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Hon. Jamie Jacobs-May (Ret.)

T: 408-288-2240
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Hon. Jamie Jacobs-May (Ret.) brings to her ADR practice 21 years of experience as a judge, most recently as Presiding Judge of the Santa Clara County Superior Court. She has handled hundreds of judicial mediations and settlement conferences and is lauded for her ability to quickly grasp complex legal and factual issues, effectively build rapport with the participants, and assist them in reaching successful resolutions.

Judge Jacobs-May has extensive experience in a variety of complex practice areas, including business and contract matters, class actions, employment disputes, family disputes, probate matters, professional liability and personal injury matters. She is known for being particularly adept at handling cases involving longstanding relationships, for example, between family members, employers and employees, former business partners and property co-owners, and for appreciating the sensitivities and interpersonal dynamics at play. Judge Jacobs-May has a direct, fair, and understanding style that is sought after in the ADR setting.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Served 21 years as a trial court judge where she helped resolve hundreds of cases
  • Handled countless law and motion matters, trials, judicial mediations, settlement conferences, and case management conferences
  • Has taught extensively including a negotiation course at University of California Berkeley School of Law, mediation course at Santa Clara University Law School, courses and programs on Advanced Settlement Skills, Excellence In Judging, Anatomy of A Civil Case, Employment Law, New Judges Orientation, Qualifying Ethics Program for Judges, Fact-Finding and Decision Making, Motions During and After Trial, Effective Writing, Motions in Limine, Statements of Decision, CACI Instructions, and Representing Clients in ADR Settlement Conferences
  • Past member, Judicial Council of California, the policy-making body of the California courts
  • Past member, CACI Advisory Committee, responsible for drafting civil jury instructions
  • Chaired the Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee, responsible for drafting California Rules of Court

Representative Matters

  • Business/Commercial:
    • Settled theft of trade secret claims involving high tech companies
    • Mediated a breach of contract dispute between a high tech company and its warranty service provider
    • Mediated case between doctors involving allegations of breach of their partnership agreement
    • Resolved disputes between companies and suppliers over breaches of purchase agreements
    • Mediated sensitive business dispute between family members concerning issues of breach of fiduciary duty, stock valuation, and wrongful termination
    • Resolved complicated and sensitive dispute between a charitable fund and a community organization over the split of funding
    • Mediated numerous breach of contract claims
  • Employment:
    • Resolved numerous California labor code violation claims brought under the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA)
    • Mediated dozens of discrimination disputes of all types, including race, gender, age, and disability discrimination
    • Settled high profile class action involving national restaurant chain and wage and hour dispute claims and exempt or non-exempt classifications
    • Mediated cases involving wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and retaliation claims
  • Probate and Family Law:
    • Resolved multiple family trust disputes, many involving creative non-monetary components
    • Mediated disputes involving elderly family members and claims of undue influence, elder financial abuse and fraud
    • Mediated dissolution issues including division of property and business valuation
    • Resolved numerous sensitive family disputes involving spousal and child support and custody issues
    • Mediated several palimony claims
  • Real Estate and Construction:
    • Resolved numerous landlord/tenant cases and other disputes over real estate leases
    • Resolved disputes between co-owners of real estate about issues such as broker fee payments, split of costs of repairs and maintenance, and payment defaults
    • Mediated multiple disputes between neighbors involving issues such as noise pollution, construction on joint property, easements, and property division
    • Resolved numerous construction cases involving disputes between homeowners and contractors alleging professional negligence, contract interpretation, and construction defects
  • Personal Injury/Torts:
    • Resolved multiple motor vehicle personal injury disputes, including catastrophic injury cases, with individuals, cities, counties, and corporations
    • Mediated personal injury disputes involving animal attacks, sports injuries, amusement park rides, slip and falls, and equipment-related injuries
    • Facilitated settlements in wrongful death cases
  • Professional Liability:
    • Resolved a complicated real estate professional liability case involving allegations that brokers sold property to buyers on behalf of sellers who did not actually own the property
    • Mediated a legal malpractice dispute involving allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Recognized as a "Rising Star," Top California Neutrals List, Daily Journal, 2013
  • Judicial Advisor, Litigation Section of the State Bar Executive Committee, 2013
  • Adjunct Professor, Negotiations, University of California Berkeley School of Law, 2012-2013
  • "Best Mediator” listing of California’s Best Legal Service Providers, The Recorder, 2012 
  • "Lifetime Achievement Award," Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2011 
  • "Outstanding Jurist of the Year," Santa Clara County Bar Association, 2010
  • “Top 100 Women of Influence," San Jose Business Journal, 2009
  • “Judge of the Year," Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2006
  • Member, statewide Bench-Bar-Media Task Force, 2009-present
  • Member, statewide Procedural Fairness Editorial Board, 2009-present
  • Member, National Association of Women Judges, 1989-present
  • Member, Bar Association of San Francisco, present
  • Member, Santa Clara Bar Association, and acted as a member of various committees of the Bar Association, 1989-2010
  • Member, Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, 2008-2010
  • Consultant, California Judges Benchbook, Civil Proceedings Before Trial, 2006-2010
  • Member, Judicial Council of California, 2006-2008
  • Chair, Planning Committee for California Judges Association 2005 Midyear Conference
  • Member and Chair of various Santa Clara County Superior Court committees, 1998-2010
  • Member, Continuing Judicial Studies Education Committee, 2004-2007
  • Member, Civil Jury Instructions Advisory Committee, 2004-2006
  • Member, Judicial Services Task Force, 2003
  • Bencher, American Inns of Court, 1998-present
  • Member, Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, 1997
  • Member and Chair, Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee, 1997-1999
  • Senior Fellow, American Leadership Forum, a national non-profit organization which selects leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors to work on public issues, 2000-present
  • "All About Teamwork," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, April 6, 2012

Background and Education

  • Judge, Superior Court, County of Santa Clara, 1998-2011
    • Presiding Judge, 2009-2010
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 2007-2008
  • Judge, Municipal Court, County of Santa Clara, 1989-1998
    • Presiding Judge, 1997
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 1996
  • Deputy County Counsel, Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office, 1983-1989
  • Associate, Berliner, Cohen, 1981-1983
  • Deputy Attorney General, California Attorney General’s Office, 1974-1981
  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law (formerly Boalt Hall School of Law), 1974
  • A.B. with Honors, Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1970