Alameda County
Bar Association

ACBA Member Spotlight: Mark Goodman 

Member Spotlight with Mark Goodman

Mark Goodman
ACBA member Mark Goodman

Prior to transitioning from a solo practice to becoming a full time mediator, ACBA member Mark Goodman served as Deputy County Counsel in Alameda County and was a partner in the law firm of McNamara, Ney, Beatty, Slattery, Borges & Ambacher LLP, and managing partner and senior trial attorney for the Law Offices of Haskell and Goodman LLP. Mark serves as the Co-Chair of the ACBA ADR Section with Gary Sanders.

When did you know you wanted to be a lawyer?

It was a process beginning in my junior year at Cal. My major was Conservation of Natural Resources. I took a class on state and federal environmental regulation that spoke to my desire to protect nature and the ocean where I had spent a lot of time surfing and sailing. I thought at the time that pursuing a legal career would enable me to among other things contribute to the efforts being made to address the political erosion of regulatory protections.

If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what would you be doing instead?

I probably would be teaching Chinese history to college students.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were first admitted practicing?

I wish I had known to create more balance between my personal and professional life to maintain my physical, mental, and spiritual health.  

What is the biggest challenge facing you as a lawyer today?

I have transitioned from practicing to working as a mediator. When practicing law my biggest challenge was resisting the urge to make my work my life instead of making my life my work. Although I was fortunate enough to be able to at times set priorities and make choices that enriched me personally it was difficult for me to resist the urge to be a slave to my practice.

What is your favorite part of being a lawyer?

When practicing it was helping people and presenting cases to juries. I also enjoyed learning about the areas I specialized in and forming relationships with my peers and colleagues.  

What is your dream vacation?

Spending a month on Kuai with my wife and dog relaxing, surfing, and hiking.  This would literally be a dream vacation because we would have our dog Levi with us.

What are you reading now?

I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and am now reading The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan.

What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?

I am a Buddhist and write poetry.

What person, living or dead, real or fictional, would you like to have dinner with?

One of my favorite poets Gary Snyder.

Why do you choose to be a member of the ACBA? What is the greatest benefit you have enjoyed as a member?

Being a member of the ACBA provides an opportunity to give back to the legal community that I have practiced in for over 30 years.  Besides meeting and spending time with fellow ACBA members, the current greatest benefit comes from being a member of and serving as Co-Chair with Gary Sanders on the ADR Executive Committee.  This year we are working with the Alameda County Superior Court ADR committee to create ways to reduce the courts backlog of cases. Towards that end, we are working with other ACBA committees in collaboration with the Superior Court to formulate policies and procedures that promote early dispute resolution in civil matters handled by the ACBA membership and other legal professionals working in Alameda County. In addition to being a member of the ADR Executive Committee, I get a lot of satisfaction from helping to mediate cases in the volunteer Day of Court Program.

Get involved, join Mark and the ACBA ADR Section!

The ACBA Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section promotes litigation alternatives by providing a forum for information-exchange and discussion, and serving as a liaison with the judiciary. The Section, led by the Executive Committee, also presents several MCLEs and networking opportunities throughout the year.

View our calendar of events here – ACBA members get free, unlimited MCLE programs, or check out our collection of recordings here, also free and unlimited for ACBA members!

To join the section, please contact our Membership Department at (510) 302-2200 or