Donald R. Philbin, Jr.

Donald R. Philbin, Jr.

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorney in San Antonio, TX

Donald R. Philbin, Jr., P.C.
 | PO Box 12367, San Antonio, TX 78212
Phone: 210-212-7100
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2010 - 2017
Licensed Since: 1988
Practice Areas:
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (80%),
  • Business Litigation (10%),
  • Business/Corporate (10%)
Attorney Profile

Don Philbin, J.D., M.B.A., LL.M., was named mediation “Lawyer of the Year” in San Antonio by Best Lawyers® (2014, 2016), was recognized as the 2011 Outstanding Lawyer in Mediation by the San Antonio Business Journal, is one of nine Texas lawyers listed on the 2016 Who's Who Legal: Mediation list, and is listed in Texas Super Lawyers. He is an elected fellow of the International Academy of Mediators, the American Academy of Civil Trial Mediators, the Texas Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, and is past chair of the State Bar of Texas ADR Section. Don is also president of Picture It Settled®, Moneyball for negotiation, curator of www.ADRtoolbox.com, and an adjunct professor of law.

Certificates and Credentials

About Donald Philbin, Jr.

Admitted 1988, Texas

Professional Webpage: www.donphilbin.com

Honors and Awards:

  • Winners were nominated during a two-month period and were selected by a committee in October, Outstanding Lawyer (Mediation), San Antonio Business Journal, 2011
  • Published by Who's Who Legal, candidates of The International Who's Who of Commercial Mediation are selected based upon independent research conducted with clients and peers. The formulated list is published and then circulated to a wide and highly targeted readership of thousands of corporate counsel worldwide, who then select lawyers for recognition, THE INTERNATIONAL WHO’S WHO OF COMMERCIAL MEDIATION, Who's Who Legal, 2011
  • The Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center honors mediators whose body of work has made a lasting impact and whose spirit of volunteerism and commitment to the mission of the BCDRC serves as a model for others, Distinguished Service Award, Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center, 2011
  • The American College of Civil Trial Mediators is a non-profit organization of professionals distinguished by their experience, skill, ethical standards, and professional commitment to mediation, conflict management, and alternative dispute resolution.Members consist of Fellows who are active civil trial mediators with at least five years of practice and recognized achievement in their field, Fellow, American College of Civil Trial Mediators, 2010
  • Pepperdine Law's Straus Institute has been ranked the Number One program by U.S. News and World Report for the fifth consecutive year. In the last 13 years, the Straus Institute has never been lower than third and has achieved the Number One position eight times, Adjunct Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, 2008
  • Listed in the Best Lawyers in San Antonio, published by SA Magazine 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, Best Lawyers in San Antonio, SA Magazine, 2008
  • The CPR Institute -- International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution Panel of Distinguished Neutrals 2007 -- present, Panel of Distinguished Neutrals, The CPR Institute -- International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, 2007
  • The Best Lawyers in America (Alternative Dispute Resolution; Woodward/White 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), Best Lawyers in America, Woodward/White, 2007
  • Leadership San Antonio XXIX (2003-04)

Special Licenses/Certifications:

  • Mediation training at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, 2007
  • Austin Dispute Resolution Center, Advanced Family Mediation Training (2007) complying with TADRA §154.052(b)
  • LL.M. in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law (ranked No. 1 in the country by U.S. News and World Report five times, including years of LL.M. training) complying with TADRA §154.052(a)
  • Credentialed Distinguished Mediator, Texas Mediator Credentialing Association (2007-present)

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Editorial Board, American Journal of Mediation 2012 -- present, 2012
  • Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, 2009
  • Publications Committee of the San Antonio Bar Association, 2009
  • CLE Committee of the San Antonio Bar Association, 2008
  • Association of Attorney-Mediators, 2007
  • Fellow of the San Antonio Bar Foundation, 2007
  • Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, 2002
  • Member, Secretary (2008 - 09), Treasurer (2009 - 10), Vice President (2010 - 11), President-Elect (2011 - 12), William S. Sessions American Inns of Court, 1990
  • American Bar Association (Litigation (1987-present) and Dispute Resolution (2006-present) (chair of negotiation committee 2009--))
  • Fellow of the College of the State Bar of Texas (1997-present)
  • Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit (1988-present)
  • Federal Communications Bar Association (1997-present)
  • Texas Association of Mediators (2007-present)
  • Association for Conflict Resolution (2006-present)
  • Host Committee, Judicial Conference of the Fifth Federal Circuit (1990 & 1994)

