Justice James Lambden brings to his ADR practice nearly four decades of experience as a trial lawyer, trial court judge and Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal.

Resume

Hon. James Lambden

California Court of Appeal, (Ret.)

First District, Division Two

​​Mediator • Arbitrator • Discovery Referee • Appellate Consultant

Justice James Lambden brings to his ADR practice nearly four decades of experience as a trial lawyer, trial court judge and Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal.


Business Trial Lawyer

During his 14 years as a trial lawyer he represented clients throughout the state in cases involving construction, commercial contracts, torts, secured transactions, employment, insurance and real estate. His clients ranged from wind farm start-ups to international corporations such as Merck and Co.


Trial Judge and Civil Procedure expert

His 7 years as a trial judge included more than 4 years presiding over a master civil law and motion calendar averaging 25 to 30 hearings each day. During this assignment he also briefed the presiding judge weekly regarding the settlement prospects of the cases coming up for trial.

In his other civil assignments he managed the Fast Track calendar and successfully settled dozens of cases scheduled for jury trials; and he tried to verdict many others. He was named Civil Trial Judge of the Year by the Alameda/Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association before being elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1996.


Appellate Justice, Author and Educator

Justice Lambden authored over 1,000 opinions during his 17 years on the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco; and he joined in hundreds of other published opinions authored by his colleagues. More than 100 of his opinions resolved important civil issues; and several of those resulted in new law, either by subsequent legislation or as affirmed precedents.

Justice Lambden has been a national leader in developing strategies to improve access to justice. Since 1997 he has been first a founding member, then chairman and now an ex officio member of the California Commission on Access to Justice. He served on the Board of the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness. For 9 years he chaired the Access and Fairness Advisory Committee of the California Judicial Council (the constitutional governing body of the California court system). And in 2013 he received the Benjamin Aranda Award in recognition of his life-long work to remove barriers to access to justice.

Throughout his career Justice Lambden has been an author and frequent lecturer on civil procedure and substantive civil law. He has taught on behalf of the California Judges’ Association, the State Bar, CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) and CJER (California Judicial Education and Research). As an appellate justice he regularly lectured at the Bernard Witkin Judicial College and conducted orientations for new judges on procedural and substantive topics.

He co-authored California Civil Practice, “Procedure” Thomson-West; he holds a lifetime community college teaching credential in law; and he has taught legal writing and trial practice classes at several law schools for many years. However, he is reluctant to reveal in which year he composed a question for the California Bar Exam.


Judicial Experience

  • Seven years as a trial judge on the Superior Court of Alameda County
  • Including four years presiding over the Law and Motion Master Calendar
  • Named ACCTLA “Civil Trial Judge of the Year” before being appointed tothe First District Court of Appeal in 1996
  • Authored 900 appellate opinions, including more than 100 civil precedents



Professional Experience

  • Fourteen years as a trial lawyer with Fitzgerald, Abbott & Beardsley, Oakland
  • Practiced statewide in disputes involving construction, commercial contracts, torts, employment and real estate



Professional Teaching/Education

  • Author and frequent lecturer on civil procedure and substantive law topics for the California Judges Association, the State Bar, CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar, UC Berkeley), and CJER (California Judicial Education and Research)
  • Co-Author, California Civil Practice: Procedure, Thomson-West
  • Contributor, California Appellate Practice, Matthew Bender
  • Witkin Lecturer, Bernard Witkin Judicial College, Berkeley
  • State Bar of California Litigation Section programs, including: “EffectiveSummary Judgment Motion Practice: A Judicial Perspective”
  • Co-author, “Stop Shooting Down Tort Liability, It is Time to Resuscitate theAbnormally Dangerous Activity Doctrine Against Handgun Manufacturers.” Stanford Law and Policy Review, Vol. 12:143 (2001)
  • Instructor in Law, Peralta Community College District



Professional Affiliations

  • Member, California Society of Healthcare Attorneys (CSHA)
  • Member, California Dispute Resolution Council (CDRC)
  • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL)
  • Chairman, Access and Fairness Committee, 2003-2012 (Principal standing committee of the Judicial Council)
  • Chairman, California Commission on Access to Justice (State Bar)
  • National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness, Board Member
  • California Tribal/State Court Forum, Founding Member
  • California Judges Association, Board Member
  • Alameda County Bar Association, Member Board of Directors
  • Executive Chairman, Alameda County Bar Association Foundation
  • Bay Area Center for Law & the Deaf (BACLAD), Board of Directors
  • Founding Member: Deaf Counseling Advocacy & Referral Agency
  • Hastings Alumni Association, University of California Alumni Association



Professional Honors & Awards

  • Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association (ACCTLA) Civil Trial Judge of the Year
  • Honored by Resolution of the Alameda County Bar Foundation for Public Service, 2000
  • Bench Bar Coalition “Jurist of the Year” Award for work with the Legislature to increase funding for legal services, 2007
  • “Opening Doors to Justice” Award, One Justice, 2008
  • Benjamin Aranda Award for improving access to justice, 2013



Education, Service & Bar Admission

  • United States Naval Reserve, 1968-1971
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A., Political Science, magna cum laude
  • Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, J.D.