Hon. Kevin J. Murphy (Ret.) became a full time neutral in 2011 after a distinguished 28-year career as a judge on the Santa Clara County Superior Court. He quickly became one of the leading ADR professionals in the industry.

In May 2012, the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association awarded Judge Murphy a Lifetime Achievement Award. In October 2012, the Daily Journal recognized Judge Murphy as a Rising Star Neutral.

Judge Murphy is known as a mediator with a pleasant demeanor and an exceptional ability to listen, analyze and effectively communicate with all participants to reach settlement. He has a reputation for resolving many cases after the mediation session through persistent follow up. As an arbitrator, counsel describes Judge Murphy as fair, smart and able to grasp legal and factual issues quickly. Many courts throughout Northern California have appointed Judge Murphy as a discovery referee due to his strong ability to efficiently manage discovery in complex cases and his extensive experience with E-DISCOVERY. He has served as a Discovery Referee by appointment of the Federal District Court and California State Courts in 7 counties.

Judge Murphy has presided at mock trials involving major multi-party cases as well as conducted other forms of neutral evaluations. Included among the mock trials were a major environmental lawsuit brought by multiple governmental entities against 5 large corporations alleging environmental contamination, a lawsuit between a utility district and a large utility company and an age discrimination action filed against a large social club.

ADR Experience and Background

Since 2011, Judge Murphy has resolved numerous matters involving:

  • Business
  • Employment and Wage & Hour
  • Personal Injury
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Real Estate
  • Trade Secrets

Additionally Judge Murphy has served as a neutral in a wide range of other legal disputes including environmental actions, water lawsuits and cases filed against governmental entities.


  • 2012 Top 10 Rising Stars – Neutrals, Daily Journal
    1 of the 10 best-regarded new ADR neutrals in California – Judge Murphy was recognized during his first year in the private sector

  • 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, Santa Clara Trial Lawyers Association

Judicial and Legal Experience

1989 – 2011 Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court

  • Supervising Civil Judge
  • Civil Team Leader
  • Appellate Division
  • CEQA
  • Law & Motions
  • Settlement Conferences
  • Civil Trials
  • Supervising Criminal Judge

1983 – 1989 Judge, Santa Clara County Municipal Court

1973 – 1983 Deputy District Attorney, Santa Clara County

Education and ADR Training

  • 2013 American Arbitration Association, Training for Arbitrators
  • 2011 Straus Institute, Pepperdine School of Law, Mediating the Litigated Case
  • 1973 UCLA School of Law, JD
  • 1970 University of Redlands, BA, Summa Cum Laude


  • American Arbitration Association Panel of Arbitrators
  • California Judges Association

Teaching – MCLES and Law School

Judge Murphy has been a law professor at Santa Clara Law School (1999 – 2007) and De Anza College (1977 – 2011), teaching Civil Remedies, Ethics, Trial Procedure and Evidence.

Additionally, Judge Murphy frequently lectures at law firms and bar associations on a variety of legal topics including ethics, trial practice, discovery, mediation and arbitration.

Hon. Kevin J. Murphy


Santa Clara County Superior Court, Ret.