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Alumni President and Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Trustees (1993 - 95), Associates Chair (2009 - present), Board of Visitors (2004 - 06; 2009 - present), Business Advisory Council (1999 - present), Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas.
  • Director (2008 - 09), Treasurer (2009 - 10), Rotary Club of San Antonio (2005 - present)
  • Elder (2007 - present), Usher (1998 - present), Stewardship and Finance (1989), First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio
  • Advisory Council, Goodwill Industries (2007 - present)
  • Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center (volunteer mediator 2007 - present)

Scholarly Lectures and Writings:

  • A recent study of 6,000 cases highlights the high costs of parties' decisional errors in litigation.  Drawing on law, economics, and psychology, the panel will discuss ways to reduce such errors and will explore the use of computer-animated outcome scenarios and decision trees as means to avoid impasse in mediation., Moderator / Speaker, ABA Section of Litigation CLE Teleconference, Mediation, 2009
  • Decisional errors are costly -- especially in litigation. Drawing on law, economics, and psychology, we will explore ways to identify and reduce decisional errors while improving party communication.  Using animated outcome scenarios and conventional decision trees as a vehicle to process and communicate dynamic information, we test evolving models with new information while recognizing that they are no substitute for  rigorous case analysis.  Visual scenarios focus parties on future outcomes. That future focus often helps litigants crystallize decisions and move from impasse to efficient deal., Moderator / Speaker, Deal or No Deal: Leveraging Information to Overcome Psychological Barriers to Efficient Deals, ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Annual Conference, Mediation, 2009
  • A recent study of 6,000 cases highlights the high costs of parties' decisional errors in litigation.  Drawing on law, economics, and psychology, the panel will discuss ways to reduce such errors and will explore the use of computer-animated outcome scenarios and decision trees as means to avoid impasse in mediation., Moderator / Speaker, Deal or No Deal: Leveraging Information to Overcome Psychological Barriers to Effective and Efficient Mediation of Dispute, ABA Section of Litigation Annual Conference, Mediation, 2009
  • Moderated discussion of bench trial v. arbitration.  Paper that I authored was later published., Speaker / Moderator, Bench Trial v. Arbitration: Motions to Compel Arbitration / Motions to Vacate Arbitration Awards, San Antonio Bar Association, Arbitration, 2009
  • Marjorie Aaron did some of the formative work on decision analysis in negotiation at Harvard, published it in Harvard PON publications, and now directs the dispute resolution program at U of Cincinnati.  I was honored to guest lecture in her Advance Decision Analysis class., Guest Lecturer, Advance Decision Analysis (Marjorie Corman Aaron), University of Cincinnati School of Law, Mediation, 2009
  • Decision errors are expensive -- especially in litigation.  Drawing on law, economics, and psychology, we will explore ways to recognize and reduce such errors while improving communication.  Animated outcome scenarios and decision trees focus parties on forward paths.  That future focus helps crystallize decisions that may transform impasse to efficient outcome., Presenter, "Deal or No Deal: Using Graphical Models and Ever Improving Information to Overcome Psychological Barriers, Southern California Mediation Association, Mediation, 2009
  • Since at least the Kennedy-Nixon Debate, we’ve known that people process the same information differently, often depending on how it’s delivered.  The result was outcome determinative in 1960 – radio listeners thought Nixon won the debate and the huge new television audience reached the opposite conclusion.  Educational psychologists now know that we actually process verbal and visual information on different brain circuits – complete with different working memories.  And pictures not only communicate information, they increase our motivation to study accompanying text.  We are used to pictures, and even video presentations, in mediation.  But we use them less frequently when negotiations get serious late in the game and it’s time to test those offers against realistic alternatives.  Offers are mostly oral and sometimes scribbled down on paper. But there are ways to model scenarios with verbal and pictorial components that increase our chances of getting through inevitable psychological barriers to the rational brain.  Here we hope to engage a discussion on ways to do that., Speaker, The Power of Pictures: Using Animated Outcome Models to Test BATNAs, Association of Attorney Mediators, Mediation, 2009
  • Evaluating recent judicial treatment of Motions to Compel Arbitration and Motions to Vacate Arbitration Awards, and considering the possible courses of future treatement of these litigation techniques., Author, Trends in Litigating Arbitration: Using Motions to Compel Arbitration and Motions to Vacate Arbitration Awards, Defense Counsel Journal, Arbitration, 2009
