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Mar. 23, 2022

Hon. Mary Fingal Schulte, (Ret.)

See more on Hon. Mary Fingal Schulte, (Ret.)



Probate, medical/legal malpractice, family law, personal injury, insurance coverage, CCP 638/639 references/trials.

Prior to her appointment to the Orange County Superior Court in 1997, Judge Schulte was a civil trial attorney, specializing in medical malpractice, personal injury/products liability, and insurance coverage matters.

While on the bench, she served on the court's civil, family law (long cause trials), and probate/mental health panels (supervising judge 2009-2014). Since her retirement from the bench in 2017, she has been a neutral with ADR Services, Inc.

While mediation comprises the majority of her practice, as a retired judge, she welcomes appointments (pursuant to stipulation of the parties and counsel) as a CCP Section 638/639 referee to preside over discovery matters, probate accountings, and private trials for probate/ trust, general civil, and family law matters. She also conducts private trials under Cal. Constitution Article VI and serves as Special Master in probate/trust administration matters.

As a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), she draws on her experience of close to 40 years in the courtroom to encourage settlements, sometimes achieved via a mediator's proposal.

Judge Schulte believes that a pre-mediation telephone call with counsel is an important part of preparation, and calls counsel after reading the briefs. In mediation, she uses a mix of facilitative and evaluative approaches. Lawyers greatly appreciate her mediation follow up via telephone calls, emails, Zoom chats, and texts. These relentless efforts have resulted in many settlements.

In her discovery references, Judge Schulte welcomes informal telephonic or Zoom discovery conferences. With arbitrations and private trials or references, she also is available to counsel for such informal conferences, which often streamline the proceedings for the parties.

Judge Schulte is committed to continuing judicial and legal education, and several times a year is a speaker or panelist in her specialty areas for various bar association groups.



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