Hon. Harold E. Kahn See Rating Details
Superior Court
San Francisco County
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Attorney Average Rating:   5.8 - 12 rating(s)
Non-Attorney Average Rating:   6.0 - 3 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)

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What others have said about Hon. Harold E. Kahn



Comment #: CA54089
I just concluded a criminal case as a member of the jury in Judge Kahn's case. It was my impression that he did an excellent job.

In general, his explanations and expectations were good and not rushed.

He invited us to ask questions of the witnesses after the lawyers took their first turns. We asked some pretty good questions, and some of them prompted a new line of questioning from the lawyers.

In general, he overruled most objections about witness testimony. I felt that was useful in determining the truth.

He directed the lawyers to correct their wording or behavior several times, and it seemed to be in the spirit of making them better lawyers.


Comment #: CA38664
what a moron. awarded a 5k judgment on a 500 dollar dispute in small claims. small claims may only be granted actual damages. he actually violated the rules of civil procedure. I would expect an actual Judge to follow the rules of civil procedure.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA36810
This judge represents one of the worst that San Francisco has to offer. While he comes prepared it is with an agenda. He is dangerously deceptive in his appearance of objectivity all the while backslapping with his former colleagues. He is a rogue judge injecting himself into matters that he does not even preside and represents a paradigm for why there need to be more checks on the judiciary. If you can .6 this judge since once he picks sides (which he will do) he will burn you and your clients.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA35875
I found him to be a thoughtful judge in my personal experience with him. He issued a tentative decision against my client, but during oral argument, he listened to my points and did additional research afterwards. That led to him issuing a reasoned decision explaining in detail why he was granting my client's motion. It was a refreshing change from how many judges are loath to move off their tentative decisions and often view oral argument as a pro forma exercise.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA25545
Judge Kahn is a unethical judge.

I am a litigator with nearly 15-years of litigation experience.

I had a recent case before Judge Kahn. I began receiving some unusual decisions from the bench. One, for example, was the court questioning the need for me to name the lead defendant in my case, when it was not before the court. We were in court on my motion to compel when the court questioned why I had named the lead defendant in my case. In my litigation experience, it is unusual for a court to sua sponte raise an issue when that issue is not before the court.

I started to look into Judge Kahn's connections with the defendant. After performing some research, I found that Judge Kahn and the wife of the lead defendant were very politically connected. In fact, the wife of the lead defendant, a very politically connected individual, had advocated repeatedly for one of Judge Kahn's judicial initiatives known as the “Community Justice Court.”

Judges are actually held to a higher standard than attorneys. Judges are required to disclose possible conflicts of interests on the record. Judge Kahn did not disclose anything. Judges are also supposed to be neutral. Here, the court questioning the need for me to name the lead defendant to my case, when that issue was not before the court, was a clear indication of bias.

At the conclusion of the case, I filed a complaint against Judge Kahn with the Commission on Judicial Performance, along with a supporting declaration and evidence.

I have since heard from other attorneys who have had similar experiences in front of Judge Kahn. He is a dishonest judge and is not to be trusted.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA19354
Not great. Close minded, bad temperament. If you didn't already get him by the tentative ruling, you will have an extremely hard time convincing him - far more than usual.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA16576
Rude, impatient and ill-tempered.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA13157
Judge Kahn was assigned as our settlement judge in an intensely litigated employment case. I was counsel for defendants. A previous private mediation was unsuccessful. He listened and was actively engaged throughout the afternoon; and he settled the case. I would strongly recommend him to both plaintiff and defense counsel.


Comment #: CA13053
very fair, seems to care, actually read the arguments from both attorneys and no matter how hard the other attorney argued, he stood his ground.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA11900
Judge Kahn is a brilliant, hardworking judge who should be on the Court of Appeal. Maybe he will be some day. I was very impressed with him. He's not very patient and does get angry, but I thought with good reason. Just be polite and prepared.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: CA11886
The last time I was in Judge Kahn's courtroom was during hearing of ex parte applications, and he was literally yelling at lawyers about how overworked he was and how improper their applications were. I found that to be utterly inappropriate behavior, and thought he badly needed a long vacation.

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.