Catherine Gallagher

Hon. Catherine A. Gallagher (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Lisa Midel
T: 408-346-0733
F: 408-295-5267
160 W. Santa Clara St., Suite 1600, San Jose, CA 95113

Catherine A. Gallagher is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.


Hon. Catherine A. Gallagher (Ret.) is a full time neutral with JAMS and has mediated hundreds of family law disputes. She has experience in all aspects of dispute resolution, which she developed while serving in every division of the Court. Her tenure as a family law judge provided her with insight to successfully deal with the emotional factors that create obstacles to settlement. As a neutral, she applies that knowledge to bring efficient and effective resolution to family law matters. She is available to assist in all family law matters including mediation or settlement conferences before filing in Superior Court, traditional ADR assistance as well as providing effective case management by developing a plan for the orderly progress of the litigation, streamlining the dissolution process, and resolving discovery disputes. She also serves as mediator, settlement facilitator, or Judge pro tem as requested by counsel to address the needs of the parties. 

Representative Matters

  • Resolved many cases involving characterization of Community and Separate Property including tracing of assets, transmutation issues, and reimbursement claims
  • Experienced with valuation and classification of income and assets including a variety of real estate holdings, employee stock purchase plans, and stock options 
  • Resolved dispute between owner/spouses of Subchapter S corporation and worked towards structuring the transaction to prevent IRS audit
  • Mediated time share issues with children.  Experience working with mental health professionals where age-appropriate, comprehensive child custody orders were needed
  • Knowledgeable about spousal and child support issues including support in self-employed or fluctuating income situations and disabled or unemployed spouses. Handled cases imputing income and employment feasibility evaluations
  • Resolved dissolution of professional athlete and former spouse with issues involving retirement plan and “early disability benefits”
  • Settled breach of fiduciary claims, including claims of theft and mismanagement of community property
  • Interpreted enforceability of pre-nuptial and marital settlement agreements
  • Settled disputes regarding payment of expenses of higher education costs for adult children
  • Resolved child custody orders for severely disabled adult child of parties
  • Supervised sale of undeveloped property with very undesirable terrain -selected real estate agents, received bids, worked out terms of sale and finalized transaction
  • Settled conservatorship dispute between parents of special needs child who was approaching adulthood and alternated living with both parents; set framework for educational and life plan
  • Resolved issues in dissolution of “extraordinary high earner” including issues of apportionment of extracurricular activities, payment for items such as care of the children’s horses and college expenses
  • For last 30 years, involved in prevention of Domestic Violence and evaluation of claims of abuse to children and family members and extensive experience with mental health issues
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.”




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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