Academy Member Inducted 2021

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John B McArthur, Arbitrator, Berkeley, California.

John B McArthur

Law Office of John Buritt McArthur
2712 Stuart Street
Suite 424
Berkeley, CA 94705
Tel: (510) 845-5605
Fax: (510) 225-1342
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Recognized to California Chapter for Arbitration

Regularly travels out of state to: Alaska, Texas

Other ADR Services: ADR Training/CME, Early Neutral Evaluation, Mini-Trial Judge
Video Conferencing
  • Practice Commenced1994
  • # of MEDS (as of 19/7/24) 
  • # of ARBS (as of 19/7/24)125
Current Practice
Online / In-Person


John McArthur is a well-known arbitrator with decades of experience and a national reputation for skill, experience, and scrupulous fairness.

Diverse life experience, and a wide range of practice as a trial lawyer, are vital ingredients in an arbitrator. McArthur has both. Before going to law school, he held jobs that varied from laborer in a daily hiring hall to assistant to a state representative, two years as a Teamster delivering soda for Coca Cola of East Hartford to a year driving tractor-trailers long distance across the country. As a lawyer and one of the early partners (in the late-1980s) at the national litigation firm Susman Godfrey, based in Houston, Texas,  and later a name partner at Hosie McArthur in San Francisco, McArthur has represented plaintiffs and defendants in a very diverse national trial practice.

Throughout his 41 years of trial work, almost all of McArthur cases have been large, highly complex, and technical commercial cases. The same is true of his arbitrations today. McArthur has handled cases in state and federal courts across the country, including arbitrations, MDL proceedings, qui tam cases, and class actions. His clients have ranged from some of the country’s and the world’s largest corporations – Aetna, BASF, British Petroleum, Broken-Hill Proprietary, Sonat Offshore Company, Unocal  -- to individuals, small businesses, two Alaskan Native Corporations, and States (Alaska, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Mississippi). His cases spanned the gamut from antitrust law to securities disputes, contract fallouts to franchise disagreements, business torts and investment breakups to employment disagreements and fallouts from economic volatility and the effects of regulation and deregulation. He has especially deep experience in oil and gas disputes, an area in which he has served as an expert dozens of times and authored dozens of articles.

McArthur has been serving as an arbitrator for 30 years. Today he spends most of his time working in that role. He has sat as sole arbitrator, party-appointed arbitrator, or chair in well over 125 cases. McArthur’s experience and reputation have gained him entry into some of the most prestigious arbitration organizations, including as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration and head of its Northern California branch, Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, and listings as an arbitrator in complex commercial cases and specialized areas for leading national arbitration providers including the AAA, CPR, and Fed-Arb.

McArthur has published extensively on arbitration. In the fall of 2022, he published a treatise on arbitration awards titled The Reasoned Arbitration Award in the United States: Its Purposes, Preparation, Problems, and Preservation.  He has arbitrated disputes involving hundreds of millions of dollars and in one instance a billion dollars, cases involving very large corporations and those involving pro se claimants and respondents. Complexity and high stakes are hallmarks of his arbitrations. Both his education and work history, as illustrated in “Case Experience” below, have given McArthur the tools to handle the most difficult arbitrations, including those with complex economic, accounting, and damage issues.

Recent Publications and Presentations on Arbitration:




   1.  With Allison Snyder, “How to Protect Your Right to a Reasoned Construction Award, When That is What You Want,” 16 

        Construction Law Journal 7 (Summer 2020);

  1. “Tribunals, Providers, and Courts Must Help Protect Reasoned Awards,” 38 Alternatives 56 (Apr. 2020);
  1. “Parties Usually Benefit Most from Reasoned Awards, Not Standard Awards,” 38 Alternatives 44 (Mar. 2020);
  1. “Parties, Beware: Current Practices and Judicial Standards Threaten Your Right to Truly Reasoned Awards,”  38 Alternatives 19 (Feb. 2020).


  1. With Allison Snyder, “The Second Circuit Needs to Break Precedent to Protect Reasoned Arbitration Awards,” 12 N.Y.S. Disp. Resol. Lawyer 16 (2019);
  1. “The Arbitration Award: Delivering a Quality Decision,” presented at AAA/ICDR 2019 Panel Conference, Nashville, Tenn. (Mar. 8-9, 2019).


  1. “Mineral Implied Covenants: Why Royalty Owners Still Should Care About Them,” presented at presented at National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) Annual Convention, Denver, CO (October 19, 2018);
  1. “Real-World Questions about Awards and Arbitrator Decisionmaking: A Modest Problem Set,” presented at AAA Roundtable, San Francisco, CA (June 6, 2018);
  1. “Ten Practices to Embrace, Ten to Shun, When Writing Awards” and “Award and PostAward Issues” [moderator, with Karen Evans and Francisco Rodriguez), both presented at ABA Arbitrator Training Institute, Miami, FL (May 17-18, 2018);
  1. “Putting Arbitration in Your Trial Toolbox: How to Stop Worrying About the Panel Hearing and Learn to Love It Instead,” presented at Litigation Counsel of America Renaissance Symposium XIII, San Francisco, CA (April 20, 2018).


