Hon. John R. Stegner (Ret.)

MEDIATOR | ARBITRATOR | SPECIAL MASTER

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“As I embark on this new chapter with Signature Resolution, I am honored to contribute my decades of legal experience and passion for mediation to facilitate meaningful resolutions. Mediation is the art of the possible—a chance to uncover elegant solutions and empower individuals amidst legal complexities. My goal is to guide disputing parties with a steady hand, fostering understanding and collaboration to pave the way for closure and mutual satisfaction. With dedication to resolution and innovation, I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to help clients navigate their disputes.”

Case Administrator

Practice Areas

  • Business and Commercial Contracts
  • Civil
  • Employment
  • Insurance

Education

  • J.D., University of Idaho College of Law
  • B.A., Whitman College

Biography

Former Idaho Supreme Court Justice John R. Stegner (Ret.) brings decades of litigation and mediation experience to Signature Resolution’s panel of neutrals as both a trial lawyer and a trial judge.

Justice Stegner views mediation as the art of the possible. With significant experience mediating cases as a trial judge, he often counseled participants on the flexibility and ingenuity available in resolving disputes through mediation. Justice Stegner highlighted the emotional and financial toll litigation extracts from individuals. He advocated for mediation as the preferable path for those seeking control in resolving their disputes. Notably, Justice Stegner mediated cases upon the request of other judges, never those assigned to him. In his mediation practice, Justice Stegner pursues elegant solutions that frequently reveal themselves in unexpected ways.

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Whitman College, Justice Stegner pursued his juris doctorate at the University of Idaho College of Law, where he was a member and managing editor of the Idaho Law Review. After graduating in 1982, he began his career as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Harold L. Ryan. Following his clerkship, he became a trial lawyer with the firm Clements, Brown & McNichols, trying cases in both state and federal court and mediating a majority of the cases that he dealt with. While mediation was nascent at the beginning of his trial practice, it became apparent early on during his law practice that mediation was a more sensible and cost-effective way to resolve disputes. 

After over ten years of navigating countless legal battles, Justice Stegner sought a more neutral path. He transitioned to the bench as a trial judge in a general jurisdiction court, spending twenty years resolving disputes formally on the bench and informally as a mediator. Notably, he pioneered innovative solutions such as establishing and overseeing a drug court for sixteen years and a mental health court for six years. Justice Stegner’s commitment to improving the approach to handling mental health and addiction in the criminal justice system inspired these initiatives. Even after his tenure, both courts continue to operate under new leadership. Eventually, after over two decades as a trial judge, he ascended to Idaho’s Supreme Court as an associate justice, retiring on October 31, 2023.

In addition to his esteemed tenure on the bench, Justice Stegner is the recipient of the George G. Granata Jr. professionalism award, the most prestigious accolade bestowed upon a judge by the Idaho Judiciary. 

Additionally, in 2017, he received the Idaho State Bar’s Distinguished Jurist Award, the highest form of recognition extended by the Bar to a member of the Idaho judiciary. Upon his retirement from the Supreme Court, the Idaho Bar presented him with a special honorary award in recognition of his distinguished service as a jurist.

Having joined Signature Resolution, Justice Stegner eagerly anticipates leveraging his extensive experience as a mediator. Fundamentally, he is a problem-solver who delights in facilitating amicable resolutions. Few experiences rival the satisfaction he feels when disputing parties shake hands after a challenging day, marking the closure of a contentious chapter in their lives. Justice Stegner considers it a privilege to be entrusted with guiding litigants toward successfully resolving their disputes.

Experience

  • Justice, Idaho Supreme Court (2018-2023) 
  • Administrative District Judge for Idaho’s Second Judicial District, State of Idaho (2002-2005, 2012-2015) 
  • Idaho District Judge, State of Idaho (1997-2018)  
  • Attorney, Clements, Brown & McNichols PA (1984-1996) 
  • Law Clerk, United States District Judge Harold L. Ryan (1982-1984)  
  • Legal Intern, Office of the Attorney General of the State of Idaho, Division of Natural Resources (1981) 
  • Legal Extern, United States Court of Appeals Judge J. Blaine Anderson (1981)

Professional Achievements and Memberships

  • Sheldon A Vincenti Award, University of Idaho College of Law (2014) 
  • Member, Idaho Supreme Court Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee (2013-2023) 
  • George G. Granata Jr. Award, Idaho Judiciary (2012)
  • Distinguished Jurist Award, Idaho State Bar (2017)
  • Member, Idaho Supreme Court Felony Sentencing Committee (2008-2018)   
  • Member, Idaho Criminal Justice Commission (2005-2018)
  • Member, Idaho Supreme Court Statewide Drug Court Coordinating Committee (2001-2018)
  • Member, Idaho Supreme Court Civil Rules Advisory Committee (2000-2015)
  • Member, Idaho Supreme Court Rules of Evidence Advisory Committee (1998-2016)