Denise Peterson is a full-time professional neutral, focusing her practice exclusively on alternative dispute resolution services. She mediates both civil and probate cases and is on multiple arbitration panels. Now in her tenth year of practice as an attorney, she is licensed in both the states of Texas and New York and she is a solicitor to the Senior Courts of England and Wales. As a current fellow and past chair for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, she helped the organization achieve diversity goals by taking the law student membership nationwide from less than a dozen to over one hundred and fifty inside of a year. She currently serves on the Scholarship Committee as a board member for The Woodlands Bar Association.
Ms. Peterson is a sought-after speaker for continuing legal education classes on mediation tactics and strategies, mediation ethics, implicit bias, LGBT issues in mediation, and avoiding grievances. For discussions of mediation tactics and strategies, Ms. Peterson takes her audiences beyond “Getting to Yes” and into the impacts of emotions, cognitive biases, framing effects, prospect theory, and loss aversion on party behaviors. As we move more into an online world, she has expanded the discussions to include the impacts of remote connection and emotional distancing.
Implicit bias has been a critical issue and area of discussion for legal professionals and the courts as awareness of the impact of bias is becoming more fully understood. In her approach to teaching, Ms. Peterson focuses on the unique commonalities of culture, showing through analogies how unconscious factors can impact every day decision making.
Ms. Peterson is committed to bar service and currently is a member of the local Houston grievance committee for the State Bar of Texas and serves as the chair for her district. She is also a member of the Association of Attorney-Mediators and a Houston Bar Foundation Fellow as well as being a member of diverse specialized bar organizations including the Mexican-American Bar Association of Houston, the Muslim-American Bar Association of Houston and is a sustaining member with the Houston Young Lawyers Association. Her memberships also include the Houston International Arbitrator’s Club and the Houston Maritime Arbitrator’s Association. She is a member of the Texas Bar Honors College as well. Committed to access to justice, Ms. Peterson is the founder of the Texas Volunteer Mediator’s Association (TXVMA.org) which provides pro bono and low bono mediation services to the people of Texas. She co-founded “Sock It to Me,” an annual sock and clothing drive for the homeless of Harris County which benefits Homefull.us and HomeSearch.
Ms. Peterson is the recipient of the 2020 Rising Star Super Lawyer and a three-time recipient of Houstonia’s Best of Houston Attorneys, from 2018 to 2020. She is often found out on mountain bike trails either riding them or building them with her family or at home reading and providing butler services to her three purrilegals: Hugin, Snicker, and Mayor.