John Herlihy

Hon. John F. Herlihy (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee/Special Master

Case Manager
Jesika Lee
T: 408-346-0767
F: 408-296-5267
160 W. Santa Clara St.,, Suite 1600, San Jose, CA 95113

John F. Herlihy 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. John Herlihy (Ret.), a full-time neutral with JAMS, has extensive experience mediating and arbitrating employment matters.  As the former Supervising Judge of the Civil Division of Santa Clara County Superior Court, he heard many employment cases of all varieties. He has handled many types of cases including discrimination, wrongful termination, as well as employment class actions.  Judge Herlihy is well regarded by counsel for being prepared, thorough and fair.  He has the ability to bring parties together in sensitive employment matters in order to reach resolution.

Representative Matters

  • Matter alleging wrongful termination in violation of public policy in addition to 12 other claims including solicitation of employees after termination and violations of B&P code section 17200

  • Wrongful termination and retaliation claims after a complaint of illegal and discriminatory conduct was filed

  • Case alleging gender discrimination, marital discrimination, and pregnancy discrimination as the causes of termination

  • Matter involving claim of discrimination due to disability based on medical issues. Employer contends termination due to inability to program in a certain programming language

  • Case in which employees alleged race discrimination, retaliation, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress after the company refused to hire them back although they were fired for an error admittedly caused by two different employees

  • Claim that employer, a multi-national company, failed to pay the legal minimum wage and overtime compensation; employee also sought compensation for missed meal breaks, interest, penalties, and attorney’s fees

  • Two separate class actions against the same temporary employment agency for alleged wage and hour violations including statement violations, unpaid overtime wages, waiting time penalties, and PAGA penalties

  • Matter involving claims of discrimination based upon age, gender, and race by employer and claims of sexual harassment by the employee; employee also sought protections as a whistleblower

  • Dental assistant alleged that the dentist sexually harassed her including unwanted touching and vulgar and offensive comments related to her sexual orientation

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

  • St. Thomas More Award, St. Thomas More Society of Santa Clara County, 2008
  • Judge of the Year, Santa Clara Trial Lawyers Association, 2007
  • Commendation from the Mayor of the City of San Jose for service on the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, 1992
  • Commendation from the Board of Supervisors for the County of Santa Clara for service on the Justice System Advisory Commission, 1990
  • Co-chair, ADR Bench Bar Committee
  • Member, Civil Advisory Committee, ADR Subcommittee, and Case Management Subcommittee, Judicial Council for the State of California
  • Member, San Francisco Bay Area Intellectual Property Inn of Court, 1999-2002, various years 
  • Member, Santa Clara County Bar Association, 1974-present
  • Adjunct faculty and lecturer in law, Santa Clara University Law School, 1984-2010
  • Judge, International Trademark Association (INTA), Saul Lefkowitz Regional Moot Court Competition, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011
  • Created and teaches a college course in ADR for paralegals, De Anza College, various years 
  • Publications:
    • Consultant, California Judges Benchbook: Civil Proceedings-Trial 2nd ed., which covered extensively topics related to case management and settlement of civil cases, California Center for Judicial Education and Research, 2008-present
    • Consultant, California Judges Benchbook: Civil Proceedings-Before Trial 2nd ed., California Center for Judicial Education and Research, 2006-2008

ADR Profiles

  • Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court, 1990-2009 (Supervising Judge Civil Division, Civil Case Manager Judge)
  • Judge, Santa Clara County Municipal Court, 1982-1990
  • Commissioner, Santa Clara County Municipal Court, 1980-1982
  • JAG Captain, California National Guard, 1980-1985
  • Deputy District Attorney, Santa Clara County, 1976-1980
  • Civil Attorney, Hansen & Herlihy, 1974-1976
  • J.D., University of California Hastings College of the Law, 1974
    (Editorial Associate and Author, Constitutional Law Quarterly)
  • B.A., with Distinction & Honors in Political Science, San Jose State University, 1971

Counsel Comments

    • “Judge Herlihy has a touch and intellect that are very effective.”

      – A
    • “[Judge Herlihy] talked everyone into staying, kept at it, and against all odds got the settlement done.”

      – Named partner at regional firm
    • “[Judge Herlihy] has a great ability to work with people and size them up and recognize the strengths and weaknesses of both parties.”

      – Named partner at regional firm 



Practice Areas

Available nationwide


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