With two decades of experience on the Sacramento County Superior Court bench, and advanced training in mediation, Judge Hersher has presided over hundreds of civil litigation matters, including business and corporate disputes, all types of employment matters including false claims, Qui Tam, and state actions, eminent domain, wrongful death, environmental, insurance, and civil rights. She is now available for mediation, arbitration, and private judging assignments, including neutral cases, testimony, and evidence evaluation.

Prior to becoming a judge, she was a litigation partner with Downey Brand LLP and tried cases representing both sides in many facets of law. During this time, she participated in court ADR programs, including serving as Judge Pro Tem for the Sacramento County Superior Court settlement department and as an Early Neutral Evaluator for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District.

Over the course of her 37 years in law, Judge Hersher has earned a reputation for fairness and firmness with an unprecedented work ethic. She shares her mission as a private judge stating, “My goals are to provide a collaborative and collegial process through which disputes are resolved with engaged support, and all aspects of the process are founded in neutrality, integrity, respect, legal scholarship, and decisiveness.”

Practice Areas
  • Business/Contractual including Digital Asset and Cryptocurrency, Corporation, and Partnership Litigation
  • Civil Rights
  • Elder Abuse
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Personal Injury including Child Abuse/Sexual Assault
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Real Estate
ADR Highlights
  • Authored numerous publications including Sacramento Lawyer Magazine articles such as 'Global Disputes: Lessons for Everyday Mediations and Mediators,' Vol. 2-203, (September 2023) and 'Settlement Demands in Excess of Available Insurance: Good or Bad Faith under CCP §998?' (September/October 2014), as well as the California Civil Jury Instruction Handbook for Thomson Reuters (2014-2018)
  • Graduate, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, “Mediating the Litigated Case”, Pepperdine/Caruso School of Law, August 2022
  • Consultant for CJER Online Courses, California Judges Benchbook (2012-2019)
  • Lecturer for California First Legislative-Judicial Summit, Curriculum Construction, Sacramento, CA (February 27, 2019)
  • Lecturer on E-Discovery, Georgetown Law Advanced eDiscovery Institute, Washington, D.C. (Fall, 2017)
  • Lecturer on Motions in Limine: What Can Really Be Accomplished? Sacramento County Bar (April 2017); CCTLA Presentation (September 2016), Sacramento County Superior Court Judges (September 2016)
  • Lecturer on Post-Howell: Trial Issues on Medical Damages, Sacramento County Superior Court Judges (July 2016)
  • Lecturer for CJER Advanced Civil Law Institute, Civil Jury Instructions; Special Verdicts; Civil Writs (2008, 2009, 2015)
  • Lecturer at B. E. Witkin Judicial College of California, Trial Management (2010-2012)
  • Lecturer for American Board of Trial Attorneys (ABOTA), Masters in Cross-Examination (2009)
  • Lecturer, CEB, Expert Witnesses and Civil Procedure During Trial
Hobbies & Interests

Throughout the decades, Judge Hersher continues to dedicate her time as an instructor, panelist, and author on a myriad of topics in civil law and proceedings in trial for colleges, law schools, bar groups, courts, and judges. She is also involved in many charitable organizations within the local community. In her spare time, she enjoys hikes, travel, and landscape design.

Legal Career
  • Full-time Neutral, Judicate West (2021-Present)
  • Judge, Sacramento Superior Court (2000-2021); Served in civil, complex, law and motion, and writs
  • Litigation Partner, Downey, Brand, Seymour & Rohwer LLP (1984-2000); Areas of law included contracts, eminent domain, real estate, personal injury and employment discrimination.
Education & Professional Affiliations
  • Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine/Caruso School of Law, Mediating the Litigated Case: The Art of Facilitating Settlement (August 2022)
  • J.D. University of California, Davis Martin Luther King School of Law (1984 )
  • M.A. Fellowship, Georgetown University (1975)
  • B.A. State University of New York - Albany, New York, English, Magna Cum Laude (1972)
  • Sacramento County Grand Jury Advisor (Effective January 2020)
  • California Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Civil Jury Instructions (2012-2021)
  • California State Federal Judicial Council (2012-2021)
  • Leonard M. Friedman Bar Association, Founder, and Judicial Chair (2009-2015)
  • Judicial Master, Anthony M. Kennedy Inns of Court, Sacramento (2000-2013); Life Member (1991-Present)
  • California Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Access and Fairness (2005–2007)
  • Standing Committee on Gender, Race, Religious and Ethnic Fairness, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1999–2000 )
  • Sacramento Women Lawyers, Member (1984-Present)
Achievements & Awards
  • Recognition for Founding and Success, Leonard M. Friedman Bar Association (2021)
  • Trial Judge of the Year, American Board of Trial Advocates, Sacramento Region (2017)
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Capital City Trial Lawyers Association (2015)
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Sacramento County Bar Association (2012)
  • Justice Frances Newell Carr Achievement Award for Advancing the Rights of Women and Children in the Law, Women Lawyers of Sacramento (2003)
  • Humanitarian of the Year, Sacramento County Bar Association (2000)
  • Bayard Rustin Award for Civil Rights, Creation, Sacramento Area Hate Crimes Task Force, Sacramento (1995)
Below is a sampling of the various matters Hon. Judy Hersher, Ret. presided over on the bench, tried as an attorney, or handled as a neutral.


