Nicole Mills, J.D

Associate Dean, School of Law

Nicole Mills photo

Areas Taught: 

Legal Methods


Professional Responsibility

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Legal Ethics (paralegal program)


Cornell Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1996

Bates College, B.A., cum laude, 1993

Select Publications (if applicable):

 (It will take me a little while to put those together


Quality Matters, Certified Peer Reviewer (can’t remember the year- probably 2012 or so, but did not renew when expired so not active)


California State Bar, Admitted December, 1997;

Northern District of California, Admitted December 1999

Eastern District of California, Admitted December 1999;

Maryland State Bar, Admitted December, 1996 (inactive) 

Select Professional Experience:


Owner/Mediator, Empower Mediation (formerly Mills ADR Services); Walnut Creek, CA- March, 2007- 2021

Owner and Mediator of practice focusing on litigated civil cases (commercial, business and insurance), divorce mediation and elder mediation in Contra Costa County. 

Member of the ADR Panel for the Contra Costa Superior Court- 2012- 2018          

Volunteer Mediator, Conflict Resolution Programs, Center for Human Development; Pleasant Hill, CA- August, 2007- 2020


Of Counsel, Garcia Law Group, APLC; Pleasanton, CA- June, 2004-Jan., 2007

Represented primarily small business clients (both Plaintiffs and Defendants) at all points in litigation.

Associate, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, LLP; San Francisco, CA- April, 2000-Feb. 2004 

Represented Defendants in large, complex securities class actions.

Associate, Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May; Oakland, CA- Jan. 1999-April, 2000     

Represented Defendants in commercial litigation and insurance related disputes.

Associate, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal; Washington, DC & Los Angeles- 1995, 1996- Dec. 1998

Drafted insurance coverage opinion letters and letters to insureds.  Represented families of victims of the bombing of Pan Am 103 in complex international civil litigation. 

Teaching Experience:

Chair, Legal Studies Programs & Core Faculty Law School, JFK College of Law- October, 2019- Dec, 2020

Chair of ABA approved Paralegal and BA programs in College of Law in charge of:

Day to day operations of paralegal and BA Program: hiring and overseeing faculty, scheduling classes, admissions, student issues, overall administration of program;

Moving on-ground paralegal program to an online program and transitioning that program to a new University (Northcentral University), overseeing development of entirely new online curriculum, hiring SME’s;

Maintaining ABA approval, including filings related to change of ownership and major change request relating to curriculum), all required reporting to ABA, tracking changes in delivery modalities due to Covid-19.

Member of the JFK University Faculty Senate

Core Faculty Law School:

Developed and taught the following classes:  Legal Methods, Professional Responsibility, and Remedies.

Member of the Academic Standards Committee

Member of the Admissions Committee

Adjunct Professor of Law, JFK College of Law- September, 2017- October, 2019

Developed and taught the following classes for JFK College of Law:  Professional Responsibility (online, hybrid and in person), ADR (online), Remedies (online), and Legal Methods (in person, developing online). 

Developed and taught the following classes for JFK University, Paralegal Certificate Program:  Family Law (hybrid), ADR (online), and Paralegal Ethics (online).

Adjunct Professor of Conflict Resolution, University of the Rockies- November, 2010- Present

Taught online classes for Masters Degree and Psy.D. Degree students in an Organizational Psychology program with an emphasis on conflict resolution. Classes taught to date include: Diagnosing Conflict, Intra and Interpersonal Conflict, Influencing Leaders to Resolve Conflict, Communications Strategies for Conflict Resolution, Managing Group and Organizational Conflict, Multicultural Conflict Resolution, and Developing Conflict Resolution Plans and Policies.

While at the Rockies, became a certified Peer Reviewer with Quality Matters and conducted a class review (and essentially re-developed the class) for the University of the Rockies to ensure compliance with Quality Matters standards.

Mediation Trainer, Center for Human Development; Pleasant Hill, CA-  April, 2010; May, 2014

Serve as coach and trainer for students taking 40-hour mediation course.

Professional Organizations:


Board of Directors, Board Member; 2017- Sept. 2020

Member of the Board of Directors for the Contra Costa County Bar Association. 

As a member of the Executive Board, served as Secretary and President-Elect and on following committees:  Executive; Finance; Governance (Chair); Nominating, Bench/Bar Liaison, Publications; Membership Recruitment, Retention and Member Services (Chair); and Charitable Contributions.

ADR Section Board Member, 2007-2012; 2016- present

Chair- September, 2011-2012; Vice-Chair of the Executive Board for ADR Section, 2010-2011; Secretary/Treasurer/Member of Executive Board for ADR Section, September, 2007- 2012; present

From 2007-2012, served at every level on the Executive Board for the ADR Section; developed mentoring program for new mediators; developed and took part in MCLE programs for members; Rejoined the Executive Board as a Member in 2016.

Developed ADR Boot Camp, a 4-hour MCLE designed to fulfill the requirements for the Contra Costa County Superior Court ADR Panel

Speaker at November, 2019 MCLE Spectacular- “Strategy, Civility, Ethics And Sanity In An Uncivil Time: An Exploration of the Law and Our Current Political Discourse on How We Behave (Or Don’t) as Attorneys, and a Strategic Roadmap for Everyone”

Editorial Board of Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine, 2008- 2019

Served as Editor, Co-Editor or Editor-In-Chief from 2009- 2016. 

Helped lead the Lawyer from print-only to an award-winning print/online hybrid (6 issues are online only) magazine.