  • Litigating Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Fifth Circuit.  Third annual survey of ADR (arbitration) law that Audrey Maness and I have written for Texas Tech's Fifth Circuit Review., Co-Author, Litigating Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Fifth Circuit, Texas Tech Law Review, Arbitration, 2009
  • Is the U.S. Supreme Court putting the effectiveness of arbitration processes at risk by declining to rule on unconscionability? Donald R. Philbin Jr., of San Antonio, sorts out the effects of the Court’s arbitration jurisprudence–and avoidance......... Page 145, Author, Thankful for Unanswered Prayers? Unconscionability 'Equilibrium', Alternatives to the High Cost of Litigation (CPR), Arbitration, 2009
  • The Future of ADR: Incorporating Dispute Resolution Into Society February 19, 2009 | Barrister Club The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Speaker, Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution Symposium 2009, Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, 2009
  • The Conference Board: Council of Chief Legal Officers speaker in Washington, Speaker, The Conference Board: Council of Chief Legal Officers, 2008
  • Manufacturers Alliance MAPI Law Council speaker, Speaker, Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Law Council, 2008
  • Scheduled to co-teach upper division law school course on employment dispute resolution at Pepperdine., Adjunct Professor, Law 2282. Selected Issues in Dispute Resolution - Employment Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law (Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution), 2008
  • Arbitration is usually characterized as a litigation alternative.  Yet half of the Texas Supreme Court's recent mandamus docket involved arbitration and the United States Supreme Court has heard two arbitration cases during this term alone.  Bills pending in Congress would also affect the contours and use of arbitration.  If anything is clear, it is that this "alternative" is becoming mainstream, shaped by traditional legal methods in the process.  Our focus here is to review a portion of this shaping process:  that taking place in the Texas courts., Co-Author, Litigating Arbitration: A 2007 Texas Arbitration Review, Baylor Law Review, Baylor University School Of Law, 2008
  • Article explains simple tools that may assist lawyers and managers preparing for mediation success., Author, The One Minute Manager Prepares for Mediation: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Negotiation Preparation, Harvard Negotiation Law Review, 2008
  • Reviewed Fifth Circuit case law in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution for the Texas Tech Law Review's annual symposium on the Fifth Circuit., Author, Alternative Dispute Resolution (in the annual Fifth Circuit Review), Texas Tech Law Review, Texas Tech School Of Law, 2008
  • If 98.4 percent of filed legal claims settle pre-trial, tailoring dispute resolution to the particulars of each case and casting the right players in key roles are as central to trial preparation as developing case themes., Author, Comprehensive Trial Preparation Includes ADR Process Design: What Type of Mediator Best Fits This Case?, Conflict Management (reprinted in ABA Commercial & Business Subcommittee Newsletter), ABA Section Of Litigation, 2008
  • How economic analysis can help redirect attention from positions to a more objective analysis based on component variables., Author, The Value of Economic Analysis in Preparing for Mediation, Dispute Resolution Journal, American Arbitration Association, 2008
  • In this session, the presenters will discuss the ways in which psychology, intuition, faith and heuristics can facilitate or impede a mediator in the quest to get the parties to the best available deal., Conference Faculty, Multiple Minds and Mindsets in Mediation, ABA Section Of Dispute Resolution (Spring Conference), 2008
  • Taking a lesson form a popular network television show, this article pinpoints issues when analyzing options and shows how to use a decision tree, as well as maximize the mediation experience., Author, Deal or No Deal? Or Perhaps a Better Deal? The Impact of Improved Information, Alternatives to the High Cost of Litigation, 2007
  • If humans were completely rational and shared equal information, their legal decisions might resemble rational economic choices. But we know better - and our experience with legal disputes reveals consistent informational gaps.   In this short piece (excerpted from a longer article in Volume XIII of the Harvard Negotiation Law Review), I describe a few ways that disputing parties and their lawyers systematically depart from rational decision making.  Along the way, I offer tips on how to get productive settlement negotiations back on track after being derailed by our all-too-human psychological pitfalls., Author, The Psychology of Bad Economic Decisions, JAMS Dispute Resolution Alert (reprinted in Texas Litigation Section's News for the Bar and Virginia's ADR Committee), JAMS, 2007

