In 2018, after 21 years of distinguished service for the Orange County Superior Court, Judge Colaw retired and currently serves as a mediator, arbitrator, and private judge. After 11 years on the General Civil Panel, Judge Colaw served for 9 years on the Complex Civil Panel, where he developed an unparalleled track record, presiding over a broad spectrum of challenging cases including employment class actions, construction defects, toxic torts, CEQA and other multi-party complex matters.
Judge Colaw is a long-time active member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)and Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL). He is the proud recipient of many judicial honors including several “Judge of the Year” awards from various organizations. Prior to serving on the bench, Judge Colaw was in private practice for 20 years representing both plaintiffs and defendants in all types of civil litigation. Judge Colaw, a United States Navy veteran who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, is an alumnus of the Santa Clara University School of Law, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Hobbies & Interests
Judge Colaw is a sports enthusiast who yearly in autumn travels to college football meccas for big games with his brothers and sons. He especially loves all classical music, most jazz, some pop, enjoys photography, bicycling, the beach, cooking French cuisine with his spouse, and travel anywhere, although especially the USA and Europe.
"Judge Colaw did a truly remarkable job in getting our portion of the case settled against great odds."
- Attorney on a Personal Injury case
"He was attentive, he really worked at the process the facts, the law + getting to areas of resolution + eventual settlement."
- Attorney on a premises liability dispute
"J. Colaw listens to the parties and takes what they say and applies it to the case. He brings years of invaluable insight and experience to the mediation process. He is also very good at thinking outside of the box in ways to try to resolve the case."
- Attorney on a personal injury slip & fall matter
"He was respectful toward the process and my client.. she respected his opinions."
- Attorney on a Premises Liability Matter
"Nice. Prepared. Quick on assessment. Practical. Will definitely move him high on future engagements. Thank you!"
- President and Founder of a Civil Litigation Firm
"Judge Colaw was fantastic; it was one of the better mediation experiences I’ve had. We did not settle the case on the day of mediation, and he continued to work with and for us, and we resolve the case a week later. I will, and already have recommended Judge Colaw to others."
- Attorney on a Medical Malpractice Matter
"I thought Judge Colaw was very good and I would definitely use him again. We were very impressed with the effort put in by the judge and how well prepared he was to understand each side's position."
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Matter
"A challenging day, held together by Judge Colaw. With challenges everywhere, he kept us there, and worked the issues. Excellent effort in all respects. "
- President and Founder of a Law Firm Specializing in Civil Litigation in Federal and State Courts