Michael G. Balmages, Esq. is an accomplished mediator and discovery referee with extensive experience as a trial lawyer, general counsel, and transactional lawyer. As a mediator and as a neutral, he has had great success in helping litigants resolve their disputes in more than 1,000 cases. His friendly nature and ability to find common ground both contribute to his easy rapport with litigants and their attorneys, while his determination to get cases settled is evident at each hearing. He is committed to exploring every option available to the parties to develop creative solutions to dispute resolution.

Mr. Balmages’ mediation experience is supplemented by his broad experience as a civil litigator, corporate general counsel, and transactional attorney. He has tried over 75 cases, taken more than 1,000 depositions, and negotiated and drafted more than 1,000 contracts. He has extensive experience with business entities, including the formation, dissolution, and merger of such entities, and the negotiation and drafting of numerous contracts and deal documents. Mr. Balmages has been rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell for over 30 years.


PRIVATE PRACTICE TRIAL AND LITIGATION EXPERIENCE

  • BALMAGES LAW OFFICE/BALMAGES & DAVIDSON    2005-2017
    Counseled and represented business entities and individuals in employment, business and real estate litigation.

  • LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL G. BALMAGES    1987-1988; 1993-2005
    Represented and advised several major business entities on a diverse variety of business, employment and litigation issues.

  • CORBETT, STEELMAN & BALMAGES    1984-1987
    Represented numerous local business clients in litigation with a strong emphasis in employment litigation.

  • MICHAEL G. BALMAGES, INC.     1977-1984
    Specialized in business planning and litigation. Developed significant expertise in employment law.

  • KINDEL & ANDERSON     1972-1977
    As an associate, worked in both the corporate and litigation departments. Drafted contracts and pleadings for senior lawyers and made court appearances.


 
MEDIATION AND DISCOVERY REFEREE EXPERIENCE

As a private mediator, Mr. Balmages has settled over 400 cases, specializing in business, employment, and real estate disputes. He has also conducted over 200 mediations for Superior Court and Federal Court ADR programs. He was Chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s ADR Section for 2016 and served as Vice-Chair for 2015. He has also been appointed as discovery referee in more than a dozen Superior Court cases.


NEUTRAL EXPERIENCE

As a neutral Mr. Balmages has settled:

  • Hundreds of business litigation cases, including breach of contract, unfair competition, business dissolution, trade secrets.

  • Dozens of employment cases, including FEHA, wage and hour (classification, minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest periods), harassment, discrimination, disability.

  • Numerous cases involving claims against municipalities and other governmental agencies.

  • Many IP cases involving trademarks and copyrights.

  • Dozens of Americans with Disability Act cases.

  • Dozens of slip and fall cases.

  • Dozens of auto v. auto/pedestrian cases.

  • Numerous medical/dental/professional negligence

  • Numerous eviction cases.

  • Numerous foreclosure cases.


GENERAL COUNSEL EXPERIENCE

  • OUTSIDE GENERAL COUNSEL EXPERIENCE    1993-2017
    Mr. Balmages served as outside counsel to several medium-size companies, most notably Medstone International, Inc., a publicly-traded medical products manufacturer; Phygen, LLC, a medical products manufacturer; Orange County Nursery, Inc., a grower and seller of trees; and Superior Crankshaft, LP, a manufacturer of race-car crankshafts. He advised senior management on employment, business, real estate and litigation issues, and negotiated and drafted major business documents.

  • OCEAN PACIFIC SUNWEAR, LTD.    1988-1993
    SENIOR EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL
    Mr. Balmages started representing “Op”, then the world’s largest surfwear apparel brand, in 1980 and became in-house General Counsel in 1988. As General Counsel, he advised senior management on all legal, financial, and political aspects of the international apparel business; negotiated and drafted all major transactional documents; managed litigation and outside counsel; managed Chapter 11 proceedings; supervised in-house lawyers and paralegals; managed its worldwide intellectual property assets, including more than 1,000 trademarks; and performed all other general counsel functions.


 
EDUCATION, BAR ADMISSIONS, AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSES

  • University of California, Irvine - Certificate in Conflict Management and ADR    2005
  • University of California, Berkeley - J.D.    1972
  • California State University, Fullerton - B.A.    1969


Mr. Balmages is admitted to practice in California and before the United States Supreme Court; the Ninth Circuit; and the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California.

Mr. Balmages is a licensed California Real Estate Broker.

 
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

Mr. Balmages is a frequent speaker and lecturer for California Continuing Education of the Bar, the Orange County Bar Association, and various other professional groups. He remains available to give MCLE-qualified presentations to professional groups through ADR Services, Inc., a State Bar certified MCLE provider.

 
PERSONAL

Mr. Balmages and his wife, Mary, have three children and eight grandchildren. Mr. Balmages has lived in Orange County since 1958.  He is the lead astronomer for the Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo.

​Michael G. Balmages,Esq.

Discovery Referee

Tel: (949) 863-9800

Mediator

Michael G. Balmages, Esq.​​
Mediator • Arbitrator • Discovery Referee

Resume

Arbitrator