Verdicts and Settlements:

  • A number of creative settlements to protracted problems, but they fall under mediation confidentiality.  What follows are anonymous comments to Martindale's Client Review service and other third-parties after mediations with Don:  “Don stepped in to mediate a case with interesting legal issues and emotionally charged parties. He did a great job realistically evaluating the potential legal outcomes from both perspectives. In a single session with Don, we were able to reach a settlement agreement that included a novel, non-financial element neither party had previously considered. It was a creative solution that enabled the parties to resolve their differences without further litigation.” – Large Law Firm Lawyer  “Don successfully settled a complex partnership dispute after 18 hours of mediation. He did an exceptional job of building rapport with emotional parties and he kept everyone at the table until a compromise could be reached.”  – Large Law Firm Lawyer  “Don was able to really understand a very complex business "divorce" and help the parties dissolve a 14 year business relationship. He kept pushing the parties toward resolution and was able to obtain a great result for my client.” – Law Firm “Don is a fabulous mediator.” – Law Firm  “Mr. Philbin was exceptional and professional in dealing with this mess.  Thank you!” – Law Firm  “Mr. Philbin is skilled, conscientious, and responsive. I highly recommend his services.” – Law Firm  “Don is a great mediator.” – Law Firm  “Don Philbin was very effective” – Law Firm  “Great job again!” – Law Firm  “Don is a fabulous mediator.” – Law Firm“  "Excellent job by Don as always!” – Law Firm  “Great and clear approach to resolution.” – Law Firm  “Don is a gifted presenter and mediator.”

Transactions:

  • Numerous deals inside and outside litigation.  Negotiated multiple high-value transactions as general counsel or president of privately and publicly held entities.  Most if not all are covered by non-disclosure agreements.  Inside litigation, Don has made deals to settle cases as outside counsel, in-house counsel, and mediator.  What follows are anonymous comments to Martindale's Client Review service and other third-parties after mediations with Don:  “Don stepped in to mediate a case with interesting legal issues and emotionally charged parties. He did a great job realistically evaluating the potential legal outcomes from both perspectives. In a single session with Don, we were able to reach a settlement agreement that included a novel, non-financial element neither party had previously considered. It was a creative solution that enabled the parties to resolve their differences without further litigation.” – Large Law Firm Lawyer  “Don successfully settled a complex partnership dispute after 18 hours of mediation. He did an exceptional job of building rapport with emotional parties and he kept everyone at the table until a compromise could be reached.”  – Large Law Firm Lawyer  “Don was able to really understand a very complex business "divorce" and help the parties dissolve a 14 year business relationship. He kept pushing the parties toward resolution and was able to obtain a great result for my client.” – Law Firm “Don is a fabulous mediator.” – Law Firm  “Mr. Philbin was exceptional and professional in dealing with this mess.  Thank you!” – Law Firm  “Mr. Philbin is skilled, conscientious, and responsive. I highly recommend his services.” – Law Firm  “Don is a great mediator.” – Law Firm  “Don Philbin was very effective” – Law Firm  “Great job again!” – Law Firm  “Don is a fabulous mediator.” – Law Firm“  "Excellent job by Don as always!” – Law Firm  “Great and clear approach to resolution.” – Law Firm  “Don is a gifted presenter and mediator.”

Representative Clients:

