Hon. Gerald J. Buchwald See Rating Details
Superior Court
San Mateo County
See Comments

Attorney Average Rating:   3.1 - 15 rating(s)
Non-Attorney Average Rating:   1.0 - 2 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. Gerald J. Buchwald


Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA10007
Earlier this year I represented petitioners in a 5-day probate bench trial against a pro per respondent. This judge bent so far over backwards to ensure a "fair" trial for the pro per (who is clearly deranged) that I had to remind him that my clients are also entitled to a fair trial. Almost 6 months later, still no decision, and his clerk now won't respond to my emails or phone calls. He insisted that the parties return a month after trial to receive his tentative ruling, then vacated the hearing the Friday before, causing my client who lives in at a distance to lose her nonrefundable airfare and hotel booking fee. He also made comments and asked questions during the trial that indicated his confusion about probate law. If I had read the comments on this site before trial, I would have papered him.


Comment #: CA8030
As a legal professional up against a dishonest, disbarred attorney who is known to the courts, I had high hopes in this judge's court, but I must echo the sentiments of lawyers concerning the improper delays and jurisprudence for which this man is responsible. He failed to follow well established law more than once and denied the legal rights of two innocent people who are being harassed by a mentally ill woman, including the right to full, fair, and impartial hearings. Although one of few jurists on the San Mateo bench with a background in civil law, he has repeatedly proven to be a disappointment in numerous cases over time.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA7555
This Judge does not take the time to read the litigation that has been put forth to him, He makes rulings that have already seen the court system and have been ruled on by another Judge. his tardiness to rulings only leads to more work for the Appellate Court

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: CA6626
Makes up the law to fit his judgments. He actually denied an unopposed MSJ when the plaintiff, who had already dismissed the complaint, argued against the MSJ. Judge Buchwald was unable to cite any law to support his decision that affirmative defenses are waived by failure to oppose a motion for good faith settlement. Probably because there is no such law!

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA6250
Rating:Not Rated
I just read a DCA opinion reversing his denial of a SLAPP motion. DCA seemed to go to some length to expose the judge's misunderstanding of the SLAPP statute: he thought defamation is not protected speech and so it's not subject to the SLAPP statute. So dumb I had to check out his reviews here. Case was Hecimovich v. Encinal School Parent Teacher Organization (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 450.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: CA5303
This judge should not be one. How he ever managed to get the job is a mystery to most practitioners in this county. He is objectively and simply not qualified.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: CA4887
The individual who posted on 2/2/14 got it right, and I note that that individual's comments are echoed by many of these reviews. Judge Buchwald seems to believe that his "common law power of equity" trumps the law. This means that he often ignores the law in making decisions. He does not favor one side or the other, unfortunately -- he's just unpredictable. My only expectation of judges is that their rulings be based on a reasonable interpretation of the law. Judge Buchwald utterly fails in this.

Additional problems:

1. He starts late, rambles, and does not keep things moving. I have never gotten out of his courtroom in under an hour, and I have had to sit in his courtroom for three hours on many occasions.

2. I would say that he's lazy, but perhaps the three-hour hearings just take up all of his time. I once had a motion to compel that didn't get resolved for over a year because he refused to rule on it. He just kept ordering the parties to meet and confer and come back with a stipulation (which was frustrating, as the opposing counsel was non-responsive).

3. He does seem to have a bias in favor of some attorneys that he's known for a long time, though I'm not sure what the secret formula is.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4774
Rating:Not Rated
Be very careful with this judge. I do like his demeanor, and I think he is very conscientious about trying to achieve a just result. But this judge has now used his "common law power of equity" to override clear statutory authority in two of my cases. Judge, the law that the legislature enacts is not merely a suggestion. If there is law mandating a particular result, your job is to apply it. Common law principles of equity do not supersede such legislative enactments. They only apply either in the absence of statutory law or where statutory law allows for judicial discretion in its application. (See the Civil Code, section 22.) Because of his belief that his common law power trumps statutory law, this judge must be regarded as rogue. The outcome of matters submitted to him must be regarded as a total crapshoot. It's too bad, because I actually like him. But I no longer trust him as a judge if my case involves a statute.


Comment #: CA4721
Judge Buchwald would rather be BFF to Vinod Khosla than do the right thing by California citizens. His ability to misconstrue California law in favor of his buddy is an embarrassment.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4674
This judge believes that he's brilliant, but he cannot think quickly enough on his feet to modify an erroneous tentative ruling. Oral argument amounts to a rambling tirade from the bench. He is a bully toward women attorneys in particular. He disregards the law if it conflicts with his view of what the outcome should be. He hates banks. He will conduct direct examination from the bench if he believes that a plaintiff's attorney needs the help. (The appellate department of his own court is on to him, though.)

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4498
He does not seem to be very bright. He ignores facts and law if they do not fit with what he has decided to do. Oral argument before this judge is a waste of time. He particularly appears to dislike women attorneys. He should not be on the bench.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4443
I embarrassed Judge Buchwald when I challenged him on his understanding of corporate law, and it was downhill from there. Thereafter, he ruled against my client on absolutely everything, even if it made no sense or was not the law. I ended up having to settle when he denied a peremptory challenge -- something unheard of, but I suppose doable when you're that prickly a judge. Just be forewarned: this guy is an idiot, so you should pretend that he is very smart and you should act very subservient.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4436
A smart, thoughtful, and experienced lawyer who is now a judge. He is patient, but wishes to move things along. Advocates who are un- or under-prepared are not appreciated. This bench in San Mateo County has very few judges who have had experience representing clients in the private sector, and who have any experience with business issues so often litigated. I believe he has both. He is fair and works hard, from my observation.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA4284
Utterly incompetent. He should not be sitting as a judge. He is absolutely clueless.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: CA2924
Slow, dim-witted but thinks of himself as a genius. Talks, talks, talks...all about himself. If you say you've practiced 35 years, he will say 40. If you say you are a recognized expert, he will say he was a better expert. He "clerked" for a year with the Cal. Supreme Court in 1970 and you'd think he was on the Court himself. B-O-Z-O.
Nickname: The Glacier. You cannot get him to move.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA1736
Judge Buchwald knows the law, especially on complex technical matters frequently litigated in this county.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA1533
Little understanding of the relevant law and makes decisions that are above and beyond the scope of the pending motion or hearing.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA1163
Regularly fails to follow the mandates of the law and more often than not, he simply makes obviously erroneous decisions based on what he perceives as his relevant experience even if it is contrary to established law.