Deb Graceffa, Esq.


11 Embarcadero West #145, Oakland, CA 94607


  • Mediator / Arbitrator / Neutral Evaluator
  • Expert Witness
  • Real Estate / Construction Defect Litigation and Transactions
  • Civil Litigation
  • Consultant, Educator & Facilitator


In 2005, Deb Graceffa, Esq. began her legal career in civil litigation, real estate litigation and real estate transactions. With a solid background as a business owner, a creative, a real estate broker and small real estate developer for over 20 years, she tackled legal matters with a common sense, direct, boots-on-the-ground approach to the resolution of disputes.

Over time, Deb recognized that there was a growing and dire need for a new breed of dispute resolution that involved more than shuttle diplomacy, old-school scare tactics by retired judges and scorched earth litigation. The successful resolution of disputes today looks far different than it did 20 years it should. The world changes quickly and often. The practice of law and dispute resolution needs to catch up.

Graceffa Law was established to offer a more modern approach to dispute resolution that includes a more comprehensive and varied "toolbox" to resolve disputes. These tools include a host of options such as collaborative litigation, neutral evaluation and a more consultative approach to mediation.

Deb employs these tools in the following arenas:


Residential and Commercial Real Estate Matters and Disputes

  • Realtor/Broker Negligence/Breach of Fiduciary Duty/Failure to Disclose
  • Failure to Disclose Material Facts in Real Estate Transactions – Buyers & Sellers
  • Unlawful & Forcible Detainers
  • Wrongful Evictions/Habitability/Retaliation
  • Owner Move-In Disputes
  • Rent Board Actions and Violations of Rent Control and Just Cause Ordinances
  • Lease Disputes – Residential and Commercial
  • Commercial Lease Negotiations
  • Failed Real Estate Transactions (Residential and Commercial)
  • Breach of Contract – Real Estate and General
  • Earnest Money Deposit Disputes in Residential Purchase and Sales
  • Litigation Regarding Flipped Properties/Construction Defects
  • Disputes Regarding Private Real Estate Financing
  • Strawbuyer, Co-Borrower Disputes
  • Commission Disputes
  • Quiet Title & Partition Disputes
  • HOA Disputes
  • Receiverships & Actions by Government Entities Against Property Owners
  • Foreclosure Disputes
  • Private Purchase and Sale Agreements
  • Disputes Between Real Estate Brokerages and Clients Regarding Listing Agreements
  • Easement, Boundary, Trespass, Nuisance and Neighbor Disputes
  • Marvin Claims and Constructive/Beneficial Interest Claims
  • Co-Ownership (Business and Real Estate) Disputes


Construction Defects Matters and Disputes

  • Construction Defect - Residential and Commercial
  • Contractor and Developer Disputes


Civil / Commercial Matters and Disputes

  • Embezzlement and Fraud Actions – Real Estate and Commercial/Business Defamation
  • Probate Litigation & Elder Financial Abuse
  • Dissolution and Disputes Regarding Business and Real Estate Partnerships
  • Marvin Actions
  • Fee Disputes Between Attorney and Client
  • Personal Injury
  • Civil Harassment
  • Restraining Orders and Stay Away Orders
  • Civil Assault and Battery
  • High Conflict Disputes Between Parties in Relationship (Family, Neighbors, Co- Workers, Business Partners, Employer/Employee, Property Co-Owners)
  • Diversity and Inclusion Issues and Disputes in Schools and the Workplace
  • Breach of Contract


Administrative Law Matters

  • Professional Liability Claims Against Real Estate Brokers/Agents and Attorneys
  • Administrative Actions by the Department/Bureau of Real Estate
  • Permit and Code-Compliance Matters

Activities and Affiliations

  • Alameda County Superior Court ADR Program - Court Approved Mediator
  • California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) Mediation Panel Member and Speaker
  • Alameda County Bar Association Fee Arbitrator for fee disputes between attorneys and clients
  • Mediator with the Congress of Neutrals, providing day-of-trial mediations for the Contra Costa County Courts
  • CourtCall On-Line Dispute Resolution Panel Mediator & Arbitrator
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for youth in the foster care system
  • Trainings for local real estate brokerages on best practices

Honors and Awards

  • “Rising Star, Super Lawyer” – multiple years
  • “Top Attorney, Northern California’s Outstanding Young Lawyers,” San Francisco Magazine

Education and Licensing

  • Juris Doctorate, University of San Francisco School of Law, 2004 – Faculty Scholarship Recipient 2001-2004
  • Bachelor of Arts Sociology, Mills College, 1994
  • Steven Rosenberg Mediator Training and Certification (40 hours), 2014 & Advanced (16 hours), 2020
  • California Real Estate Broker, California Bureau of Real Estate 2003-Present

Trainings / Lectures

  • Failed Flips and Disclosure Issues in Residential Purchase and Sales
  • Landlord and Tenant Disputes and Why They Erupt
  • Bias Issues in the Practice of Law
  • Earnest Money Disputes in Contingency Free Purchase and Sale Agreements
  • Failure to Adequately Disclose Material Facts in Sales
  • Structuring Private Financing For Investment Property Purchases and Projects
  • Effective Preparation For Mediation - Using Settlement Facilitators To Cut Costs and Increase Rates of Success of Settling Disputes
  • Benefits of Neutral Evaluation; Confidential Confidant, Narrowed Issues, Cost Savings, Higher Likelihood of Earlier Resolution and Fewer Surprises in Litigation

Life Outside of the Law
Deb plays ice hockey, cycles and trains petulant dogs.