  • As an associate and partner in Bar Register firms, Don was fortunate to work on two of the very largest monetary pieces of litigation in the region, the longest trial (a 9-month construction suit) in the county, and to help a waiter, a barber, and others who were unable to pay for the services of a corporate firm.  Later, as general counsel and later president of multi-hundred million dollar public and private concerns, he worked with very large names in the communications, technology, and finance sectors.  Don's current clients are litigants in ADR and conference advanced negotiation conference attendees.  Here are their reviews: “Don is a fabulous mediator.” – Law Firm  “Don is a gifted presenter and mediator.”  – Advanced Training Participant  “Great job again!” – Law Firm  “A Siskel and Ebert 4 star review!” – Advanced Training Participant  “Don stepped in to mediate a case with interesting legal issues and emotionally charged parties. He did a great job realistically evaluating the potential legal outcomes from both perspectives. In a single session with Don, we were able to reach a settlement agreement that included a novel, non-financial element neither party had previously considered. It was a creative solution that enabled the parties to resolve their differences without further litigation.” – Large Law Firm  “One of the best lectures using humor and factual information I’ve ever attended.” – Advanced Training Participant  “Mr. Philbin is skilled, conscientious, and responsive.  I highly recommend his services.” – Law Firm  “Best and most entertaining statistical analysis I’ve ever seen.” – Advanced Training Participant  “Don successfully settled a complex partnership dispute after 18 hours of mediation. He did an exceptional job of building rapport with emotional parties and he kept everyone at the table until a compromise could be reached.”  – Large Law Firm  “Well documented and smoothly presented.”  – Advanced Training Participant   “Excellent job by Don as always!” – Law Firm  “Have him again!” – Advanced Training Participant  “Mr. Philbin was exceptional and professional in dealing with this mess.  Thank you!” – Law Firm  “Great job – great info and presentation.”  – Advanced Training Participant  “Don is a great mediator.” – Law Firm  “Don was able to really understand a very complex business "divorce" and help the parties dissolve a 14 year business relationship. He kept pushing the parties toward resolution and was able to obtain a great result for my client.”  -- Law Firm  “He was superb and info excellent.  He knows his stuff.” – Advanced Training Participant   “Don Philbin was very effective” – Law Firm  “Original”  “Interesting stuff.” – Advanced Training Participant  “Great and clear approach to resolution.” – Law Firm  “We invite you to read the Harvard Negotiation Law Review lead article entitled “Decisional Errors – On the Field, On the Bench, In Negotiations” written by Don Philbin.  Anything Don writes is worth reading.” – ADR Blog  “Great.  Entertaining and informative!”  – Advanced Training Participant  “Excellent speaker.” – Advanced Training Participant  “Great slides, good materials, great presentation.” – Advanced Training Participant  “Kept us going after lunch!  Deal or no deal metaphor and show was brilliant!  Of course a wonderful presentation with engaging visual aids.”  – Advanced Training Participant  “Have him again!” – Advanced Training Participant  “Impressive; insightful; good speaker.”  – Advanced Training Participant  “Really excellent presentation.” – Advanced Training Participant  “Outstanding presentation.  Lots of useful information provided in an entertaining package.” – Advanced Training Participant  “Don always is entertaining while informing.”  – Advanced Training Participant  “Thought provoking.”  – Advanced Training Participant

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • Fellow, American College of Civil Trial Mediators, 2010 --The American College of Civil Trial Mediators is a non-profit organization of professionals distinguished by their experience, skill, ethical standards, and professional commitment to mediation, conflict management, and alternative dispute resolution.Members consist of Fellows who are active civil trial mediators with at least five years of practice and recognized achievement in their field. Fellow, American College of Civil Trial Mediators, 2010,, 2010

Newsletters:

  • On the editorial board of the San Antonio Lawyer, publish frequently in titles ranging from the Harvard Negotiation Law Review to Alternatives to the High Cost of Litigation to the Dispute Resolution Journal to local pieces.

Educational Background:

  • LL.M. in Dispute Resolution (2007), Pepperdine University School of Law (Straus Institute); CALI awards for (1) Negotiation and Settlement Advocacy; (2) Commercial and International Dispute Resolution, and (3) Selected Issues in Dispute Resolution (Labor Disputes); MBA (Executive Program, 2001), University of Texas at San Antonio; Dean's Graduate Student Honor Roll (1999-2001); Beta Gamma Sigma and Omicron Delta Kappa; Juris Doctorate (1987), Pepperdine University School of Law; Pepperdine Law Review (1985-87); Moot Court Board (1986-87); Margaret Martin Brock Scholar (1986-87); Teaching Assistant - Writing (1986-87); American Jurisprudence Awards for (1) Corporations and (2) Agency and Partnerships; Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (1984), Trinity University; Intern, The White House (1984); United States Senate (Don Nickles, 1983); University President's Office (1982-83); Chief Justice, Student Judicial Board (1983-84); Teaching Assistant - Writing Lab (1983-84); State President (1983-84), Newsletter Editor (1982-83), Pre-Law Society of Texas

Industry Groups

  • Arbitration
  • General Counsel
  • Litigation
  • Mediation
  • Office Location for Donald R. Philbin, Jr.

    PO Box 12367
    San Antonio, TX 78212

     

    Donald R. Philbin, Jr.:

    Last Updated: 2/9/2017

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