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Hon. Christine Byrd
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Hon. Christine Byrd (Ret.)

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Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Family Law
Business Commercial
Energy & Utilities
Entertainment & Sports
Environmental Law
Health Care
Intellectual Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Christine Byrd (Ret.) joined JAMS in 2023 after serving 13 years as a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. As a full-time panelist with JAMS, she has been selected to serve as arbitrator, mediator, and discovery referee in numerous disputes ranging from complex civil cases to healthcare to family law matters.

During her tenure on the Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Byrd was assigned to the Family Law Division and presided over hundreds of cases for child custody, child support, divorce, domestic violence, legal separation, parentage, and spousal or domestic partner support. In recognition of her capabilities, Judge Byrd was twice appointed by the chief justice to the Family Law Curriculum Committee, a California statewide committee on judicial education. In 2017, she was selected to hear long, complex family law cases, where she remained until her retirement in 2023. In 2018 she was awarded Family Law Judge of the Year by the Southern California Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

Prior to her appointment, Judge Byrd practiced law for 35 years, during which time she focused on complex business and patent litigation and took over 20 cases to trial. She spent five years as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where she tried a variety of cases, including one of the earliest money laundering cases in the country. In recognition of her trial experience and skills, in 2004 she was selected as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Judge Byrd acquired significant ADR experience during her years of law practice. She served as a neutral arbitrator in dozens of complex business disputes, both domestic and international, involving entertainment, manufacturing, construction, waste management, power purchase and power exchange agreements, wind park development, oil field rights and natural gas distribution. She helped develop the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) mediation and arbitration Procedures for Large, Complex Commercial Disputes. In recognition of her experience and skills, in 2004 she was selected as a Fellow in the College of Commercial Arbitrators.

Judge Byrd has served on several nonprofit boards of directors, providing practical and business experience that augments her legal experience, particularly in complex family law matters involving business characterization, valuation, and division. She also has experience in the automobile sector, including restoring, repairing, auctioning, showing and shipping, and she serves as a director of a national automobile club.

During her many years in practice and on the bench, Judge Byrd has handled matters with parties from numerous countries and cultures and backgrounds involving interpreters, religious observances, remote testimony, foreign documents, and calling for accommodation and flexibility. 

Judge Byrd takes great care to prepare in depth for each matter she handles. In family law mediations, her philosophy is to lead with understanding, patience, and compassion for the emotional and financial difficulties in marital dissolution, to provide the parties with an opportunity to be heard, and to contain the high emotions that are often involved. The goal is to bring the parties to the point where they are able to settle their case in a way that is in the best interest of both of them. In her arbitration and reference practice, she works with the lawyers to define the process early on and then is decisive in moving the process forward to conclusion.  

