William Howatt

Hon. William J. Howatt, Jr. (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee/Special Master, Judge Pro Tem

Case Manager
Jenny Truex
T: 619-237-0805
F: 619-236-9032
401 B Street, Suite 2100, San Diego, CA 92101


Judge William J. Howatt, Jr. (Ret.) joined JAMS following more than 27 years on the bench, including almost two decades with the San Diego County Superior Court. He first served as Presiding Judge of the Court before serving as an Independent Civil Calendar Judge, where he managed over 1,000 general and limited jurisdiction cases. During his time on the bench, Judge Howatt conducted jury and court trials, as well as law and motion and settlement conferences. From 2003 to 2006 he was Supervising Judge for Family Law. He continues to utilize his knowledge of evidence principles and rules to facilitate both mediations and arbitrations.

Attorneys who have worked with Judge Howatt describe him as well prepared and a thorough listener who is able to help parties find a resolution that is fair for all involved. His experience and patience are qualities that clients find crucial to dispute resolution.

Representative Matters

  • Business/Commercial
    • Matters regarding fraudulent credit practices in sale of motor vehicles
    • Numerous disputes arising from dysfunctional automotive vehicles
  • Employment
    • Numerous matters involving wrongful termination
  • Environmental
    • Matters arising from alleged California Environmental Quality (CEQA) violations by cities 
    • CEQA matter involving proposed construction of elementary schools
  • Family Law
    • Judge Howatt has experience with matters involving dissolution of marriage, asset and property distribution, child and spousal support, child custody, move-away, attorney fees, and costs of move-away issues.
    • For a comprehensive overview of Judge Howatt’s experience, please visit his Family Law biography
  • Governmental/Public Agency
    • Matters arising from disputes to determine qualifications for election to public organizations 
    • Disputes concerning allegations of malfeasance by board members of public health organizations 
    • Matter involving Writ of Mandate and Declaratory Relief regarding authority of Review Board to subpoena peace officers as witnesses of Board hearings 
    • Disputes concerning privacy rights of police officers 
    • Matter arising from dispute where public service employee sued an attorney-rental car owner for false reports of police misconduct
  • Personal Injury/Torts
    • Lawsuit resulting from incident involving death of individual chased into oncoming traffic by security dogs on golf course
  • Real Property
    • Dispute regarding breach of major leased space for church services
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • Member, City of San Diego Ethics Commission, 2010-2013
    • Chairman, 2013
ADR Profiles
  • San Diego County Superior Court
    • Supervising Judge of Family Law, 2003-2006
    • Temporary Assignment, Court of Appeal, Division One, Fourth District, 1998
    • Independent Civil Calendar Court, 1997-2006
    • Presiding Judge, 1996-1997
    • Family Law Department Assignment, 1987-1990
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 1994-1995
    • Civil Department, Vista, 1991-1992
    • Presiding Judge, Appellate Division, 1992
    • Appellate Division, 1991-1992

Counsel Comments

    • “He is one of those rare judges who has a very human approach and also a passion for the rules of evidence and civil procedure.”
    • “…I’ve continued to take complicated cases to him because of his methodology. He brings a level of patience and gravitas that clients appreciate. When he speaks they listen. He’s very effective in bringing about settlements. He’s good at moving them to where they need to be.”



Practice Areas

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Family Law
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee
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