Hon. James L. Smith (Ret.)

T: 714-939-1300
F: 714-939-8710
Arbitration

Judge Smith is a skilled and respected arbitrator, drawing upon his more than two decades of experience as a judge overseeing hundreds of trials. Highly regarded among counsel for his intellect and fairness, he is known for preparing thoroughly for arbitrations so that hearings run efficiently and effectively.

Since his retirement from the bench, he has arbitrated numerous complex litigation matters in a wide spectrum of practice areas and industries. These include disputes involving business/commercial, public entity, estate and trust, and personal injury issues.

Representative Matters

  • Disputes related to money or interest owed under loan agreements
  • Numerous panel arbitrations regarding failure to perform and breach of contract
  • Disputes regarding collecting large amounts in attorney fees
  • Issues regarding non-compete claims related to sale of company
  • Matters regarding breach of contract, quantum merit, and monetary damages
  • Claims related to non-disclosure of pertinent information regarding purchase and sale of real property
  • Arbitrated several disputes between Homeowners Associations and service companies regarding failure to perform

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Chair, Presiding Judges Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council, 1995
  • Governing Board, Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER), 1986-1992
  • Judicial Criminal Advisory Committee on Trial Court Coordination, 1974-1978
  • Judicial Criminal Justice Planning Committee, 1974-1978
  • President, Camp Osceola Board of Directors, 1974
  • President, Orange YMCA Board of Directors, 1964-1973
  • Member, Executive Committee, Orange County Superior Court, (7 years, not continuously)
  • Professor, Western State University College of Law, 1972-1989; (teaching Trial Practice, Trial Advocacy, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Introduction to Legal Education)
  • Member, faculty of numerous programs presented by the Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER) and the California Judges Association (CJA)
  • Taught at the California Judicial College and has served as Team Leader of the Large Court section of the Presiding Judges Institute presented by CJER
  • Participated in numerous CEB programs on various subjects including E-Discovery, Bias In the Workplace, Arbitration Procedures, Effective Mediation Practices, Managing Mental Health and Evidence
  • Served as instructor in Criminal Law for the Orange County Peace Officers Academy
  • "Levity Over Decorum," ADR Profile, Daily Journal, June 14, 2013

Background and Education

  • Judge, Orange County Superior Court, 1980-1995 (Presiding Judge, 1994-1995; Assistant Presiding Judge, 1991-1994; Complex Litigation Panel, 1992-1993; Presiding Judge, Probate Dept. 1987-1988; Supervising Judge, Criminal Panel, 1984-1985; Family Law Panel, 1982)
  • Judge, West Orange County Municipal Court, 1971-1980
  • Sole practitioner with emphasis on litigation, 1967-1971
  • Partner with Schlegel, Friedemann, Kelley & Smith, 1964-1967
  • Deputy District Attorney, County of Orange, 1963-1964 (founded Fraud Div., 1964)
  • Admitted to the California Bar and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1963
  • LL.B. (JD), Hastings College of the Law
  • B.A., University of Redlands

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