Skip to main content
Download VCard
Hon. James P. Kleinberg
video thumbnail

Hon. James P. Kleinberg (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Antitrust & Competition
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Financial Markets
Intellectual Property
International & Cross-Border
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. James P. Kleinberg (Ret.) is a skilled arbitrator, mediator, and special master known for his efficiency and keeping parties focused on the issues. He joined JAMS in 2015 following 12 years as a California Superior Court Judge sitting in Santa Clara County and over 34 years as a federal prosecutor and private lawyer devoted to complex civil litigation.  Judge Kleinberg has extensive experience in antitrust, business/commercial, class action/mass tort, employment, financial markets, insurance, intellectual property, and securities cases.

Judge Kleinberg began his over 50 year legal career as a Trial Attorney in the Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice. In that role he argued motions and presided over a federal grand jury in Utah. After two years in that position, he began an extensive litigation practice including numerous complex cases involving commercial disputes, class actions, securities, antitrust and trade regulation, and intellectual property issues in state and federal courts throughout the nation, and in Canada, Europe, and Asia. These cases included the representation of high technology companies, accounting firms, agencies of foreign governments, outside directors in securities litigation, sports teams and leagues, and individuals in SEC investigations. Judge Kleinberg’s private practice also included domestic and international arbitration within these practice areas. His clients included Stanford University, Hewlett Packard, Itel , Microsoft, Allianz, Control Data, Tandem Computers, National Football League, Peat Marwick, Smith Corona, Raytheon, an agency of the Philippine Government, and Digital Equipment. He was perennially listed in the Best Lawyers in America publication.

Judge Kleinberg appeared in Superior and Federal Courts throughout California, and state and federal courts in Texas, Minnesota, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Virginia.  He argued appeals in the First and Sixth Districts, California Court of Appeal and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Additionally, he argued before the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. and handled matters in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada, Germany and Italy.

After appointment to the Santa Clara Superior Court in 2002 Judge Kleinberg continued his work on complex civil cases while on the bench, acting as settlement judge in dozens of cases. In his final three years on the bench he was appointed to be one of 20 Superior Court judges in California (out of 2,000) managing the Complex Civil Litigation Program in Santa Clara County. Prior to that assignment he was supervising judge of the court’s civil division, as well as presiding over jury and court trials and discovery issues. On the Superior Court he served as an Executive Committee member and chair of the Technology Services Committee. As a lawyer he was one of the founders of the Early Neutral Evaluation program for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. He was President of the Ninth Circuit Historical Society, and President of the Ingram Inn of Court.  He was named the 2014 “Judge of the Year” by the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, and he received the 2013 “Outstanding Jurist” award from the Santa Clara County Bar Association. In 2015, he was named the first  Co-Ombudsperson for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California and continues in that role. 

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Appointed Co-Ombudsperson for U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (2014 – present)
  • Serves as an Advisor to the Federal Judical Center's Trade Secret Case Mangement Judicical Guide (2023)
  • Settled and arbitrated hundreds of cases as a neutral at JAMS
  • Acted as settlement judge in numerous complex cases in the Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Over 33 years of private practice experience in complex civil litigation, including cases in state, federal, and appeals courts
  • Early Neutral Evaluator, United States District Court, Northern District, California
  • Instructor in mediation techniques for Santa Clara County Superior Court

Representative Matters handled as a Neutral at JAMS 


  • Arbitrated breach of contract – corporate acquisition
  • Arbitrated personal services contract
  • Handled arbitration involving hotel management contract
  • Arbitrated installment equipment sale
  • Handled arbitration involving corporate spinoff
  • Arbitrated billing services agreement
  • Arbitrated business property dispute regarding sublease
  • Mediated corporate officer dispute regarding stock options
  • Mediated contract dispute between city employee and city government
  • Mediated contract dispute between two billion-dollar high-tech companies
  • Assigned by Superior Court, San Mateo County to be arbitrator in business dispute that involves proprietary information
  • Mediator in multi-party and multi-jurisdiction (State Courts in California, Federal Court in California, Chancery Court in Delaware) shareholder derivative cases against Alfabet/Google


