Hon. Harold E. Kahn See Rating Details
Superior Court
San Francisco County
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Attorney Average Rating:   7.6 - 4 rating(s)
Non-Attorney Average Rating:   - 0 rating(s)
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Only items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating.

General Rating Criteria

* 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=Chronically Late,10=Always on Time)
* General Ability to Handle Pre-Trial Matters (1=Not all Able, 10=Extremely Able)
* General Ability as a Trial Judge (1=Not all Able, 10=Extremely Able)
Flexibility In Scheduling (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)

Criminal Rating Criteria (if applicable)

* Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Plea Discussions (1=Not at all Involved, 10=Very Involved)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Pretrial Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Trial Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases Sentencing Stage (1=Pro-prosecution,10=Pro-defense)

Civil Rating Criteria (if applicable)

* Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation (1=Not at all Evenhanded,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Involvement in Settlement Discussions (1=Not at all Involved,10=Very Involved)
General Inclination (1=Pro-defendant, 10=Pro-plaintiff)

What others have said about Hon. Harold E. Kahn


Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA10013
In my last two appearances before Judge Kahn, his tentative rulings made absolutely no sense. One was literally nonsensical, the other was so brief as to make no sense in light of the issues.

On both matters it became clear at oral argument that Judge Kahn had not read the papers, formed a shoot-from-hip view of the motion and had issued his tentative ruling on that basis. At both oral arguments, he announced reasoning that was simply wrong -- on the first hearing badly wrong on undisputed facts, and on the second hearing flat wrong on what was a very basic question of law. What one commenter here describes as a judicial demeanor "that can be a little snarky" was, in my view, more like arrogant in light of Judge Kahn's clear lack of understanding of the facts and the law.

When corrected on his misunderstandings, on both occasions Judge Kahn skipped from one rationale to the next (including one that even he immediately realized was a non-starter, and quickly abandoned), looking for a way to justify his tentative ruling. I agree with the comments here that Judge Kahn is smart -- both times he kept going from rationale to rationale until he finally landed on one that arguably involved some exercise of discretion and would therefore difficult, if not impossible to challenge in the Court of Appeal. (The lesson here is that if you lose in front of Judge Kahn on an issue of law or undisputed fact, don't argue, stop right then and there and take your appeal on that record.)

These were not iffy, or even reasonably debatable motions. Both should have been slam dunks. Both rulings implicated expenditure of time, attorney's fees, and judicial resources for one his fellow judges to try an issue that should have been disposed of. In my view, these outcomes represent an abject failure of the legal system, not just for my clients but for the court itself at a time when it continues to complain of overwork and underfunding. I expect Judge Kahn himself would say that his law and motion department is overwhelmed with work.

But, being overworked does not excuse hasty, uninformed rulings. I am deeply disappointed in Judge Kahn.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA8125
I am always impressed by Judge Kahn, and I've both won and lost issues he has decided. Willing to be procedurally flexible as appropriate, but never in a way that shortcuts justice. Really a top flight judge.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: CA2812
This guy is fabulous. Always reads your stuff, is completely fair, will cut you a break, and if he rules against you he does it for a good reason. Also so smart it is scary.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: CA2471
SF Superior has found a gem in Judge Kahn and I wish he could stay on law and motion longer than this rotation. He is always extremely well prepared, cuts away b.s. argument, and maintains firm control over the issues and the courtroom. He also truly loves taking oral argument. It's such a pleasure to argue in front of a judge who is as engaged as the parties. He can be a little snarky, but I think his sense of humor is a welcome addition to the courtroom.