About Deb Graceffa

Before practicing law, Deb Graceffa, Esq. founded multiple businesses, including working as a real estate broker and developer. She started her first “business” at age 7 when she bought a giant bag of candy bars at the local corner store before school started, and resold them at school during the day, doubling her initial investment. While her teachers certainly didn’t appreciate her side hustle, it launched her thinking about how to creatively resolve problems...she wanted a jacket her parents wouldn’t buy for her, so she bought it for herself with her candy sale proceeds.

After a number of successful business ventures, Deb launched her legal career over 18 years ago, practicing in the arenas of civil litigation, real estate litigation and real estate transactions. As an attorney, she represented all sides of thousands of disputes, gaining a balanced, 360-degree view of how to resolve legal problems. Deb’s combined business and legal experience gave her a unique background to tackle and creatively resolve disputes.

Over the years as a litigator, 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. To that end, she founded the Graceffa Dispute Resolution Center to offer a more modern and consultative approach to dispute resolution.

Life outside of Graceffa Law

Deb Graceffa plays ice hockey, cycles and and takes thousands of photographs hoping to land one or two good ones.

Deb's Experience

Residential and Commercial Real Estate

  • 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 & Constructive 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

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

Civil / Commercial

  • Embezzlement and Fraud Actions – Real Estate and Commercial/Business
  • 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

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

Past and Present 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
  • CEB Real Property Advisory Committee - Real Estate
  • Mediation Society of San Francisco
  • Mediator with the Congress of Neutrals, providing day-of-trial mediations at Contra Costa County Courts
  • CourtCall On-Line Dispute Resolution Panel Mediator & Arbitrator
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for youth in the foster care system
  • Claims and Litigation Management (CLM) member
  • California State Bar - Approved MCLE Provider

Honors and Awards

  • “Super Lawyer” – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2023; for both real estate and alternative dispute resolution
  • “Top Attorney, Northern California’s Outstanding Young Lawyers,” San Francisco Magazine

Debra A. Graceffa

Rated by Super Lawyers

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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
  • California State Bar Approved MCLE Provider

Representative Trainings / MCLES / Presentations

Law Firm Trainings & MCLES:

  • Failure to Disclose 101 - Understanding the Problems, Claims, Defenses and Resolution So You are Not Upside Down On Your Case (on-going)
  • Understanding the Disclosure Obligations of Sellers and Listing Agents
  • New Lawyers: All the Things Your Law School Didn’t Tell You About Litigation Including Why Most of What They Taught You Doesn’t Matter

California Association of Realtors:

  • Mediating Residential Purchase Agreement Disputes (July 2022)

Real Estate Brokerage Trainings:

  • Up Close with the TDS and SPQ - Understanding Your Client's Disclosure Obligations (August 2023)
  • What Is Mediation And Why Should Realtors Care (November 2022)
  • Earnest Money Disputes in Contingency Free Purchase and Sale Agreements (August 2022)
  • The TDS, SPQ and Disclosing the Uptick in Crime (November 2023)

Associated Defense Counsel of California and Nevada:

  • Defending Residential Failure to Disclose Claims (May 2023)

Alameda County Bar Association MCLES:

  • Failure to Disclose Claims in Residential Real Estate; Claims, Defenses, Damages and How to Resolve the Cases Cost Effectively in Mediation (July 2023)
  • ACBA Bootcamp - Negotiation Module & Cultural Competency / Humility Module

Daily Journal California Lawyer:

  • The Hot Real Estate Market Has a Surprising Downside for Sellers (July 2023)

Contra Costa County Bar Association MCLE:

  • How to Respond to Bias and High Conflict Situations (September 2021)