Honorable Clare Maier — Department 36

Biographical Information

  • Education: B.A. political science UCLA, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa cum Laude;
  • J.D., UC Berkeley School of Law
  • Political Affiliation: no party preference

Pre-bench Legal Experience

Just prior to appointment in 2007, Judge Maier worked full-time as Judge pro tempore at Juvenile Hall for approximately one year. In addition to Juvenile Hall, she served as a Judge pro tempore in seven different courts in Contra Costa County. Prior to her work as a Judge pro tempore, she worked as a dependency (W&I §300) attorney and a criminal defense lawyer for both the Alternate Defender’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office. Preceding that, she worked as a civil litigator in two different law firms: Paul, Hastings, LLP and Cooley, LLP

Judicial Experience

Judge Maier is assigned to a civil department.  Previously, she worked in a variety of assignments in criminal departments.

Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities

Judge Maier previously served as an officer on the Board of “Season for Non-Violence,” an organization in Oakland working to reduce violence. She also served in her Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council and the East Bay Regional Parks as a park trustee.

Current Civic & Professional Activities & Continuing Education Faculty 

  • Chair –  Summer Intern Committee for CCC Courts.
  • Featured speaker – San Quentin State Prison – annual drug rehabilitation graduation
  • Featured speaker – Annual Walk for Recovery
  • Formed and guides a task force which addresses offering drug treatment in the Contra Costa County detention facilities.
  • Adjunct Professor – Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall) – courses in Civil Trial Practice and Negotiations
  • Over 15 years teaching California Judges, including courses at the Judicial College and New Judge’s Orientation.
  • Taught Judges in Macedonia on behalf of the U.S. State Department Office of Criminal Justice and Assistance Partnerships.
  • Panelist – Statewide Conference on Public Safety Realignment, Practices on Population Management – charging and sentencing practices, Memorial Auditorium – Sacramento.

Courtroom Policies

Please check in with the court clerk prior to your scheduled hearing. Also, such conventions as asking to approach the witness or to approach the bench are appreciated and add to the dignity of the proceedings.


Judge Maier holds her morning case management conference on Zoom.  The link is available on the Court’s website.  Attorneys may appear in court also.  Judge Maier does not use court call.  Additional remote appearances are possible through stipulation and advance notification to the court.


Please refer to and follow the California Rules of Court 301-339, the Code of Civil Procedure, §2003 et seq., and the local rules for filing motions. Also please refer to the code for the format of any substantive motions you may file (e.g. CCP §437c for Summary Judgment motions).


Attorneys are expected to follow the Rules of Court and to make every effort to settle the dispute without court intervention. Only after such effort should counsel file a motion to compel. Most discovery matters will be heard in Department 57, the Honorable Commissioner Gina Dashman presiding.  The motion to compel should be concise and focused exclusively on the contested issues.

Settlement Conferences

The judge is happy to discuss settlement with the parties at any juncture in a case. She requests that you come to the conference well prepared and accompanied by a person with authority to settle.


ADR is another useful tool for the court and attorneys. Judge Maier encourages the use of mediation and arbitration whenever appropriate.


The court has a detailed pretrial order available online.  Please follow this order as you prepare for trial.

In Limine Motions

The judge requests that you have these prepared in advance of trial and provide copies of all motions and oppositions in a notebook for the judge.

Voir Dire

The court will conduct general voir dire. Counsel is permitted limited questioning. Judge Maier requests that you use your time resourcefully and not repeat the questions the court has already asked.

Jury Instructions

Please have instructions prepared that include all applicable and mandatory jury instructions.


The judge would like witnesses to be informed of the court’s rulings on the motions in limine and for them to be reminded as to the restrictions on their testimony.


While Judge Maier has not yet held an attorney to contempt nor imposed sanctions, in the appropriate circumstances, she would take action consistent with her authority to maintain security and control in the courtroom that will foster public respect for the bench and the bar.


The judge requests that documents are pre-marked and previously reviewed by the opposing counsel prior to the inception of the hearing.


  • Attorneys should wear business attire when appearing in court or virtually.
  • Cell phones and pagers that could interrupt the proceedings should be turned off prior to the commencement of any hearing.
  • The court realizes that counsel at the table will communicate by note or whispered message and realizes that such communication may improve the quality of the representation (two heads being better than one). Counsel should be as discreet and as considerate as possible.
  • The court provides water pitchers and cups for counsel and clients. Coffee or other beverage in a paper cup is allowed, so long as it does not distract from the dignity of the proceedings.
  • As noted above, please observe court formalities, such as asking to approach the witness or the bench.
  • Cell phones may not be used in the court except in relation to the hearing (used to check availability, etc.)

Court Reporters & Translators

Witnesses should be informed that when they testify, they must be careful to only have one person speaking at a time, and wait for the question to be completed prior to answering. This consideration is important to enable the court reporter to keep a complete and accurate record of the proceedings.

Translators – Interpreters should check in with the court clerk in advance of the hearing.

Computers in the Courtroom

Computers are welcome in Judge Maier’s courtroom, but please have the sound turned off.


All technology is welcome. Please produce (and/or demonstrate) the exhibit to opposing counsel and inform the court of your intent to use the audio-visual aid in advance of the hearing.

Cameras in the Courtroom

The court may permit or circumscribe the media coverage in a courtroom if doing so ensures that the fairness and dignity of the proceedings are not adversely affected. [See California Rules of Court 1.150.].


Judge Maier believes that all persons in a courtroom should be treated with dignity and given an opportunity to be heard. If you arrive on time, come prepared, and are forthright about the law pertinent to the issues being contested, you will leave court satisfied that you have been heard. Your credibility is the most important asset you have. Credibility is very hard to build and easy to lose. If there is negative authority, please bring it to the court’s attention and explain why it is distinguishable to your fact situation. This is much preferred than the court finding the relevant authority and wondering if it was an oversight or an ethical lapse.