Denise Peterson is a full-time professional neutral, focusing her practice exclusively on dispute resolution services. She mediates both civil and probate cases and is on multiple arbitration panels. Now in her thirteenth 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. Martindale-Hubbell has rated her as Preeminent since 2022. She was formerly rated a Rising Star and has received the SuperLawyer accolade since 2021.
She is an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law, where she teaches the mediation clinic and negotiation. Her negotiation class, Negotiation for Litigation Attorneys, is an all-new class based on Professor Barney Jordaan's excellent textbook, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution for Lawyers. The class is designed to address the negotiation skills needed for new attorneys in an experiential environment. Practicums will be based on real cases and cover the entire litigation arc, from pre-filing settlement discussions to discovery disputes.
For her mediation clinic students, not only will she supervise their mediation with the EEOC and the local dispute resolution centers, but with the permission of her clients, these students will shadow her during her private practice mediations.
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 a year.
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 everyday decision making.
https://txvma.org/Graduating from University of Houston Magna Cum Laude in History in 2007, Ms. Peterson then went on to obtain her juris doctorate from South Texas College of Law in 2010. During her law school years, she interned at the Harris County District Attorney’s Family Criminal Law Division while simultaneously working with the Innocence Project on non-Harris county matters.
After graduating from law school, Ms. Peterson was an associate with Morgan Lewis before setting out on her own to open her own practice at the end of 2015. During her time at Morgan Lewis, Ms. Peterson worked on such diverse matters as representing mortgage services during the mortgage crisis, asbestos docket work, insurance defense, and employment law defense as well as other diverse matters.
Ms. Peterson is committed to bar service and is currently a member of the continuing legal education committee for the Houston Bar Association. She is also a member of the Association of Attorney-Mediators and a Houston Bar Foundation Fellow as well as 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 of 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.
She is often found 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.