Judge Wagner is a seasoned legal professional with over 40 years of experience as a trial lawyer, judge, and neutral. Before his appointment, he represented clients on both sides and tried complex cases in state and federal courts. At the age of 31, he was appointed as a United States Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Oklahoma, where he was tasked with reducing the court’s extensive backlog. He successfully achieved this by establishing a court-annexed mediation program while maintaining a full civil calendar and serving as a mediator. His innovative program became an example for federal courts across the country.
After 12 years of dedicated service, he left the court to pursue his passion for alternative dispute resolution full-time. He co-founded the ADR Center at Irell & Manella before joining Judicate West in 2005. Throughout his career, he has served as a mediator, arbitrator, private judge, special master, and referee in thousands of cases.
Judge Wagner specializes in legally challenging matters involving multiple parties and has earned a reputation for excelling in particularly protracted, difficult, and emotionally charged cases. He prides himself in his persistence and consistently utilizes new and creative techniques to help parties achieve resolution.
Below is a sampling of the various matters Hon. John Leo Wagner, Ret. presided over on the bench, tried as an attorney, or handled as a neutral.
In his spare time, Judge Wagner enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons, who share in his interest in muscle cars, backpacking, chess and travel.
"Judge Wagner was fully prepared, hard-working, and patient. We would definitely use him again. "
- Shareholder at a Southern California Law Firm and Litigator for over 52 Years
"Judge Wagner is great. He is honest and straightforward; he understands psychology and human nature. I have settled all cases I have brought before him."
- Partner at a National Law Firm
"Judge Wagner was patient when appropriate, firm when he needed to be and "acted like a judge" when that was needed, and that was very helpful in the process. I loved his methodology for reducing plaintiff's demands and increasing defendant's offers."
- Attorney, Orange County, California
"Judge Wagner's overall approach was very effective. He was very receptive to recommendations by the parties concerning how mediation should proceed. He managed both sides well in a difficult mediation."
- Attorney, Michigan
"Judge Wagner was creative in fashioning a compromise. "
- California Attorney General, Ret.
"We had a very good experience. Judge Wagner utilized unique mediation techniques to facilitate continued settlement discussions when it appeared to us that the case would not settle and my client was inclined to call it a day."
- Attorney on a Federal Employment Issues Case
"Judge Wagner was simply outstanding. I will use him again for sure."
- Attorney on a Complex Commercial Matter
"From his introduction, to the close of the day, Judge Wagner was the epitome of a mediator. On a very difficult liability case with horrific injuries, he delicately found the middle ground guiding the parties to what will resolve a truly difficult case. One of the most compelling attributes of Judge Wagner is his compassion and relating to clients. Because of Judge Wagner my clients came away from the experience with new respect for the legal system and mediation."
- Attorney, Inland Empire, California
1925 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 90067
601 S. Figueroa
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Fax : 213.223.1114
980 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax : 916.394.8495
402 W. Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
Fax : 619.814.1967