  • Handled arbitration involving construction defects
  • Resolved construction defect case in mediation


  • Arbitrated Fair Employment Housing Act claims
  • Arbitrated employment claim involving terminated executive of professional sports team
  • Mediated employee compensation claim vs. large public company

Intellectual Property

  • Handled arbitration regarding assignment of trademarks
  • Arbitrated asset purchase agreement with intellectual property issues
  • Mediated trade secrets dispute between two high-tech companies


  • Mediated conflict between senior physician and medical group
  • Assigned by Superior Court, San Francisco, to act as referee and suggest fee allocation to counsel in Sutter Health litigation


  • Mediated attorneys’ fees claim vs. insurance carrier


  • Mediated shareholder derivative litigation vs, public companies
  • Mediated corporate officer dispute regarding stock options

Special appointments and assignments through JAMS

  • Presided over mock trials and motion hearings
  • Served as discovery master in a complex civil case, Superior Court
  • Made recommendations to San Francisco Superior Court regarding the pretrial sealing of thousands of documents in large class action
  • Made recommendations regarding award of Attorneys’ fees in large class action, U.S. District Court

Representative matters handled as a lawyer


  • As Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, handled federal grand jury proceedings in Utah and appeared in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • Imperial Bank v. Comdata, United States District Court Northern District, California
  • Industry-wide cases involving workers’ compensation insurance with alleged price-fixing, federal court in Minnesota; represented four carriers to obtain summary judgment against other insurers for share of settlement payments


  • Represented major European insurance companies in disputes over pre-World War II Policies; participated in obtaining global settlements and dismissals of actions
  • Dollinger DeAnza Associates v. Chicago Title – 6th DCA (2011) – Affirmed decision granting summary judgment that title insurance policy did not provide coverage

Intellectual Property 

  • Network Caching v. Akamai Technologies, United States District Court, Northern District, California (internet technology)
  • Business Objects v. Cognos Corporation, United States District Court, Northern District, California (database software – patent)
  • v. Barnes & Noble, United States District Court, Western District, Washington (business methods – patent)
  • Hartford House v. Microsoft Corporation, Santa Clara County Superior Court (junk mail filters on the internet)
  • Nufert v.  Metabolex Corporation, Alameda County Superior Court (trade secrets – biotechnology) TMP Interactive, ( and Excite@Home (mediation and arbitration regarding internet sites) and AOL (advice regarding internet sites)
  • Insyst, Ltd. V. Applied Materials, Inc. – 6th DCA (2012) – Affirmed decision granting summary judgment for Defendant in trade secrets case

Securities and Business

  • Merrill Lynch Brokerage NASD Arbitrations
  • In re Hybrid Securities Class Action Litigation, United States District Court, Northern District, California (represented former director)
  • Oakland Raiders v. National Football League, Santa Clara County Superior Court (derivative claims re: corporation management – summary judgment granted – affirmed on appeal)
  • Pensoft v. EO and AT&T, Santa Clara County Superior Court (corporation acquisition – settled after four weeks of jury trial)
  • Leyte-Vidal v. Semel – 6th DCA (2013) – Shareholder derivative action vs. officers and directors of Yahoo! Dismissal pursuant to Delaware law pursuant to demand futility doctrine affirmed
  • Kelley v. Rambus – 6th DCA (2012) – Affirmed decision in securities fraud case that claims were barred by res judicata (dismissal of parallel federal court action)
  • Itel Corporation – USDC, N.D. CA – representation of outside directors in securities class action

Matters handled as a Judge 


  • Hewlett Packard v. Oracle (2013) – contract dispute re: SLAPP issues resulting in billion dollar award upheld on appeal
    Optimal Markets v. Salant – 6th DCA (2013) – Affirmed order that denied sanctions arising out of arbitration (award also confirmed)
  • Depalma v. Jeans – 6th DCA (2011) – Affirmed grant of summary judgment in favor of brokers in real estate transaction
  • Walewski v. Williams – 6th DCA (2009) – Affirmed decision regarding award of attorneys’ fees pursuant to contract
  • Garlock v. Stanley – 6th DCA (2009) – Affirmed decision regarding damages for failure to improve building
  • California Housing v. KPMG (Peat Marwick), Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Vondjidis v. Hewlett Packard Company – 6th DCA (2014) Affirmed denial of class certification motion
  • Nan Pao v. Sybase

