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Hon. Patricia M. Lucas

Hon. Patricia M. Lucas (Ret.)

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Governmental & Public Agency
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Patricia M. Lucas (Ret.) brings a broad range of experience to her JAMS practice, including leadership roles on the California bench and in her private civil litigation practice. She was a judicial leader in both education and statewide administration, serving as dean of the California Judicial College, presiding judge of Santa Clara County and chair of the statewide committee of presiding judges advising the chief justice and the Judicial Council. She also supervised both the civil and family divisions of the Santa Clara Superior Court. As an attorney, she was the chair of the litigation group at Silicon Valley firm Fenwick & West. 

In her career as an advocate, Judge Lucas represented clients in a wide range of substantive areas, including intellectual property, employment, products liability, real estate, antitrust and contract disputes. She tried cases and argued appeals in the state and federal courts. On the bench, Judge Lucas presided over a docket of hundreds of complex civil cases, including multiparty, coordinated and consolidated actions, class actions, and Private Attorneys General Act claims. She has also handled civil pretrial motion calendars and numerous civil jury and bench trials. Judge Lucas served as a pro tem justice on the Sixth District Court of Appeal.

In addition to acting as a mediator and arbitrator, Judge Lucas serves as a special master, discovery referee and neutral evaluator. She treats all participants with respect and has a reputation for her thorough preparation and careful listening. Mindful that settlement discussions may be the “day in court” for many matters, Judge Lucas strives to understand each party’s needs and interests and to explore creative resolutions.

The following range of case types was handled by Judge Lucas as a jurist. In addition, in her law practice, she represented clients in many of the case types involving intellectual property and employment claims.

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Fraud claims by insurance companies against medical clinics
      • Contract disputes between corporations involving claims of breach of technology licensing agreements and financial mismanagement
      • Claims arising out of sales of businesses
      • Disputes regarding alleged violations of noncompete agreements and duty of loyalty
      • Disputes between partners concerning management and possible dissolution of various business enterprises
      • Shareholder disputes challenging decisions by the board of directors
      • Commercial lease and foreclosure disputes
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • Consumer class actions involving claims of breach of privacy
      • Class actions alleging that corporations transferred data to foreign government without consumer consent
      • Claims for injuries sustained from defective medical devices
      • Claims based on deceptive advertising of consumer products
  • Employment Law
      • Numerous cases involving alleged wrongful termination, including claims by executives and founders
      • Numerous cases involving claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, based on age, gender, race and sexual orientation
      • Class actions challenging wage statement violations, meal and rest break policies and practices, failure to pay overtime and other alleged wage and hour violations
      • Class actions and Private Attorneys General Act cases arising out of alleged misclassification of temporary service employees, illegal time-rounding, off-the-clock travel to work sites and other violations of California Labor Code
      • Wrongful termination and retaliation class actions by employees as whistleblowers challenging allegedly illegal company practices
      • Various cases involving allegations of breach of duty of loyalty and noncompete agreements
  • Governmental & Public Agency
      • Multiparty bench trial, conducted pursuant to stipulated jury waiver, of complex dispute concerning public pension rights
      • Multiple disputes between unions and local government concerning employee benefits
      • Numerous writs of mandate involving final administrative orders and decisions of municipalities, state agencies and other government entities
      • Writs of mandate challenging approval of projects in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act involving transportation, development and historic preservation
      • Disputes against governmental entities involving employment, personal injury and contract disputes 
  • Intellectual Property
      • Numerous cases alleging trade secret misappropriation of technology 
      • Employer suits against competitor and former employees for alleged trade secrets theft, breach of duty of loyalty and unfair competition
      • Claims of theft of confidential information by foreign government-sponsored corporation
      • Numerous cases involving breach of development and licensing agreements
  • Personal Injury
      • Numerous cases involving injuries or death arising out of vehicle accidents, including those involving buses, motorcycles, trucks, bicycles and automobiles
      • Claims against schools and churches involving alleged sexual abuse by teachers and other adults supervising children
      • Numerous personal injury cases involving premises liability, workplace safety, roadway design and medical procedures
      • Cases involving wrongful death based on medical negligence and defective products
  • Securities
      • Class actions for alleged misrepresentations and omissions in the registration and prospectus issued in connection with initial and subsequent funding
      • Shareholder derivative actions arising from allegations that officers and directors breached fiduciary duties and committed other misconduct
      • Claims challenging corporate mergers, acquisitions and dissolutions
  • Unfair Competition
      • Cases alleging violations of the California Unfair Practices Act and Cartwright Act
      • Various class actions alleging false advertising and unfair competition against pharmaceutical and technology companies
      • Claims alleging unfair competition in connection with theft of trade secrets

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee
    • Chair, 2017–2018
    • Vice-Chair, 2017
  • Judicial Council of California
    • Advisory Member, 2017–2018
    • Executive and Planning Committee
    • Judicial Branch Budget Committee
    • Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee
  • William A. Ingram Inn, American Inns of Court, 2004—2024
    • Co-President, 2008–2010
    • Executive Board, 2005–2023
  • Member, Board of Governors, Northern California Chapter, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 2004—2024
  • Instructor for Trials, Depositions, Negotiations, Leadership Skills; National Institute for Trial Advocacy;1990–2024
  • Instructor for Trials, Evidence, Civil Procedure; California Center for Judicial Education and Research; 2004—2024
  • Board Member, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, 2001–2003

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Elected by the Santa Clara Superior Court bench as presiding judge, 2016; assistant presiding judge, 2014
  • Appointed by the Judicial Council as Dean of the California Judicial College, 2014
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association Unsung Hero Award (for work on diversity and inclusion initiatives with Santa Clara Superior Court), 2019
  • Woman of Influence, San Jose Business Journal, 2011
  • Judge of the Year, Women Lawyers Section, Santa Clara County Bar Association, 2007
  • Robert F. Peckham Award for Outstanding Public Interest, 2000

Selected Publications

  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers Report
    • “What Judges Are Taught About Trials,” Winter Issue, 2023
    • “Trial Objections in Civil Cases: What Trial Judges Wish Attorneys Would Do and Not Do,” Summer Issue, 2010
    • “Discovery’s Top Ten: What Judges Think About Discovery Motions,” Summer Issue, 2005
  • “The Nuts and Bolts of Civil Discovery,” Daily Journal, 2007

Background and Education

  • Judge, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, 2003–2023
    • Complex Civil Litigation, 2020–2023
    • Presiding Judge, 2017–2018
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 2015–2016
    • Civil Trials, 2004, 2013, 2016
    • Civil Pretrial (from filing up to trial), 2011–2012, 2014–2015
    • Civil Supervising Judge, 2014–2015
    • Family Law, 2005–2008
      • Supervising Judge, 2006–2008
    • Appellate Division, 2004, 2010
    • Felony Trials, 2009–2010
    • Misdemeanor Direct Calendar, 2003
  • Partner, Fenwick & West LLP, 1993–2003
  • Brown & Bain
    • Partner, 1988–1993
    • Associate, 1986–1988
  • Associate; Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison; 1979–1986
  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1979
  • B.A., cum laude, Rice University, 1976


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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