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Hon. Judith M. Ryan

Hon. Judith M. Ryan (Ret.)

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General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Construction Defect
Employment Law
Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education
Hon. Judith M. Ryan (Ret.) is known for her keen ability to quickly grasp the strengths and weaknesses of a case and is highly effective in guiding parties toward settlement. Judge Ryan is universally described as being prepared, interprets the law and applies the facts in her arbitration hearings, and returns awards with a reasoned opinion in a timely fashion.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Full time mediator/arbitrator since 1989 with extensive expertise in a wide variety of matters including business/commercial, construction (defect and coverage issues) and employment disputes
  • Referee in state court proceedings and Special Master in state and federal courts
  • Thirty-two years' experience resolving civil disputes as a lawyer, judge and arbitrator through trials, arbitrations, mediations and voluntary settlement conferences
  • During her distinguished career on the Orange County Superior Court, handled complex litigation, presided over more than 500 settlement conferences, served as Supervising Judge of the Law and Motion Dept. for two years and selected as one of four initial jurists for the expedited trial program
  • Handled all aspects of public entity civil liability law and negotiated/litigated employment matters during her tenure at the City of Santa Ana/Santa Ana Police Department
  • Responsible for all outside litigation nationwide as corporate counsel for Hunt Wesson, Foods, Inc., negotiated and drafted commercial contracts and investigated employment discrimination claims

Representative Matters

  • Employment Law
    • Arbitrated many cases involving employment compensation agreements including executive employment agreements in addition to discrimination cases by employees based on all statutory grounds including age, race, religion, sex, sexual harassment and sexual orientation
  • General Commercial
    • Broad range of complex civil cases involving issues of contract interpretation, buy-sell agreements (including appraisals of real property and businesses), unfair competition, and insurance coverage disputes
  • Partnership Disputes
    • Determined partnership disputes and dissolutions involving a variety of businesses including professional medical and legal partnership disputes which have required accountings
  • Product Development
    • Has arbitrated numerous product development disputes in a variety of technical industries including the cable industry and medical device development
  • Real Property
    • Real property matters have included large commercial landlord/tenant disputes, development agreements, construction disputes including defect and environmental issues and property appraisal issues

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

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

  • Recognized as a Top 30 California Neutral, Daily Journal, 2006
  • National Association of Women Business Owners "Remarkable Woman Award" for professional involvement and contribution to the community, 2006
  • Recognized as a Top 50 California Neutral, Daily Journal, 2003
  • Loyola Law School, Orange County Distinguished Alumna of the Year, 2003
  • The Robert "Sam" Barnes Award, Orange County Bar Foundation, 1998
  • Marcus Kaufman Jurisprudence Award, Anti-Defamation League, 1994
  • Franklin G. West Award, Orange County Bar Association, 1992
  • Woman of Achievement in Law Award, Orange County YWCA, 1989
  • Recipient of numerous Letters of Recognition and Appreciation from various Bar Association Sections and Community Organizations including:
    • California Peace Officers Association
    • Orange County Bar Association Business Litigation Section
    • Orange County Bar Association Corporate Counsel Section
    • Orange County Trial Lawyers
    • Women in Leadership (WIL)
    • Young President's Organization (YPO)
    • National Legal Secretaries Association

ADR Profiles

Background and Education

  • Full time Mediator and Arbitrator, 1989-present
  • Judge, Orange County Superior Court, 1982-1989
  • Judge, Orange County Municipal Court, 1981-1982
  • Attorney, Santa Ana Police Department, Santa Ana, CA, 1977-1981
  • Corporate Counsel, Hunt Wesson Foods, Inc., Fullerton, CA, 1974-1977
  • Private law practice, Torrance and Redondo Beach, CA, 1972-1974
  • Research Attorney, Los Angeles County Superior Court Appellate Department, 1971-1972
  • ADR training includes Advanced Mediation Training, Pepperdine Univ. School of Law, Inst. for Dispute Resolution (1994) and Certification for Int'l Arbitration, Int'l Center for Arbitration (1994)
  • J.D., Loyola University, 1970
  • B.A., University of Southern California, 1966


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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