HON. CLAY M. SMITH, RET.

  • Available in Orange County, All of California
  • Available for Mediation, Arbitration, and Private Judging assignments

Introduction

Judge Smith retired from the Orange County Superior Court after twenty years of distinguished service. His judicial experience included serving as a Supervising Judge of the family law panel for 3 years, Presiding Judge of the court's appellate division, and a special master for the Commission on Judicial Performance. Judge Smith, known for his scholarly approach to judicial decision-making, is the author of more than a dozen published legal articles and has been honored by several bar associations. Judge Smith has presided over a broad range of civil cases, including personal injury, professional negligence, employment discrimination, real property and business disputes.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Smith was successful in the practice of real estate, environmental, and business transactional law. He is a frequent lecturer and panelist in the areas of family law, civil procedure, and legal ethics. He brings his commitment to excellence and service to his role as a mediator, arbitrator, and private judge. He commented, "I am painfully aware of the high cost, both financial and emotional, of protracted litigation. I am energized by the opportunity to help litigants reach an earlier and less costly resolution."

Specialties

  • Family Law
  • Personal Injury
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Real Property
  • Business/Contractual

Experience Summary

Notable case types Judge Smith oversaw as a superior court judge as well as cases handled in private practice

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Hobbies & Interests

In his spare time, Judge Smith is a baseball fan, Harvey Davidson enthusiast, and a traveler.

Experience Summary

FAMILY LAW

Judge Smith's judicial tenure included nine years on the family law panel, including three as supervising judge. He has presided over hundreds of family law trials, request for orders hearings, settlement conferences, and related hearings.


COMMERCIAL AND REAL PROPERTY

As the assistant general counsel and officer of an NYSE corporation, Judge Smith was directly responsible for the planning and documentation of hundreds of significant corporate and real estate transactions. As a judge, he conducted numerous jury and bench trials resulting from commercial transactions. His deep experience with both the business and legal aspects of commercial transactions give him a superb background for the mediation or arbitration of related disputes.


PERSONAL INJURY AND PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE

Judge Smith has presided over numerous jury trials resulting from accidents causing personal injuries and alleged medical negligence. Several of these trials were the result of catastrophic injuries or death. His experience includes both cases resulting in multi-million dollar verdicts, as well as defense verdicts. His background in this case type is one of absolute neutrality.


ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Judge Smith has years of experience in the area of environmental law. This includes overseeing environmental assessments prior to the sale or purchase of large real estate portfolios and the implementation of remediation plans. He has also directly handled both the prosecution and defense of many cost recovery actions involving both private PRP's and government agencies.


Legal Career

  • Judge, Superior Court of Orange County (1998-2017)
  • Judge, Municipal Court of Orange County (1997-1998)
  • Arbitrator, Orange County Superior Court (1983-1997)
  • Probation Monitor, State Bar of California (1983-1997)
  • Assistant General Counsel, Catellus Development Corporation (1988-1997)
  • Attorney, Santa Fe Pacific Corporation (1982-1988)
  • Attorney, Rhodes, Kendall and Harrington (1980-1982)
  • Attorney, O’Melveny & Meyers (1978-1982)

Education & Professional Affiliations

  • J.D., University of Utah, Salt Lake City (1977)
  • B. A., Brigham Young University, Provo. UT (1974)
  • Adjunct Professor, Western State University School of Law (Secured Land Transactions, Remedies, Commercial Leasing)
  • Instructor, Fullerton College (Introduction to Legal Studies, Criminal Law & Procedure)

Achievements & Awards

  • Member, Civil Law Education Committee (2003-2008)
  • Member, Judicial Service Advisory Committee (2001-2007)
  • Planning Commissioner, City of Brea (1997)
  • "Stepping Up to Family Law," Orange County Lawyer, 2008
  • "Watchmen on the Wall – Unsung Heroes of the Rule of Law," Orange County Lawyer, 2008
  • "Intersections Along the High Road," Association of Business Trial Lawyers Report, Fall 2004
  • "A Lonely Decision," Orange County Lawyer, December 1999
  • "Chronical of a New Judge," Orange County Lawyer, June 1997
  • Chair, Open Space Task Force, City of Brea (1993)
  • "Epting v. Utah, Misapplication of Governmental Immunity." 1976 Utah Law Review, 187

Legal Experience

  • Family Law
  • Personal Injury
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Real Property
  • Business/Contractual

Recent Representative Cases


Downtown Los Angeles

601 S. Figueroa
Ste 4000
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: 213.223.1113
Fax      : 213.223.1114

Los Angeles Mediation

West Los Angeles

11601 Wilshire Blvd
Ste 2040
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 310.442.2100
Fax      : 310.442.2125

Mediators Los Angeles

San Diego

402 W. Broadway
Ste 2400
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619.814.1966
Fax      : 619.814.1967

San Diego Mediation

Santa Ana

1851 East First Street
Ste 1600
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Phone: 714.834.1340
Fax      : 714.834.1344

Orange County Mediation

San Francisco

100 Pine Street
Ste 1950
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415.266.1242
Fax      : 415.266.1243

San Francisco Mediation

Sacramento

980 9th Street
Suite 2200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916.394.8490
Fax      : 916.394.8495

Sacramento Mediation