   1.  Co-author, revisions to Chapter 12, Awards and Substantive Interlocutory Arbitral Decisions, in COLLEGE OF COMMERCIAL              ARBITRATORS, GUIDE TO BEST PRACTICES IN COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION (4th ed. 2017);

  1. “The Tom Brady Award and the Merit of Reasoned Awards,” 8 Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, no. 2  (2017);
  1. “Reasoned Awards: Why the Fuss? Why the Confusion?” presented at AAA Roundtable, San Francisco, CA (Feb. 8, 2017).


  1. “Arbitrator Use and Misuse of Experts,” presented at AAA Roundtable, San Francisco, CA. (Nov. 11, 2015);
  1. Co-author, “Arbitration: The Underused Alternative for Oil and Gas Disputes,” Texas Lawyer (June 17, 2015).


  1. “Twenty-Five Years On: Arbitration Sails Onward Over the Supportive Sea of International Commerce,” 7 World Arb. & Med. Rev., No. 2;
  1. Co-presenter: “Trying the Expert Case,” presented at Litigation Counsel of America Fall Conference, The Greenbrier, West Virginia (Oct. 17, 2013).


  1. “Growing Pains: Building American Arbitration’s Legitimacy Through Everyday Arbitral Decisions, 5 World Arbitration & Mediation Review 57 (2011).


  1. “Do Arbitrators Know Something that Judges Don’t?,” 94 Judicature 107 (2010).


  1. “Draft to Make Arbitrators Follow the Law,” The Recorder (Dec. 18, 2009).



Case Experience

  • Anti-Trust
  • Appellate
  • Banking & Finance
  • Business Dissolution
  • Class Actions
  • Commercial/Business
  • Consumer Fraud
  • Contract Disputes
  • Employment
  • Energy Sector (Oil/Gas)
  • Franchise
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • International
  • Mining
  • Native American
  • Partnerships
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Professional Negligence
  • Public Policy
  • Real Estate
  • Securities
  • Taxation
  • Torts
  • Trusts / Estates
  • Unfair Competition
  • Utilities


Ph.D.                University of California (Berkeley), Goldman School of Public Policy 2003.

M.P.A.             Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government. 1994.

J.D.                  University of Texas, School of Law. Chancellor, Order of the Coif. Editor-in-Chief, Texas Law Review 1981-1982.  1984.

M.A.                University of Connecticut (Economics). 1977.

B.A.                  Brown University. Magna cum laude, Phi Betta Kappa. 1975.

Other Education and Training:

Harvard Project on Negotiation, Initial and Advanced Programs. Summer 1994.

London School of Economics, Summer Graduate School. Summer 1992.

AAA, CCA, LCIA, CPR, FINRA, IBA: arbitration training programs and meetings.

Memberships & Affiliations


Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIARB)

Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators (CCA)

Neutral, American Arbitration Association (AAA): Large Complex Case, Commercial, Oil and Gas, National Energy Panels

Distinguished Neutral, CPR Institute of Dispute Resolution (CPR): California, Oil, Gas and Energy, and Banking Panels

Neutral, Fed-Arb: Commercial Neutral; also on Antitrust, Commercial, Oil Gas Energy and Water, Insurance, International, 

Securities/Financial Services Specialized Panels

Member, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN)

International Arbitrator lists, LCIA, KLRCA, Roster of International Arbitrators

Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (LCA)

Advisory Board, Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA)

Member, Silicon Valley Arbitration & Mediation Center (SVAMC)

Member, Texas State Bar College

Past-President, International Institute on Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law

Member, Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Active Licenses: State Bars of Alaska, California, and Texas

Member, American Bar Association

Member, American Judicature Society

Member, International Bar Association


Law Office of John Burritt McArthur, trial lawyer, arbitrator, 2008-present.

Hosie McArthur, LLP, San Francisco, trial lawyer, 1999-2008.

Solo Practice, Berkeley, CA, 1992-1999, trial lawyer  (while taking M.P.A. and Ph.D course work)

Susman Godfrey, Houston, Texas, trial lawyer, associate (1983-1988) and partner (1988-1992).

Judge Joseph Sneed, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, San Francisco, law Clerk, 1982-1983.

Advo Systems, over-the-road tractor-trailer driver, 1978-1979.

Coca Cola of East Hartford, delivery driver, summers 1970-1974 and 1975-1976.

Representative George Ritter, assistant to lawyer and state representative, Hartford, Conn., 1971-1972.


Rates Information

Time billed at $600 per hour. Travel and other costs billed at actual cost. Time spent working during travel time billed, nonworking travel time not billed. Cancellation: In cases with more than $500,000 in issue that are set for hearings of three days or more, will charge half hourly rates for eight hours per day of scheduled hearing dates if cases settles in less than 60 days before hearing, full hourly rates if case settles in less than thirty days. No cancellation fees for cases with less than $500,000 at stake or set for less than three days.

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