Hon. Robert McGuiness (Ret.)

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“Drawing upon my five-decade legal journey, I embark on this new chapter at Signature Resolution with a deep commitment to facilitating thoughtful resolutions. My emphasis on open communication and a wealth of experience in civil matters gained both on the bench and in private practice, will be integral in fostering constructive dialogue and guiding parties towards mutually beneficial outcomes. I look forward to contributing to Signature Resolution's tradition of excellence and playing a role in resolving complex disputes in Northern California and beyond."

Case Administrator

Practice Areas

  • Business and Commercial Contracts
  • Catastrophic Injury
  • Civil Litigation
  • Employment
  • Family Law
  • Insurance
  • Mass Tort
  • Personal Injury
  • Real Estate
  • Securities


  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles​
  • B.A., Santa Clara University


With a legal career spanning five decades, Hon. Robert McGuiness (Ret.) brings extensive experience within a wide range of civil matters to Signature Resolution’s panel of neutrals. 

Judge McGuiness’ courtroom experience commenced at seven years of age, watching his father, William J. McGuiness, serve as an Alameda County Superior Court Judge. At the time of his retirement in 2024, the family had served 100 years as judges, including his brother Bill, former Administrative Presiding Justice of the First District Court of Appeal; his wife, Yolanda, former Presiding Judge of the Alameda County Superior Court; and himself, an 18-year Alameda County Superior Court Judge.

After graduating from the UCLA School of Law in 1975, Judge McGuiness served as the research attorney for the Sonoma County Superior Court. Thereafter, he was the founding partner of the Oakland law firm McGuiness and Northridge, which conducted a wide-ranging civil litigation practice, including family law, general civil litigation, securities class actions, and major probate litigation.​​

The breadth of Judge McGuiness’ experience is reflected in his litigation history. In his twenties, he represented a client whose family law matter raised constitutional and choice of law issues, resulting in a published Court of Appeal opinion and ultimate petition to the United States Supreme Court. He was the personal lawyer for the lead plaintiff in the matter of the Estate of H. Earl Hoover, which resulted in three published opinions in the State of Illinois. He was class counsel for the shareholders in the Lucky Stores shareholders securities litigation which resulted in a class benefit of over one billion dollars.

He was appointed to the bench by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005. Since then he has served as a Supervising Judge of both a criminal and civil courthouse. He spent nearly 10 years as an active civil trial judge. During the last four years of his judicial career, he served as the Supervising Judge of the Court’s Civil Litigation Settlement Unit, where he conducted hundreds of settlement conferences. He frequently presented to local bar associations and professional organizations on a wide array of topics regarding civil trial practice. As a lawyer and judge, he tried hundreds of civil cases, resulting in 13 published opinions. 

As a mediator, Judge McGuiness emphasizes thoughtful resolutions that allow parties to move forward with their lives. He relies on strong engagement with the parties and their counsel and, through the same, seeks an understanding of the dynamics and personalities involved. Maintaining open communication is a cornerstone of his approach. Judge McGuiness’ wealth of experience makes him a strong addition to Signature Resolution’s panel of neutrals. His unwavering commitment to excellence and his passion for thoughtful mediated results will substantially impact those who mediate with him and continue to establish Signature Resolution’s presence in Northern California.


  • Judge, Superior Court of Alameda County (2005-2024)​
  • Founding Partner, McGuiness and Northridge ​
  • Research Attorney, Sonoma County Superior Court

Professional Achievements and Memberships

  • Chair and co-chair, Alameda County Superior Court ADR Committee (2019-2023)​
  • Supervising Judge, George McDonald Courthouse (Civil) (2019-2023) ​
  • Supervising Judge, Alameda County Superior Court Civil Litigation Settlement Unit (2019-2023)​
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association (2012)​
  • Member, Alameda County Superior Court Executive Committee (2009-2013; 2019-2023) ​
  • Supervising Judge, Wiley Manual Courthouse (Criminal) (2009-2011) ​
  • Chair, Alameda Superior Court Revenue Maximization Committee (2009) ​
  • Recipient, Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers in America (1998-2005)​
  • Recipient, Best Lawyers in America (1992-2005) ​
  • Martindale Hubbell AV rated (1992-2005)​
  • Lecturer, Alameda County Bar Association, San Francisco Bar Association, and ABOTA focusing on evidence, civility in the law, mediation and civil trial practice (2011-2023)