Academy Member Inducted 2017

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Frank Joseph Ochoa, Mediator & Arbitrator, Santa Barbara, California.

Frank Joseph Ochoa

Diplomate member
Destination Dispute Resolution LLC
222 East Carrillo St., Suite 300
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Tel: (805) 451-1240
Cell: (805) 451-1240
Fax: (805) 963-7311
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Recognized to California Chapter for Mediation & Arbitration Other ADR Services: ADR Training/CME, Court-Appointed Neutral (Special Master), Discovery Referee, Early Neutral Evaluation, Fact Finding, Insurance Umpire, Med-Arb, Mini-Trial Judge
Video Conferencing
  • Practice Commenced2015
  • # of MEDS (as of 14/7/24)250
  • # of ARBS (as of 14/7/24)50
Current Practice
Online / In-Person
  • NAPA


     Of Counsel: The Sanger Firm. Mediation and Arbitration practice with limited case representation in civil and criminal cases.

     Judge Ochoa was a Santa Barbara County Trial Court Judge for 32 years.  He was a Municipal Court Judge for for 14 years, and a Superior Court Judge for 18 years.  He was elected to six terms of office.  Ochoa has been a private neutral for more than eight years. 
     He settled tens of thousands of cases in his judicial career.  He also conducted many thousands of jury and court trials, as well as other trial court proceedings, including cases with statewide and national attention.  He handled lengthy, complex, multi-party trial proceedings on numerous occasions.   
     Ochoa developed a reputation as one of the primary settlement judges on the Santa Barbara County Superior Court.  Judicial colleagues would often send difficult cases to him for a "final" settlement conference.  In a Los Angeles Daily Journal "Judicial Profile" published on July 17, 2008, it was said of Ochoa, He is "a patient, compassionate, intelligent judge....a leader in Santa Barbara's legal community...Ochoa excels in settlement negotiations..."
     Ochoa handled all court assignments during his tenure on the bench.  He has tried, or handled as a private neutral, virtually all types of case disputes.  He has also taught university level courses and lawyer state approved educational seminars on aspects of employment discrimination and ethics in mediation.  His university teaching involved instruction in aspects of immigration law, education law, and a variety of civil rights related issues.  As a Law Professor, Ochoa has taught Legal Method and Process, Statutory Law, and Professional Ethics courses.
     As Presiding Judge of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court between 1998 and 2001, Ochoa managed the court consolidation of the Municipal and Justice Courts into a single countywide Superior Court.  He also oversaw the court's move to its current state funding and administrative base.  In addition, he designed, developed and implemented the court's ADR program, the CADRe program, which has become a state model for court-connected ADR programs.  (See:  
     He was awarded the Santa Barbara County Bar Association's "President's Award" in 1999, its "John T. Rickard Judicial Service Award" in 2012, and the Southern California Mediation Association's "Judge of the Year" Award in 2000, for development of the CADRe program.   

Case Experience

  • ADA Disability
  • Agricultural
  • Appellate
  • Automotive
  • Aviation
  • Business Dissolution
  • Commercial/Business
  • Community Associations
  • Contract Disputes
  • Cross Cultural
  • Debt Collections
  • Discrimination
  • Divorce (High Asset)
  • Education
  • EEOC
  • Elder Abuse
  • Eminent Domain
  • Employment
  • Energy Sector (Oil/Gas)
  • Entertainment Sector
  • Environmental
  • Family Businesses
  • Franchise
  • Health Care
  • Industrial
  • Insurance
  • Labor/Unions
  • Land Use/Planning
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Lemon Law
  • Libel & Slander
  • Local Govt./Municipalities
  • Media & Communications
  • Medical Devices
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Native American
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Nursing Homes
  • Partnerships
  • Personal Injury
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Police
  • Premises Liability
  • Probate
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Fees
  • Professional Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Professional Negligence
  • Property Damage
  • Public Policy
  • Real Estate
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Sports
  • Telecommunications
  • Title Disputes
  • Torts
  • Transportation
  • Trusts / Estates
  • Unfair Competition
  • Utilities
  • Wage & Hour/FMLA
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Wrongful Death


  • Martin Luther King Jr. School of Law, University of California, Davis 1975 - J.D.
  • University of California, Santa Barbara - Bachelor of Arts (English and History-double major)
  • Associate of Arts, Long Beach City College-English
  • Mediation Training: Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Continuing Judicial Studies Program (35 hours)
  • Mediating Training:  American Institute of Mediation, "Mediating Commercial & Litigated Cases (40 hours)
  • Arbitration Training:  American Arbitration Association, "Arbitration Fundamentals and Best Practices"
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN) Annual Conference; Advanced Mediation Training Course-2019
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN) Annual Confernece; Advanced Mediation Training Course-2022

Memberships & Affiliations

  • American Arbitration Association
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals-Diplomate Member
  • Resolute Systems, LLC 
  • Southern California Mediation Association
  • Santa Barbara County Superior Court (CADRe Program)
  • Ventura County Superior Court
  • California Judges Association

Rates Information

$600 per hour. 4 hour minimum. Compensation is for for all time spent including study, review and decision writing. Reasonable expenses for non-local proceedings as agreed upon at time of engagement.

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