Judge of the Superior Court (Ret.)

Hon. James Emerson

Hon. James Emerson

Judge James C. Emerson (Ret.) served 20 years on the Santa Clara County Superior Courts. Well known for his thoughtfulness, judicial demeanor, and commitment to resolving complex disputes. Judge Emerson was recognized by the Trial Lawyers in 2010 as the Judge of the Year and by the Town of Los Gatos and the City of San Jose in 2011 for his commitment to justice and the voluntary resolution of cases. As a mediator, Judge Emerson is known for his thorough preparation and ability to listen attentively to diverse views and legal positions. His unique background in government and school law cases has proved a valuable asset to the distinguished panel of ADR neutrals.


As a full time neutral since 2010, Judge Emerson has conducted mediations and arbitrations with emphasis in the following areas: personal injury including coverage issues and brain injury cases, employment, school law and Government issues including First Amendment, executive compensation, construction, Brown Act and zoning regulations, real estate, banking, finance, and foreclosure law. He has conducted settlement conferences in hundreds of matters including serious personal injury cases involving the State of California and its obligation to construct and maintain safe and well-designed roadways.


• 1993 – 2010 Judge of the Superior Court, Santa Clara County

     • Civil Team Leader: Law and Motion, Settlement Conferences, and Case Management, 2008 and 2009

     • Civil Trials, 2007 – 2008

     • Supervising Criminal Judge, 2005 – 2006

• 1990-1993 Judge of the Municipal Court, San Jose

     • Civil Supervisor, November 1992 to March 1993

     • Criminal assignments, January 1990 to November 1992


• 1985 – 1990 Deputy County Counsel Represented school districts, Registrar of Voters, the Sheriff, and the Department of Corrections

• 1974 – 1985 Private practice Emphasizing personal injury, estates and small business formation


• 2009 & 1998 Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University

     • 1998 - 40 hours overview of Alternative Dispute Resolution

     • 2009 - 20 hours overview of techniques of ADR


• 1970 BA, University of California, Berkeley

• 1973 JD, University of Santa Clara


• Board Member of Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), 2011 - present. This organization helps juveniles who have found themselves in the

  juvenile justice system and attempts to divert them from the Courts.
• Board Member of Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, 2011 - present. Current President. This organization operates a nationally

  known museum.

• Teaching Arbitration/Mediation at Lincoln Law School

• Santa Clara County Superior Court ADR Program

• Santa Clara University Board of Visitors, 1991 to present

• NBI Judges Conference, Presenter, 2009

• AOC Supervising Judges Institute, Facilitator 2007 , 2008, and 2009

• Adjunct professor Lincoln Law School, Teaching negotiation, 2010 to present