Hon. Kirk H. Nakamura (Ret.) served as the presiding judge for the nation’s seventh-largest court (144 judicial officers and 1,500 employees) during 2019 and 2020 and joined JAMS as a neutral in 2021. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he personally came into the courthouse every workday from March to late November 2020, leading the court in safely conducting 200 in-person jury trials and signing 40 administrative orders without a single criminal case dismissal for violating a criminal defendant’s speedy trial rights.
He has received the Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and served on the Executive Committee of the National Association for Presiding Judges and Court Executive Officers. Judge Nakamura was elected president of the California Asian – Pacific American Judges Association and has served on the State Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee and the Executive Board of the California Judges Association. He is a past president of OCAABA and the Orange County Japanese American Lawyers Association.
He has also received awards from the Japanese American Bar Association of Los Angeles, the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA), Orange County Constitutional Rights Foundation, Orange County American Board of Trial Advocates, Orange County Trial Lawyers Association and OCAABA.