Representative Matters

  • Family Law
      • Presided over hundreds of cases for dissolution of marriages and domestic partnerships, parentage matters and domestic violence, including the issues listed below
      • Custody and visitation with minor children in dissolution cases, as well as in parentage cases, and in formal and informal same-sex relationships; various cases involved move-aways, educational and medical disputes, domestic violence, child abuse, minor’s counsel and child custody evaluators
      • Setting and modifying child support for minor and adult children, determination of arrears and derivative Social Security benefits
      • Change of names of children
      • Setting and modifying temporary and permanent spousal support for both short-term and long-term marriages and post-judgment requests for termination or modification
      • Date of separation and date of marriage
      • Void and voidable marriages, including immigration and religious issues and putative spouse claims
      • Restraining orders, including domestic violence restraining orders, original issuances and renewals, and enforcement of, and violations of, automatic temporary restraining orders and requests for asset freeze orders
      • Property issues, including characterization, valuation and division of a variety of types of community and separate assets, including real estate, retirement savings, vehicles, restricted stock units, horses, dogs, inheritances, co-mingling of inherited and community property, tracing and Moore-Marsden issues, and businesses, including real estate, construction, grocery stores, tires, and scrap metal
      • Disputes over enforceability of foreign judgments (e.g., Serbia, Iran, Estonia, India)
      • Requests for attorneys’ fees and for sanctions involving both large and small community estates and access to resources of other family relatives
  • Business Commercial
      • Arbitrated emergency injunction case between a cannabis retailer and landlord to maintain business operations continuity.
      • Lead counsel in five-week jury trial arising out of a contract for purchase and sale of independent gasoline retailer in California
      • Counsel in monthlong jury trial between a financial holdings company and the owner of a large shopping center for antitrust violations and interference with prospective economic advantage
      • Lead counsel in one-week trial involving a termination for convenience of a subcontract under a government contract and the False Claims Act
      • Lead counsel in a one-week trial arising out of a real property purchase in which there was inadequate disclosure of construction of retaining walls and swimming pool area
      • Pro bono counsel for a nonprofit charitable association in a case involving the impossibility defense to a breach of contract for cancellation of the book display contract of a Holocaust denier due to threats of violence
      • Lead counsel in numerous business-to-business contract disputes resolved without trial, involving a variety of products and industries, including tires, chemicals, adhesives, airplane emergency evacuation slides, welding, porcelain enamel and a machine for the manufacturing of plastic berry baskets
      • Arbitrator in a suit sent to arbitration by a federal court over alleged manipulation of natural gas prices and claims of violations of the California Cartwright Act and Business & Professions Code section 17200, breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation
      • Arbitrator in a corporate dispute involving both antitrust and contract claims over a manufacture and supply contract
      • Arbitrator in a dispute under a supply contract for delivery of blood and blood products
      • Arbitrator in a dispute between a debt collector and a consumer over rights in the recovery of a judgment
  • Energy & Utilities
      • Arbitrator in dispute between an international energy company and a distributor over natural gas distribution rights in Guam
      • Arbitrator in dispute over cancellation of power contract for a cement plant arising out of California’s energy crisis in 2001
      • Arbitrator in a suit sent to arbitration by a federal court and concerning alleged manipulation of natural gas prices and claims of violations of the California Cartwright Act and Business & Professions Code section 17200, breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation
      • Arbitrator in dispute over rights to an oil field in Wilmington
      • Arbitrator in dispute over wind park development, power purchase and power exchange agreements, and wind turbine design and performance, where a wind turbine designed in Europe was installed and operated in California
      • Arbitrator in dispute between international oil companies over allocation of costs and expenses in development of oil field in Alaska
      • Lead counsel for private energy developer in disputes arising out of a gas-powered turbine failure in Virginia, such as contract and warranty claims against the manufacturer, insurance coverage for business interruption and warranty claims, default issues under financing agreements with institutional lenders, and disputes with local utility over performance under power purchase and power exchange agreement terms 
  • Entertainment & Sports
      • Arbitrator in dispute concerning internationally famous pop superstar's eleventh-hour cancellation of concerts
      • Presided over family law disputes involving the music, television, film and stage industries, including issues involving child and spousal support, retirement, royalties, characterization, valuation, division of royalties, creative property, memorabilia and musical instruments 
  • Environmental Law
      • Co-counsel in court trial in CERCLA action involving dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) contamination of the Palos Verdes Shelf and natural resource damages claims of up to $1 billion
      • Arbitrator in dispute over rights to development of a solid waste landfill
  • Health Care
      • Appointed as arbitrator in over six healthcare matters involving reimbursement disputes between insurers and providers
      • Arbitrator in class action against a large health care insurance provider in which an issue under a state statute regulating health insurance premiums was referred to arbitration from superior court; the arbitration issue involved the consumer challenges to the insurer’s closure of certain rate pools and rolling over consumers to higher-priced plans
  • Intellectual Property
      • Counsel in patent infringement trial concerning video game technology, resulting in $91 million jury verdict for client
      • Counsel in patent infringement trial concerning digital video recorder technology, resulting in $74 million jury verdict for client
      • Counsel in international arbitration concerning the licensing of patents related to miniaturization of computer chip packaging
      • Counsel in patent infringement trial concerning equipment for manufacturing silicon wafers

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Family Law Judge of the Year, Southern California Chapter, American Inns of Court, 2018
  • Member, Family Law Curriculum Committee, Center for Judiciary Education and Research (CJER), 2016–2017 and 2022–2023
  • Member, Arbitration Committee, American College of Trial Lawyers, 2023–2024
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, 2004–2023
  • Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators, 2004–2023
  • Life Member, Women Lawyers Association Los Angeles
  • Former Member; Technology Committee, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee and Local Rules Committee; Los Angeles Superior Court
  • Director, Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, 1986–2023
    • President, 1997–2002
    • Vice President, 1993–1996
  • Director, American Arbitration Association, 1999–2010
  • Director, Century City Bar Association, 2001–2005
  • Member, Editorial Board, AIPLA Quarterly Journal, American Intellectual Property Law Association, 2008–2010
  • Member, Board of Governors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL), 1996–1999
  • Member, Dispute Resolution Section, American Bar Association
    • Co-Vice Chairman, Committee on ADR Advocacy in Litigation, 2003–2004
    • Faculty, ABA Arbitration Training Institute, 2004, 2009
  • Member, California Law Revision Commission, 1992–1997
  • Super Lawyers Southern California, 2004, 2008, 2009
  • California’s Top Women Litigators, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Top 50 Women Lawyers in Southern California, 2008
  • Southern California’s Best Lawyers, 2009

Background and Education

  • Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court, 2010–2023
  • Partner, Irell & Manella LLP, 1996–2010
  • Partner, Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, 1987–1996
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, 1982–1987
  • Associate, Jones, Day Reavis & Pogue, 1976–1982
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. William P. Gray, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, 1975–1976
  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1975
  • B.A., With Honors, Stanford University, 1972


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

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