Barry Baskin

Hon. Barry Baskin (Ret.)

JAMS Arbitrator, Mediator, Special Master/Referee, Neutral Evaluator

Case Manager
Lisa Midel
T: 408-346-0733
F: 925-938-6732
1255 Treat Blvd., Suite 700 (at Buskirk Ave.), Walnut Creek, CA 94597


Hon. Barry Baskin (Ret.) is an arbitrator, mediator, special master/referee and neutral evaluator at JAMS. In 2002, Judge Baskin was appointed to the Contra Costa County Superior Court. For 20 years, Judge Baskin served on the bench, where he served in almost all divisions of the court. He served six years in the civil division, handling complex cases, including class actions. From 2019 to 2020, Judge Baskin served as presiding judge and helped steer the court through the pandemic. Prior to that, he served as assistant presiding judge from 2017 to 2018 and spent eight years on the Executive Committee. His last assignment on the bench was a second term in the civil division, where he handled complex litigation, construction defect litigation, class actions and a variety of other matters. He is the first person appointed to the bench in California who was born, raised and trained in South Africa.

Judge Baskin used mediation often as a lawyer, which helped him to successfully resolve well over 1,000 matters before trial. In 2009, he was honored as Trial Judge of the Year by the Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers’ Association. In 2008, he was selected as faculty to teach new judges at their orientation, and he continued to do so on a regular basis until leaving the bench.

Prior to joining the bench, Judge Baskin had a successful career handling complex civil litigation. Beginning in 1979, Judge Baskin was the managing partner of his family’s law firm, Baskin & Partners, in South Africa. His practice consisted of business litigation and family law. In 1987, he emigrated from South Africa. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1987 and joined Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro. He served in the firm’s antitrust and intellectual property group. In 1989, he joined Farrow, Bramson, Baskin & Plutzik and became a partner in 1990. Until his appointment to the bench, he served as lead trial counsel in the area of complex civil litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants.

Representative Matters


  • Presided over matters involving breach of contract and contractual interpretation, including indemnity agreements, commercial leases and real estate contracts
  • As counsel, defended Fortune 500 companies in complex business litigation, with an emphasis on antitrust and intellectual property rights
  • As counsel, handled the review of data and documents germane to obtaining government approval of a larger merger and acquisition
  • Served as lead trial counsel in complex federal and state court litigation, including successfully defending a $30-million shareholders’ derivative suit

Class Actions and Mass Torts

  • Presided over several motions for approval of class action settlements and California PAGA claims
  • Presided over a class action involving unfair HOA dues-collection practices on behalf of members of many homeowners’ associations, which included alter ego allegations
  • Presided over wage and hour claims brought by employees against their employer for failure to pay overtime
  • As counsel, defended and prosecuted class actions for over a decade; most of them were resolved through mediation

Intellectual Property

  • Presided over shareholder disputes, including dissolution proceedings and claims for injunctive relief and summary judgment; the many rulings and settlement efforts resulted in dismissal of all claims
  • As counsel, defended and pursued claims of theft of intellectual property rights


  • Presided over a dispute involving members of a rock band and claims of theft of intellectual property and contract rights; claims were fully resolved short of trial and resulted in ongoing concerts/recordings


  • Presided over wrongful termination matters, including sex and race discrimination allegations
  • Presided over theft of trade secrets against former employees
  • Presided over employment breach of contract disputes
  • Presided over all claims/counterclaims for a law firm dissolution, including sexual harassment; racial, sexual and age discrimination; wage and hour claims; and class action claims
  • Presided over contractual and statutory claims between a city and its emergency response workers
  • Presided over PAGA disputes

Family Law

  • Presided over many multi-day trials that included issues involving:
    • Date of separation
    • Validity of prenuptial contracts
    • Community of property
    • Breach of fiduciary duty
    • Child custody and move-away orders
    • Spousal and child support
    • Complex financial accounting 
  • As a judge, successfully handled many family law settlement conferences

Estate, Probate and Trusts

  • Presided over trials involving inheritance issues and rights
  • Presided over proceedings involving contested estates, wills and trusts

Personal Injury and Torts

  • As a judge, handled many wrongful injury cases involving:
    • Premises liability
    • Product liability
    • Vehicular-related matters
    • Uninsured and underinsured motorists
    • Government immunity claims
    • Other tort claims:
      • Serious dog bite
      • Slip and fall
    • As a mediator, resolved multiple serious personal injury cases, including wrongful death claims involving insurance coverage

Real Property and Real Estate

  • Presided over and resolved many matters involving real estate contracts
  • Presided over multiple matters involving title and other partnership claims

Construction and Construction Defect

  • Presided over numerous disputes between contractors, subcontractors and purchasers involving various construction defect claims
  • Presided over multiple disputes involving single-family home construction defect disputes

Professional Trainings and Activities

  • Adjunct Professor, Criminal and Constitutional Law, John F. Kennedy University School of Law, 2011
  • Moot Court Judge for High School Competitions, 2002–2021
  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA), 1987, 1988

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, State Bar of California, 1986–present
  • Member, Ethics Committee, California Judges Association (CJA), 2008–2011
    • In 2010, Judge Baskin served as a CJA liaison to assist judges statewide receiving complaints or proceedings from the Commission on Judicial Performance.
  • President, Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust, 1992–2002
    • The Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust recognizes and awards four outstanding teachers in the county each year.
  • Member, Panel of Arbitrators, American Arbitration Association, 1991–2000
  • Member, Probation Monitor, California State Bar Court, 1991–1994
  • Member, Committee on Rules and Procedures of Court, California State Bar, 1991–1994
  • S. Supreme Court, 1991
  • Supreme Court, South Africa, 1979

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Trial Judge of the Year, Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers’ Association, 2009
  • Recipient, Major Contributions Award for Pro Bono Work, Contra Costa County Bar Association, 1999

Selected Publications

  • “Summary Judgment After Matsushita,” Anti-Trust, ABA, Vol. 1, No. 3, 1987 (assisted in preparation of the article).
  • “To Discover or Not to Discover, That Is the Contradiction,” South African Law Journal, 1981.
  • “Recognizing and Prosecuting Class Actions,” Contra Costa Lawyer, June 1997.
  • “Reflections of a South African–Born Jurist,” Contra Costa Lawyer, April 2005.
  • “How to Survive the Social Media Frenzy,” The Bench (the official journal of the California Judges Association), Spring 2011.
  • Superior Court, Contra Costa County, 2002–2022
    • Presiding Judge, 2019–2020
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 2017–2018
  • First District, Division Four, California Court of Appeal
    • Justice Pro Tem, August–December 2012
  • Farrow, Bramson, Baskin & Plutzik, Walnut Creek, CA
    • Partner, 1989–2002
  • Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, San Francisco, CA
    • Associate, 1987–1989
  • Baskin & Partners, South Africa
    • Managing Partner, 1983–1986
    • Partner, 1979–1983
  • Law Degree; Oliver Schreiner School of Law; University of the Witwatersrand; Johannesburg, South Africa; 1978



Practice Areas

  • Business & Commercial
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
  • Construction
  • Construction Defect
  • Employment Law
  • Entertainment & Sports
  • Estates/Probate/Trusts
  • Family Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Real Estate & Real Property


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More