Don Philbin is an innovative and tenacious mediator with a demonstrated history of resolving complex disputes. Recognized as a thought leader in Chambers USA, Who’s Who Legal, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers, Don is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Civil Trial Mediators and International Academy of Mediators. He has served as chair of the Texas Bar ADR Section, is a teacher, author, and developer of Picture it Settled®, a pioneering software tool akin to “Moneyball” for negotiation.


  • LL.M. in Dispute Resolution (2007), Pepperdine University School of Law (Straus Institute) (capstone paper in Harvard Negotiation Law Review)
  • MBA – Executive Program (2001), University of Texas at San Antonio
  • JD (1987), Pepperdine University School of Law; Pepperdine Law Review (1985–1987); Moot Court Board (1986–1987)
  • BA, Business Administration (1984), Trinity University; Intern, The White House (1984), United States Senate (Don Nickles, 1983), University President (1982–1983)

Mediation Training

  • Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law (ranked No. 1 in the country by S. News and World Report multiple times, including years of LL.M. training) (TADRA §154.052(a))
  • Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School: The Program on Negotiation for Senior Executives and Dealing with Difficult People and Difficult Situations (2007)
  • Cambridge Executive Enterprises: Senior Executive Training (MIT Professor John J. Donovan (2002))
  • Global Pound Conference Austin (co-director, 2017)
  • International Academy of Mediators: Advanced Mediation Training (2010 (faculty), 2011, 2012, 2014, 2017 (faculty), 2019); Mediation 2021: Where Do We Go From Here?; Mediation 2022: Where Do We Go From Here? Empirical Studies of Videoconferencing; Impasse is a Fallacy (2022)
  • American Academy of Civil Trial Mediators, Advanced Mediation Training (2010 (faculty), 2012, 2013 (faculty), 2017), 2018, 2019, 2021; 2023)
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals: Advanced Mediation Training Retreat (2010, 2011 (faculty), 2013 (faculty))
  • Association of Attorney-Mediators (2008 (faculty), 2009, 2010, 2011 (faculty), 2012 (faculty), 2014 (faculty); 2015 (faculty)
  • Advanced Commercial Mediation Institute (AAA and ACR) (2008, 2011 (faculty))
  • Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association: Advanced Mediation and Advocacy Skills Training (2007, 2014 (faculty), 2017 (faculty)); Annual Conferences (faculty 2008–2017)
  • Texas Bar CLE: Advanced Mediation: Skills and Techniques (2009, 2009, 2010, 2011 (course director), 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 (faculty))
  • Global Collaborative Law Council, Civil Collaborative Training (September 2009)
  • Securities Arbitration & Mediation Hot Topics (City Bar of New York 2011 (faculty))
  • Austin Dispute Resolution Center, Advanced Family Mediation Training (2007) (TADRA §154.052(b)); Texas Council on Family Violence Training (2017).
  • Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center, Group Facilitation Skills Training (2007), Children’s Court Training (2010)

Fellowships and Honors

    • Chambers Band 1 (USA Nationwide Mediators: 2019–present)
    • The International Who’s Who of Mediation (Commercial Mediation: 2011–present); North American Thought Leader (Mediation: 2017, 2022, 2023)
    • The Best Lawyers in America® (Alternative Dispute Resolution: 2007–present); “Lawyer of the Year” (Mediation: 2014, 2016, 2021, 2024; Arbitration: 2018)
    • Texas Super Lawyers (Alternative Dispute Resolution: 2010–present)
    • Outstanding Lawyer in Mediation (2011), San Antonio Business Journal
    • Distinguished Service Award (2011), Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center
    • The Best Lawyers in San Antonio (Arbitration and Mediation: 2007–present)
    • Martindale-Hubbell rating: AV (1999–present)
    • American Academy of Civil Trial Mediators (Fellow: 2009–present); Editorial Board, American Journal of Mediation (2012–present)
    • International Academy of Mediators (Distinguished Fellow: 2010–present)
    • Association of Attorney–Mediators (Member: 2007–present; San Antonio Chapter President: 2013–2020; National President’s Award: 2013)
    • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (Distinguished Fellow: 2010–present); Texas Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (Founding Member and Executive Committee Member: 2010–present)
    • Fellow, College of the State Bar of Texas (1997–present)
    • Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation (2001–present)
    • Life Fellow, San Antonio Bar Foundation (2007–present)
    • Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation (2009–present)

Professional and Community Activities

  • William S. Sessions American Inn of Court (1990–present): Immediate Past President (2013–2014); President (2012–2013); President-Elect (2011–2012); Vice-President (2010– 2011); Treasurer (2009–2010); Secretary (2008–2009); American Inns of Court Foundation: National CMS Advisory Board (2008–2010)
  • State Bar of Texas (1988–present): Alternative Dispute Resolution Section (2006–present): ADR Section Chair (2014–2015); Chair-Elect (2013–2014); Treasurer (2012–2013); Council (2009–2012); Communications Committee Chair (2011–2014); Purpose Committee Chair (2012–2013); CLE Program (Chair, 2011; Committee 2012–2015)
  • American Bar Association: Dispute Resolution Section (2006–2017): Technology Committee (Chair 2013–2014); Negotiation Committee (Chair 2009–2011; co-chair 2011–2012); Task Force on Planned Early Dispute Resolution (2011–2012)
  • San Antonio Bar Association (1988–present): Publications Committee (2010–present); CLE Committee (2009–2016); ADR Committee (2007–present); Technology Committee (2012–2014)
  • Association of Attorney–Mediators: Member (2007–present); San Antonio Chapter President (2013–2020)
  • Rotary Club of San Antonio (2005–2014): Director (2008–2009); Secretary–Treasurer (2009–2010); Sergeant-at-Arms committee (2007–2014); Trinity Rotaract committee (2008–2012)
  • Trinity University: Chair of the Associates Program (2009–2017); Alumni President and Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Trustees (1993–1995); Board of Visitors (2004–2006; 2009–2020); Business Advisory Council (1999–2018)
  • First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio (1987–present): Elder (2007–2010); Welcoming and Belonging Committee (2007–2010; Chair 2009–2010); Benevolence Oversight Committee (2008–2010); Usher (1998–2017); Stewardship and Finance Committee (1989–2090)
  • Goodwill Industries of San Antonio: Advisory Council (2007–2010)
  • Leadership San Antonio XXIX (2003–2004)
  • Judicial Conference of the Fifth Federal Circuit: Host Committee (1990 & 1994)
  • Adjunct Professor, Pepperdine University School of Law (2008–present)
  • Instructor, Dispute Resolution, Southern Methodist University (2013–2015)
  • Guest Lecturer, Trinity University Business Department (various), St. Mary’s University School of Law (2009–2012), University of Cincinnati School of Law (Advanced Decision Analysis 2009); University of Texas School of Law (Alternative Dispute Resolution 2012)
  • Frequent Volunteer Mediator, Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center, Hill County Dispute Resolution Center, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
© Donald R. Philbin, Jr., P.C.
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