  • Breach of contract
  • International disputes
  • Fraud/Misrepresentation
  • California Commercial Code/Uniform Commercial Code disputes
  • Trade secret violations.
  • Partnership formation and dissolution
  • Fiduciary and non-fiduciary governance breaches
  • Mortgage fraud against various banks during recession
  • Commercial sale and leases
  • Unfair Business Practices
  • Handled False Claims, Qui Tam, State Actions including: False claim action brought by 200+ public entities against four national cellphone carriers; False claims act brought by the State of California; Challenges by nurses against the State of California for regulatory staffing ratios; Challenges by California teachers’ pension funds against the State of California for wrongful use/conversion of pension funds.
  • An international dispute arose in federal court as to whether goods shipped from China were correctly designated and sold as "organic", resulting in a contract dispute for non-payment.
  • Limited liability dispute over the valuation of LLC shares or units upon the death of a member, associated breach of contract, and violation of California Business and Profession Code section 17200 et seq. allegations.
  • Digital Asset and Cryptocurrency disputes
  • Mediated a dispute between a walnut grower and a producer/distributor regarding contracts, quality, and grading.


  • Mediated claims of retaliation against a Superior Court Judge and the Judicial Council for engaging in whistleblower and protected activities.

Sexual Harassment And Retaliation

  • Mediated claims against medical professionals in a variety of environments.
  • Mediated claims involving restaurant workers, supervisors and employees.
  • Mediated claims involving school employees and students.

Wrongful Termination

  • Race Discrimination.
  • Age Discrimination.
  • Sexual Harassment and Discrimination.
  • Disability Discrimination, Failure to Accommodate.
  • Gender Discrimination.
  • Wrongful termination.
  • Wage and hour disputes.
  • Covid-related challenges based on protocol, layoff, and terminations.
  • Sex and Race Discrimination involving Fire and Law Enforcement.

Environmental Issues

  • Injury to property/persons.
  • CEQA, groundwater, and soil contamination.
  • Insurance coverage disputes, successive policies, vertical and horizontal coverage.

Civil Rights

  • Violations of state and federal statutes.
  • Prisoner rights and challenges.


  • Medicare billing fraud against major hospital chain.
  • State action against health insurer for wrongful coding and billing.

IP Trade Secrets

  • Mediated dispute between two national and international logistics warehouse and transportation companies regarding duty of loyalty and alleged trade secret theft.

Medical Malpractice

  • Medical malpractice/negligence against doctors, surgeons, nurses, catastrophic and otherwise.

Professional Malpractice Legal

  • Legal malpractice.

Breach Of Contract

  • Alleged oral partnership to buy real estate, pleading breach of contract and fiduciary duty, fraud, concealment, and seeking investment and punitive damages with related expert testimony.
  • Alleged conversion and breach and counterclaim of a license agreement regarding close to a two-decade contract between a City and a private non-profit theater company impacting multiple members of a local community.

Real Property

  • Breach of contract.
  • Buy/sale/lease agreements, business, and individual homeowners.
  • Eminent Doman including: Pre-condemnation; Active and Inverse Condemnation; Related theories of trespass, property damage.
  • Property Damages.

Assault and Battery

  • Assault and Battery.
  • Alleged assault and battery between students and negligent failure of the school district to prevent injury, supervise, and provide teacher training and protocols.

Catastrophic Injury

  • Catastrophic injury, auto and otherwise.

Elder Abuse

  • Financial and physical abuse.
  • Skilled nursing home abuse and negligence.
  • Wrongful death.

Personal Injury

  • Mediated a case involving personal injuries arising out of a disputed employment relationship on a project site with accompanying insurance declaration relief action in federal court, multiple insurance carriers, and cross-complaint against additional parties.

PI Sexual Assault

  • Child sexual abuse trial for civil money damages.
  • Negligent care against childcare facility for sexual assault/abuse, wrongful hiring, and staff oversight.

Product Liability

  • Product Liability.
  • Mediated a personal injury case arising out of a major retailer food contamination.
She focuses on what's important and she asks the right questions. No matter if you are representing a plaintiff or on the defense side, I think with Judge Hersher you feel like you got someone who is very fair, who does a really thorough job and puts a lot of thought into the legal issues that need to be adjudicated.
- Partner at a Prestigious Firm, Focusing on Employment Law
She wants to always hear both sides of the story and wants all of the facts, all of the details out there. And she asked very pointed questions that cut through all of the noise and really got to the issues.
- Founding Partner at a Top Firm, Discussing a Lemon Law Case
Judge Hersher successfully mediated a difficult case where the two parties were very far apart initially on both liability and damages. She also took the time to review initial settlement documents and check in with the parties to make sure that things post-settlement would go smoothly.
- Attorney on an Employment PAGA Case
I think what set her apart and what I appreciated was that she actually had ideas that she was not afraid to share as far as vehicles by which we could settle the case. She was not afraid to provide her opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of legal positions on both sides.
- Top-Rated Attorney on a Complex Contractual Case
Judge Hersher was great. She worked hard on getting my clients to see the big picture. And she yielded a result I did not think possible. Kudos to her and her efforts.
- Top-Rated Attorney on an Employment Breach of Contract Case
Hon. Judy Hersher, Ret.
Based in Northern California | Available in All of California
Case Manager: Angela Lamarre