Catherine Gallagher

Hon. Catherine A. Gallagher (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Karume Richards
T: 408-346-0764
F: 408-295-5267
160 W. Santa Clara St, Suite 1600, San Jose, CA 95113


Hon. Catherine A. Gallagher (Ret.) is known for her wealth of experience in dispute resolution as a mediator, arbitrator, Judge Pro Tem, discovery master, and neutral evaluator. Judge Gallagher has handled a broad spectrum of cases, including business and commercial disputes, family law, probate, financial markets and personal injury. She is lauded for her intelligence and tenacity, and her ability to navigate through complex issues in order to bring parties together and reach efficient resolution.

Before joining JAMS, Judge Gallagher was on the Santa Clara County Superior Court for over 25 years including a two-year term as the Presiding Judge. During her time with the Superior Court, she served in every division giving her experience in many diverse areas of the law and providing her with great insight into how to resolve cases with a wide variety of personalities. Before her appointment to the bench she worked in the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, was a Deputy District Attorney and taught at the University of Santa Clara.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Mediated and arbitrated hundreds of cases in a variety of practice areas as a full time neutral at JAMS
  • Served 25 years as a trial court judge where she resolved thousands of cases
  • Handled law and motion matters, trials, settlement conferences, and case management conferences
  • Taught judicial skills to bench officers through the California Center for Judicial Education and Research and the California Judges Association
  • Resolved discovery disputes as discovery judge for all civil departments 

Representative Matters


Business Commercial

  • Misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract and related claims arising from the design of a heart stent brought against two cardiologists who eventually sold the design to a major pharmaceutical company
  • Custom floor adhesive product allegedly failed to perform as promised after shipment to distribution points through the United States



  • Former employee claimed employment discrimination due to miscarriage and pregnancy related issues against Swiss pharmaceutical company doing business in the United States
  • Wrongful termination case involving hostile, sexually charged workplace in traditionally male dominated industry


Family Law

  • Presided over the Family Law calendar managing Orders to Show Cause, Judicial Custody Conferences, Settlement Conferences, trials, and ex partes
  • Extensive experience with spousal and child support, property division, business evaluation and classification of income and assets


Professional Liability

  • Accountant/ CPA liability for tax returns of a high net worth real estate developer with significant tax losses due to operation of an Arabian horse racing farm and breeding facility and with substantial gains from sale of major South Bay shopping center
  • Podiatrist/surgeon liability- misalignment of toes; Breast cancer – failure to diagnose brought against radiologist by mother of two pre- teenage boys; Reynaud’s Syndrome-failure to properly treat grocery store clerk


 Trusts and Estates

  • Resolved claims of undue influence and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with wills and trusts
  • Helped parties settle conflicts between stepmother and adult children, sibling disagreements, trustee and conservator of estate disputes
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • Woman of Influence, Silicon Valley Business Journal, 2014
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2008
  • Michael Patiky Miller Luminary Award, Silicon Valley Bar Association, 2007
  • Honoree, Saint Thomas More Society, 2007
  • Honoree, Women Lawyer Committee of the Santa Clara Bar Association, 2006
  • Lecturer, University of Santa Clara, Trial Practice Techniques, 2007
  • Professor, University of Santa Clara, Paralegal Institute, Securities Regulation, 1984-1991
  • Bar Examination Grader, State Bar of California, San Francisco, California, 1978-1979
  • Member, California Judges Association, 1984 to present (Executive Board member, 2003-2006)
  • Board Member, Sentencing Alternate Program, 1984-2004 (former President and officer)
  • Board of Directors, National Association of Alcohol and Drug Dependency, 1986-1991
  • Board Representative from the District Attorney’s Office, WOMA (The Women’s Alliance to prevent Domestic Violence), 1979-1983
  • Member, National Association of Women Judges; Lifetime member of California Women Lawyers; Santa Clara Bar Association
  • "Committed to Closing," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, July 29, 2011
  • Judge, Superior Court, County of Santa Clara, 1989-2009
    • Presiding Judge, 2007-2008
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 2005-2006
  • Judge, Municipal Court, County of Santa Clara, 1984-1989
  • Deputy District Attorney, County of Santa Clara, 1979-1984
  • Special Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office, San Francisco, California 1979-1981 
  • Staff Attorney, Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement, Washington D.C. (1975-1977) and San Francisco, California (1977-1979)
  • Law clerk, Honorable Joseph M.F. Ryan, Jr. Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (1974-1975) 
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1974
  • B.A., St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, 1971

Counsel Comments

    • “Judge Gallagher establishes instant rapport and total respect.”

      - Bay Area attorney
    • “I couldn’t have asked for a more balanced, thoughtful, and productive mediation process than the one we had with Judge Gallagher. She strikes just the right balance and we achieved a fair result.”

      - Bay Area attorney
    • “[Judge Gallagher] was sufficiently neutral, yet not afraid to voice opinions about select issues; [she] worked very hard and had respect for all.”
    • “[Judge Gallagher] was on top of the issues, pleasant, respectful, persuasive and effective.”
    • “[Judge Gallagher’s] scholarly knowledge of relevant statutory and case law combined with her practical day to day knowledge of the workings of the court and of the judicial process makes her a most reliable and trustworthy advocate for resolution. [She] treats parties with the highest respect while teaching them the rocky road of litigation with style, grace and a most convincing charm.”
    • “I was not optimistic that the parties would settle anything at all. [Judge Gallagher] gave us the tough advice - and new way of considering our case - that we needed.”
    • “[Judge Gallagher] has always been good, effective and a hard worker - it is amazing how [she] has improved, even when I thought [she] was already great - [she] is one of the best mediators JAMS has - [she] is very good at pushing the parties and that is the key.”
    • “Without [Judge Gallagher’s] intelligence and perseverance, I don’t know that the settlement would have been reached.”
    • “[Judge Gallagher] was very efficient, to the point and had the knowledge to settle the case. [She] did an excellent job.”
    • “[Judge Gallagher] was prepared and attentive. We could not have asked for a mediator more intent in achieving a settlement-which was accomplished.”



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Employment
  • Estates/Probate/Trusts
  • Family Law
  • Financial Markets
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Securities
Available nationwide


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