realtors, Mediator, January 2018 to present. 

University of California, Berkeley, University Extension, Certificate of Participation in Mediation and Conflict Resolution, Ron Kelly, Forty hours of instruction, September and October 2001.

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Getting to Yes – Harvard Negotiation Project, Roger Fisher, 1981.
Planning Commission, City of Oakland, California, Commissioner, February 1991 to June 1996, including two one-year terms as Chair. Decided all major real estate, development, zoning and land use issues in the City, including extensive use of mediation and dispute resolution training.

General Plan Congress, City of Oakland, California, Chair, September 1993 to March 1998. Chaired 32 member citizen committee that reached consensus agreement on 97 out of 100 policies and drafted the general plan for the City of Oakland with the goal of revitalizing downtown, waterfront, industrial and commercial areas and creating opportunities for transit oriented development.

Claremont Country Club, Oakland, California, Board of Directors, November 2011 to October 2014, Club President, June 2013 to October 2014.  Ex Officio November 2014 to November 2016.

The Head Royce School, Oakland, California, Board of Trustees, Board Member, 2004 to 2013 and 2016 to present, Vice Chair, 2010 to 2012, Executive Committee, 2010 to 2012 and 2016 to present, Facilities and Community Relations Committee, Chair 2010 to 2012 and 2005 to 2008, Search Committee for new Head of School, 2009, Search Committee for new Head of School, 2016, Education Policies Committee, Chair 2008 to 2009, Ex Officio Member of the Board as Alumni Council President, 1988 to 1991.

Davis Street Family Resource Center, San Leandro, California, Board Member, February 2017 to present, Executive Committee Member, July, 2017 to present.

Youth Tennis Advantage, San Francisco, California, Board Member, July 2014 to present.

Estuary Plan Advisory Committee, Oakland, California, Member, 1997-1998. Drafted plan for the redevelopment of Oakland’s waterfront district.

Task Force on Community Restoration & Emergency Preparedness, Oakland, California, Chair, Planning & Zoning Committee, 1991-1992. Led effort to modify zoning and planning provisions to encourage the rebuilding of the Oakland hills following the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire.

Oakland Commerce Corporation, Oakland, California, Board of Directors, July 1992 to June 2000. Assisted businesses interested in relocating or expanding within Oakland.

Coliseum Redevelopment Advisory Committee, Oakland, California, January 1992 to June 2000. Assisted in the creation of a redevelopment program for the Coliseum area.

Metropolitan Task Force on Downtown Redevelopment, Oakland, California, December 1992 to May 1993. Assisted in drafting plan for the expenditure of redevelopment funds in downtown Oakland.

Alameda Contra Costa Transit District, Oakland, California, Publicly elected member of the Board of Directors, December 1986 to January 1988.  Served on the governing body of transit district representing Ward III.

The Head Royce School, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. 1991.

The 100 Club of the East Bay, Member, December 2013 to present. 

Stanford Law School, J-Term Instructor, Advocacy Skills Workshop, January 1998, January 1999.

"Oakland Should Consider Mixed-Use Projects Downtown," Oakland Tribune, Editorial Page, "Counterpoint," July 12, 1992, Page C-10.

"Are You Covered For Your Contractor's Mistakes?" Alameda County Apartment Owners News Magazine, Barron's Publications, August, 1992, Page U.

"The Downtown Revitalization Plan," Focus on Business, Oakland Chamber of Commerce, June 1994, Page 14.

“An Attorney Looks at Downtown Development,” Oakland Business Review, Jan. 1999, Page 15.

“Working with Business Groups, Chambers and CBOs to Achieve Economic Development,” League of California Cities 1998 Economic Development Conference, Monterey, California, August 28, 1998.

“Balancing Regulations and Incentives: Transit-Friendly Development,” Rail~Volution ’98, Portland, Oregon, September 15, 1998.

“Avoiding the NIMBY Freight Train: Developing Good Neighbor Relations With Collaborative Planning,” Western Museums Association Annual Meeting, Oakland, California, October 12, 2007.