Class Action 

  • Avidor v. Sutter’s Place – 6th DCA (2013) – Affirmed decision (at close of Plaintiff’s case) in class action; found San Jose card room not in violation of law by withholding portion of gratuities received by dealers to be distributed to other employees
  • Fireside Bank Cases – 6th DCA (2010) – Affirmed decision dismissing class actions against lender

Product Liability 

  • People of State of California v. Atlantic Richfield, (“lead paint litigation”) – (2013-2014) – Court trial finding in favor of Plaintiffs affirmed on appeal by the California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, ultimate multi-million dollar settlement


  • Onkvisit v. California State University – 6th DCA (2012) – Affirmed grant of summary judgment for Defendant in case by professor who claimed illegal demotion because he was a whistleblower 
  • Reinhard v. Home Depot – 6th DCA (2010) – Affirmed decision granting summary judgment in disability/discrimination case 
  • Spielbauer v. County of Santa Clara – California Supreme Court (2007) – Affirming decision regarding denying writ of mandate re: termination of employment
  • Valderrama v. Santa Clara County Personnel Board – 6th DCA (2009) – Affirmed decision regarding termination of airport employee

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Honors, Memberships and Leadership positions
  • Appointed Co-Ombudsperson for U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 2014 - present
  • Advisor, Trade Secret Case Management Judicial Guide, Federal Judicial Center, 2023
  • Judicial Advisor, Sedona Conference, Trade Secrets Working Group, 2021
  • Member, California Lawyers Assocaition International Law Section, 2020
  • Advisor, California Lawyers Association International Law Section, 2020
  •  Vice-Chair, American Bar Association International Law Section, International Litigation Committee, FY2020-21 Steering Group 
  • Member, Board of Directors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Northern California Chapter
  • Vice Chair, Policy Subcommittee, American Bar Association International Litigation Committee, 2018-2019 Appointed Co-Ombudsperson for U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 2014 - present
  • Named “Judge of the Year,” Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, 2014 Awarded, “Outstanding Jurist,” Santa Clara County Bar Association, 2013
  • Member and Advisor, Executive Committee, Litigation Section, State Bar of California, 2000-2012
  • Listed, “Best Lawyers in America: Business Litigation,” Silicon Valley and San Francisco, CA, 1987-2002
  • Award of Merit, Bar Association of San Francisco, 1976
  • Holton Teaching Fellow, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
  • Former President, Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society
  • Former President and current Board Member, Hon. William A. Ingram Inn of Court
  • Board Member, Silicon Valley Campaign for Legal Services
  • Member, U.S. Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel
  • Chair, Litigation Section, State Bar of California

ADR Profile

Educational Speaking Events 

  • Panelist, "Shareholder and Corporate Disputes," California Continuing Education of the Bar, 2023
  • Panelist, "Litigation Boot Camp," Pincus Educational Program, 2020
  • Panelist, Judicial Roundtable on Trade Secrets Litigation, Sedona Conference, 2020
  • Annual panelist, Practicing Law Institute, San Francisco and New York
  • Frequent panelist for Sedona Conference on Trade Secrets Issues
  • Frequent panelist for Pincus Professional Education

Background and Education

  • Judge, Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County, 2002-2014
  • Partner, McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen (subsequently Bingham McCutchen), 1983-2002
  • Associate and Partner (and managing partner), Petty, Andrews, Tufts & Jackson (later Jackson, Tufts, Cole & Black), 1969-1983
  • Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, 1967-1968
  • J.D., University of Michigan, 1967
  • B.A., University of Pittsburgh, 1964


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

Search our global directory of mediators, arbitrators and ADR professionals.

Scroll to top