Robert L. Cowles

Born Jacksonville, Florida, February 5, 1942; admitted to Georgia and Florida bars, 1969. 


University of North Carolina (B.S., 1964); Emory University Law School (J.D., 1969)


University of Nevada at Reno, – The National Judicial College, July, August, 1989.


  1. Dispute Management, Inc., Orlando, Florida – Circuit Civil Certification – (December, 1990 – 40 hour course)
  2. Harvard Law School, Boston, Massachusetts (June, 1992 – “Mediation.” (40 hour course)
  3. American Arbitration Association – Tampa, Florida, “Advanced Mediation Training for Court  Based Settlement Proposals” – (April, 2003)
  4. Dispute Management, Inc., Orlando, Florida – Family Law Mediation Certification – (September, 2003 – 40 hour course)
  5. Annual Mediation Education Conventions of the Florida Dispute Resolution Center
  6. Jax Bar Association, ADR Section, Mediator CME Seminars
  7. AAA Webinar – “Insuring That Your Clients’ Interests are Addressed in Mediation” (2008)
  8. Florida Supreme Court Foreclosure Mediator Training (2010)
  9. Jacksonville Bar Association Foreclosure Mediation Certification Course (2010)
  10. Jacksonville Bar Association, Co-Chair, ADR Section, Annual Mediation Seminar (2018)


AAA Arbitrator Update, Orlando – (2001); AAA Commercial Arbitrator II Training, Atlanta – (4/01); AAA Commercial Arbitrator Training, Orlando – (2/99); AAA Neutral Retreat, Orlando – (2002); AAA Commercial Arbitrators Training, San Antonio, Texas – (03/2004); AAA Neutral’s Retreat, Miami Beach – (03/2006); NASD Panel Member Training Seminar, Tampa, Florida – (3/06); NASD Revised Code of Arbitrator’s Course (03/2007);  AAA Arbitration Roadmap:  The Standard for Efficient and Cost Effective Arbitration, 2008; AAA’s Auto Dealers Arbitration Panel Program (2009); and AAA – Alternative Dispute Resolution Training – Dealing With Delay Tactics in Arbitration (2009), AAA  Healthcare Payor Provider Judicial Orientation (Webinar 5/2011).”Take the Unknown Out of Healthcare Disputes:  Potential Guidance from Healthcare Experts,” Miami, FL, 3/2012; and ICDR International Symposia (in connection with being appointed as one of 15 arbitrators for Jones Act/Seaman’s injury cases) – Miami, Florida; 9/2014; AAA Ace Course (4/20/17)  “Keeping It Real:  How Arbitrators Handle Witness Credibility; AAA Ace Course –  (Feb. 2018) – “Arbitrator Performance and Demeanor”; AAA Ace Course (May 6, 2019) “Case Finances – What Arbitrators Need to Know.”


Bar Associations:   The Florida Bar (1969); State Bar of Georgia (1969); Jacksonville Bar (Chairman, Litigation Section, 1982-1984); Jacksonville Board of Governors (1981-1982); Supreme Court of the United States; Jacksonville Bar – Chairman, Committee on Relations With Other Professionals (1985-1986), and Co-Chair of Association’s ADR Section, Jacksonville Bar– 2017/2018.


Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer (1987 to 2013); Committee Member-Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyers (Board Member -1997-2000/Chair – 1998-1999); Certified Mediator (Florida State Courts).


AV Rated – Martindale-Hubbell (Highest Rating).


Trial lawyer, Atlanta, Georgia (1969-1971); Trial Lawyer, Arbitrator and Mediator, Jacksonville, Florida (1971 – 1987; 1990 to present).


Circuit Court Judge, Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida (1987 to 1990).  Last judicial approval rating by lawyers was 96%  – (3rd among 28 judges).


Taught “Alternative Dispute Resolution” as an Adjunct Professor at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida, from summer of 2003 to 2015.


In 1996, I was co-counsel, along with Robert Spohrer, Jacksonville, and Brian Wolfman of Public Citizens, Washington, D.C. for the Appellees in the U. S. Supreme Court case of Medtronic, Inc. v. Lohr, 518 U.S. 470 (1996), which was decided in favor of our clients, the Lohrs.  The issue was whether or not there was federal preemption in defective product liability cases (i.e. pacemaker leads).  We won in the Supreme Court. The case was voted Case of the Year by ATLA in 1996.


Alternative Dispute Resolution; Commercial Litigation; Medical Malpractice; Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation; Expert Witness; appointed as a Special Master/Magistrate in the Fourth Judicial Circuit; and Fair Hearing Officer (Judge) in hospital grievance matters.


American Arbitration Association Arbitrator (Large Complex Case Program), Arbitrator for AAA for twenty-seven (27) years.  Involved in a AAA international arbitration case (a wrongful death of a child on a safari in Africa).  Served as an Umpire in insurance coverage cases, and as an Arbitrator in private arbitrations.  Types of arbitrations handled include all types of commercial cases, Lemon Law, breach of contract, business disputes, construction, actuarial malpractice, fraud, termite, maritime, and other miscellaneous cases.  Other cases involved a breach of contract involving a resort and a national leadership group of one of the major political parties, canceling the “think tank” weekend because of the Iraq war, a maritime case involving losses on a construction project in Alabama, a multi-million dollar partnership dispute in Key West, and an oil and gas partnership dispute in West Virginia, a claim between a hospital corporation and insurer for reimbursements and several employment arbitrations.  Also involved in numerous consumer bank cases.

Recently an Arbitrator (Chair) in homeowners cases (120+ homes) against a builder and a subcontractors for alleged defective construction of homes which were arbitrated since 2014.   I have arbitrated construction and nursing home cases, independent of AAA.  I have also been Arbitrator in fourteen (14) Maritime/Jones Act cases in Miami, Florida.  I have arbitrated approximately three hundred fifty (350) cases to date.  I have also arbitrated over one hundred (100) AAA desk arbitrations.

I have been certified as a Circuit Court Mediator in Florida since 1991.  Over 2,500 cases mediated.  Now also a AAA mediator in U. S. Gypsum and Fibreboard  Asbestos Trust cases (100 cases to date).

SPECIAL MASTER/MAGISTRATE:Judge Appointed/assigned as a Special Master/Magistrate in 22 cases.  (Specifics provided upon request.)

EXPERT WITNESS:Employed as an expert witness in 38 cases.  (Specifics provided upon request.)