Selected Career Highlights

  • Tried 16 jury trial cases to verdict along with over 400 court trials as Deputy District Attorney, 1986 – 1989.
  • As senior associate for variety of plaintiffs, assisted in prosecuting product liability litigation regarding defective ABS drain, waste and vent pipe for total claims exceeding $100,000,000 1989 – 1992.
  • As lead partner, negotiated purchase of recycling business by employees, 1992.
  • As lead partner, defended attempt at preliminary injunction on behalf of corporate entity attempting to sell digital literary intellectual property rights, assisted in the reorganization of the corporate entity, 1994.
  • As lead partner, defended construction defect claim resulting in a positive net recovery by General Contractor after contributions from subcontractors, 1997.
  • As lead partner, entitled development of 532 unit apartment in downtown Oakland and assisted in construction related issues including abatement of construction related nuisance, 1998.
  • As lead partner, prosecuted an action setting rent for non-profit dance school, 1999.
  • As lead partner, successfully compelled the approval of residential solar heating systems under California Civil Code 714 for solar installation company, 2001-2006.
  • As lead partner, entitled development of an award winning new dormitory for a private college in Oakland, 2000.
  • As lead partner, entitled development of 25-story office building in downtown Oakland, 2000.
  • As lead partner, entitled development of 9-story office building in downtown Oakland and assisted in construction, tax, and exaction issues, 2001-2004.
  • As lead partner, prosecuted action relating to defective ion pumps supplied to a klystron manufacturer for installation in a linear accelerator resulting in settlement for the full claim amount, 2001.
  • As lead partner, assisted in negotiations with insurance company, landlord, City, contractor, restaurant equipment supplier and others following a fire that destroyed an ice cream manufacturing and restaurant/parlor facility that resulted in the successful reopening of the business, 2001 – 2004.
  • As lead partner, prosecuted construction defect and mold case on behalf of homeowner, 2002 - 2003.
  • As lead partner, defended $6,000,000 business fraud case at summary judgment resulting in a settlement with a positive recovery for client, 2000 - 2003.
  • As lead partner for several co-defendants, defended claims totaling $10,000,000 in two coordinated real estate fraud cases in trial and arbitration resulting in no monetary recovery from clients, 2003 - 2007.
  • As co-lead partner, obtained $9,000,000 for television bandwidth rights for a community college district, 2007.
  • As board member, obtained development entitlements and served as liaison to design and construction team for $27,000,000 new construction and remodel project for Private K-12 School, 2003-2008.
  • As lead partner, represented rural water company regarding Pre-1913 water right in negotiations over the transfer of the water right, 2008-2009.
  • As co-lead partner, successfully prosecuted claims at jury trial regarding the dissolution of a business and defended against claims of corporate fraud, 2009.
  • As lead partner, secured conditional use permit approval for 80% school enrollment increase, 2009.
  • As lead partner, settled $2,000,000 design defect suit regarding mixed use and multi-family development in metropolitan Los Angeles area, 2009.
  • As lead partner, assisted in resolution of corporate ownership dispute regarding Community Choice Aggregation firm, 2010.
  • As co-lead partner, successfully defended action in the Superior Court and the District Court of Appeals against a political party unit relating to leadership positions and received award of attorney’s fees against plaintiffs under California anti-SLAPP statute, 2010-2011.
  • As co-lead partner, secured preliminary injunctions and agreements resolving board election disputes against a California Non-profit Corporation concerning the governance of radio stations, 2010-2011.
  • As mediator, successfully settled pre-litigation dispute between new media service provider and client over reimbursement of fees paid, April 2011.
  • As mediator, successfully settled lemon law dispute, July 2011. 
  • As co-mediator (teamed with a general contractor), successfully settled pre-litigation dispute between cabinet maker and homeowner over a kitchen remodel, August 2011. 
  • As lead partner, assisted a start-up with the mission of selling carbon tax credits based on carbon emission reductions and poverty alleviation in the Philippines, January 2012.
  • As lead partner, successfully defended against shareholder challenge alleging fraud and breach of fiduciary duty by corporate directors, June 2013. 
  • As mediator, assisted in the settlement arising from the dissolution of a 15 year business relationship involving both US and Canadian actions, August 2013.
  • As co-lead partner, obtained $22,500,000 recovery for real estate dispute concerning an option to purchase land, January 2014.
  • As lead partner, assisted Chinese investor with $23,500,000 investment in real estate opportunity in California, April 2014.
  • As lead partner, settled dispute over allegations and penalties imposed by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, June 2014.
  • As lead partner, successfully secured judgment in declaratory relief action finding that private use restrictions regulating the use of real property did not apply to a new owner and recovered attorney’s fees, September 2014.
  • As lead partner, secured a settlement for a terminated Chief Executive Officer of technology company, March 2015.
  • As lead partner, secured a settlement for defendant in real estate fraud claim, April 2015.
  • As mediator, successfully settled a corporate and real estate dispute pursuant to a mediator’s compromise, July 2015.
  • As mediator, successfully settled confidential pre-litigation separation of a C-level employee, August 2015.
  • As mediator, assisted in settlement of dispute between owners of restaurant, September 2015.
  • As mediator, assisted in settlement of dispute between partner and former partner in real estate dispute.  October 2015. 
  • As lead partner, successfully settled pre-litigation claim for return of liquidated damages after termination of real estate purchase contract, January 2016.
  • As lead partner, successfully settled commercial claim for plaintiff in a sale of goods case for alternative energy provider, March 2016.
  • As mediator, settled payment and subcontractor defect claims regarding two new restaurants, June 2016. 
  • As lead partner, represented a winery owner and settled $1,000,000 construction and construction defect claim for $25,000.  November 2016.
  • As lead partner, successfully guided non-profit community health facility through complex real estate transaction.  January 2017. 
  • As lead partner, successfully settled view claim under the Oakland View Ordinance.  August 2017.
  • As mediator, successfully settled commercial claim regarding lease, lease termination and right of first offer.  August 2017.
  • As lead counsel, secured full policy amount from first party insurance carrier for damaged wine.  September 2017.
  • As lead counsel, secured preliminary injunction precluding improper removal of member based non-profit board of directors.  October 2017.
  • As lead counsel, settled fire and nuisance claim.  November 2017.
  • As lead counsel, secured recovery of attorneys’ fees at jury trial.  February 2018
  • As mediator, successfully settled a real estate non-disclosure claim.  May 2018. 

(Partial list.)

References furnished upon request.