Hon. Peter Wilson (Ret.)
MEDIATOR | ARBITRATOR | JUDICIAL & DISCOVERY REFEREE
“My career in law has been profoundly rewarding, and in joining Signature Resolution, I welcome the opportunity to continue to assist those caught up in the complexities of our judicial system. As an attorney, and then as a judge, I have experienced litigation from every angle, in almost every field, involving issues sometimes economic and sometimes personal, but always important to those involved. I believe I can bring that experience to bear in helping parties resolve their disputes fairly and expeditiously.”
- Administrative Law
- Business and Commercial Contracts
- Class Action
- Construction Defect
- Intellectual Property
- Mass Tort
- Real Estate
- Dip. Criminology, Edinburgh University
- LL.B, Rhodes University
- Bachelor of Commerce, Rhodes University
With over 40 years’ experience, Hon. Peter Wilson (Ret.) brings extensive expertise marked by sheer diversity to his role as mediator with Signature Resolution. From serving as a prosecutor in capital cases to handling various roles as a defense attorney, he has navigated through administrative law, business and commercial contract disputes, class actions, construction defects, employment law, health care, and intellectual property matters.
Judge Wilson’s journey as a judge began in 2010 after being appointed to the bench by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. His tenure as an Orange County Superior Court Judge was marked by a large and diverse caseload, dealing with sophisticated cases and embracing technological advancements in the court system. He served on the Orange County Superior Court’s Civil Complex Panel for the last five years of his tenure on the bench. His commitment to fairness and consideration of all perspectives is evident in his approach to his work.
Amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Judge Wilson demonstrated exceptional adaptability, embracing the integration of technology into legal proceedings. He proactively organized remote trials and mediations, utilizing platforms like Zoom to ensure the uninterrupted flow of legal processes. One such trial was a multi-party Court trial lasting over four months, entirely on Zoom from opening statements through judgment.
Judge Wilson’s initial interest in the legal profession was sparked by a love of debate and verbal exploration. Growing up in South Africa, he found the field of law intriguing, seeing it as a study of society. The notion that knowing the law equips one with the tools to make a difference resonated with him, and once he began his legal studies, he never looked back.
Educated at Rhodes University in South Africa, Judge Wilson holds both undergraduate and LL.B degrees, along with a diploma in criminology from Edinburgh University. His commitment to fundamental fairness and eliminating discrimination shaped his early career as a barrister in South Africa from 1977 to 1985.
He came to the United States in 1986 and was admitted to the California Bar in December of that year. He practiced as a trial lawyer in the Orange County office of Latham & Watkins LLP from 1986 through 2009, with 18 of those years as a partner. His practice centered on all aspects of business litigation, including professional liability; franchise, dealership and business opportunity disputes; alleged unfair and unlawful business practices disputes; real property disputes; design and construction disputes; building mold remediation; product design and defects disputes; securities litigation; class actions; class arbitration; intellectual property matters and employment matters.
Upon retiring from the bench in 2023, Judge Wilson is excited to embark on a new chapter as a mediator, joining Signature Resolution. Recognizing that successful mediation is vital for the legal system, he looks forward to making his contribution to this essential resolution process. He brings his extensive background in complexity to mediation, welcoming a variety of cases. His preferred approach involves thorough preparation, active listening, and a keen understanding of each party’s concerns. Patience and the ability to creatively bridge seemingly unbridgeable gaps are also key skills he prioritizes.
As Judge Wilson transitions into mediation, he remains eager to learn and contribute to the field. Excited about this new chapter, he approaches mediation with the same dedication and commitment that marked his distinguished career on the bench.
- Judge, Superior Court of Orange County (2010-2023)
- Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Irvine Company (2010)
- Partner, Latham & Watkins (1992-2010)
- Associate, Latham & Watkins (1986-1992)
- Barrister, South Africa (1977-1985)
Professional Achievements and Memberships
- Member, Judicial Council’s Court Technology Advisory Committee
- Member, Orange County Superior Court’s Technology Committee, Finance Committee,
and Security Committee
- Chair, Latham & Watkins Orange County Litigation Department
- Member, Latham & Watkins Orange County Professional Standards Committee
- Member, Latham & Watkins Orange County Equal Employment Opportunity Review Board
- Member, Orange County Bar Association’s Professionalism and Ethics Committee
- Member, Board of the Constitutional Rights Foundation
- Member, Board of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Member, Board of the Federal Bar Association