Four Decades of Experience

Private Dispute Resolution

Successfully resolving cases through over 40 years of trial experience as a Judge and trial attorney. This experience allows Judge Cortes to thoroughly and carefully evaluate a case in order to assess litigation risks from pretrial motions, to motions during trial, through post-trial motions, in order to realistically evaluate and settle a case.

San Diego Superior Court, Judge
1994 to 2003

A veteran of the San Diego Superior Court for ten years, held two supervising Judge positions, assignments in every aspect of the law, including civil overflow department to independent calendar and designated to preside over long-cause, complex litigation cases.

Affirmed by the California Supreme Court on constitutional issues of first impression. Presided in hundred of civil trials and settlement conferences, involving a wide-range of civil litigation issues.

San Diego Municipal Court, Judge

Presided over civil trials, civil settlement conferences and criminal trials.

Private Practice

Maintained a civil trial practice with emphasis in third-party construction accident and toxic tort litigation and their companion workers' compensation cases, general negligence, professional negligence, product liability, premises liability, government and public entity liability, real estate, and contract disputes.

Deputy City Attorney, San Diego City Attorney

Trial Attorney with over one hundred jury trials tried to conclusion.


San Diego State University
Bachelor of Arts, Economics

California Western, School of Law
Juris Doctor, Cum Laude


Author: Jarchow v. Transamerica Title Insurance Company: A Trend in Strict Liability for Emotional Distress in the Insurance Industry (1976) California Law Review 591.

Author: Reprint, Jarchow v. Transamerica Title Insurance Company: A Trend in Strict Liability for Emotional Distress in the Insurance Industry (1977) Insurance Industry Journal.

Contributing Editor: Significant New Legislation in Real Estate, American Bar Association, Real Property Trends and Probate Journal, Spring 1977.

Discovery Editor:
San Diego Trial Lawyers Association
1985 to 1986
Trial Bar News


Instructor, San Diego Association of Certified Family Law Specialists: Civil Discovery

San Diego Inns of Court

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
Institute of Trial Advocacy

San Diego Bar Association
Mentoring Outreach Program

California Western School of Law
Alumni Career Advisors Program

Lecturer, San Diego County Bar Association
Bridging the Gap

Memberships & Awards

California Judges Association
1993 to Present

San Diego County Judges Association
1993 to Present

Association of Trial Lawyers of America
1979 to 1993

San Diego Trial Lawyers

San Diego County Bar Association
1977 to 1993

Honorary Doctorate in Psychiatry
Juvenile Forensic Services, 2000

Neutral Service

Kaiser Permanente Foundation Hospitals

San Diego Superior Court, Neutral Panel

San Diego City Employees Retirement System (SDCERS)

Alternative Resolution Centers (ARC)

Various Health Care Neutral Panels