Hon. Maria-Elena James See Rating Details
Magistrate Judge See Comments
N.D.Cal.  
Average Rating:8.2 - 9 rating(s)
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Ratings

*Temperament:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Scholarship:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Industriousness:   (1=Not at all industrious,10=Highly industrious)
*Ability to Handle Complex Litigation:    (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Punctuality:    (1=Chronic`y Late,10=Always on Time)
*Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation:    (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
*Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation:   (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Flexibility In Scheduling   (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Pre-Trial:   (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Civil Settlement Discussions:   (1=Least Involved,10=Most Involved)
  Items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating
Comments



What others have said about Hon. Maria-Elena James


Comments


Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 22329
Rating:9.4
Comments:
Wonderful Temperament. Great Settlement Judge because she is even-handed and does not escalate the dispute. She grinds until she gets it done.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 21690
Rating:9.0
Comments:
I love Judge James. She's a beautiful, sweet, patient lady, just a wonderful person. I'd give her stars and stars.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 18117
Rating:10.0
Comments:
I found Judge James very effective in mediating a complex environmental dispute. Intelligent and insightful, and able to bring two parties together despite a wide gulf between them.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 13211
Rating:10.0
Comments:
Judge James is a really nice person, the kind of woman you would like to have in your inner circle of friends. But, if you are thinking about using her for settlement conference—DON’T DO IT. Really. Just don’t. She is totally unprepared and ineffective. If you must have a settlement conference with her, don’t spend time on the Settlement Conference Statement. She won’t read it.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 9334
Rating:3.8
Comments:
Absolutely useless in settlement discussions. Doesn't push at all, and has no sense of trying to find out what each party really wants; she assumes it's money rather than fair play or other forms of justice. Lacks general sense of inquisitiveness necessary for the task. I've heard the same from other attorneys.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 7381
Rating:5.0
Comments:
At the very beginning of the settlement, she told a plaintiff who was obviously vulnerable and very physically disabled, that he would never ever win the case and that he ought to take whatever he could get. Did not talk about the facts of the case, but rather implied that the status of the parties would be the deciding factor. Bullied plaintiff and his counsel. Boasted about her presiding over many trials and that she can therefore predict outcomes. Her U.C. Irvine bio says that she only presides over four trials per year. Even worse, she pitted plaintiff and his counsel against each other by telling the attorney that she should take no fees because she was going to lose the case anyway, and that all settlement proceeds should go to her client just to get the case done. This would appear to be unethical settlement conduct, to try to pit attorney and client against one another. Attorney seriously considered withdrawing from the case due to the conflict she had created. On another point, she boasts about her public service, but has clearly no understanding of private practice. It is doubtful that she would have told a public servant to forego their salary so that it could go towards resolving a case. One doubts that she told defense counsel to contribute his fees to a settlement. Bizarre settlement conference. Very exhausting.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5878
Rating:9.6
Comments:
I agree with the previous comments. Judge James is everyone's favorite federal judge.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5875
Rating:9.7
Comments:
A wonderful judge -- the most courteous and judicious judge I've ever experienced. Wasted as a magistrate judge in my opinion -- appointment as a district judge is long overdue. The kind of judge you'd like to clone.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 4762
Rating:7.8
Comments:
Judge James is perhaps the judge that I like best as a person in the Northern District. She is unfailingly friendly, warm, and courteous to everyone before her. The negative side of this is that she has a hard time twisting arms and busting heads, and cases under her purview, whether for settlement, discovery refereeing, or trial, tend to be controlled by whichever attorney is most obnoxious. If she could get a bit stronger in her temperament she'd be a truly ideal judge.