Martha K. Gooding, Associate Justice

Justice Martha GoodingJustice Martha K. Gooding was nominated to the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, by Governor Gavin Newsom on May 19, 2023.  Justice Gooding was rated “Exceptionally well qualified” for the position by the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation of the State Bar of California and was confirmed by the unanimous vote of the Commission on Judicial Appointments on September 26, 2023.


Prior to Justice Gooding’s appointment to the Court of Appeal, she served on the Orange County Superior Court, to which she was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in December 2013.  After sitting initially on the Superior Court’s Limited Criminal Panel in the Stephen K. Tamura-West Justice Center, she moved to the Central Justice Center and the Court’s Civil Panel in January 2016.  She served as a member of the Court’s Executive, Finance, and Grand Jury Selection Committees, as well as the Judicial Mentor Committee.  She also served on the Superior Court’s Appellate Panel.

Justice Gooding earned her J.D. from Berkeley Law in 1981, graduating first in her class and Order of the Coif.   She earned her B.A. from California State University, Long Beach, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.

Following law school, Justice Gooding was a law clerk to Hon. Aubrey E. Robinson, Jr. in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.  She began her legal career at Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin in San Francisco, where she became a partner in 1989.  After moving to Orange County in 1992 to help start the Howard Rice Southern California office, she became a partner in Howrey LLP in 2000 and later joined Jones Day in 2010 as a partner in its Irvine office.  

During her 30 years in private practice, Justice Gooding was selected for leadership roles in many legal and other organizations.  She held a variety of leadership positions in the ABA Section of Litigation for more than 17 years, including serving in the ABA House of Delegates and as a member of the Litigation Section Council.  She also served as President of the Orange County Federal Bar Association, President of the Orange County Association of Business Trial Lawyers, and a member of the Board of Directors of the California Bar Foundation.  She was selected by the judges of the U.S. District Court for Central District of California as a lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference and as a member of the Central District’s Magistrate Judges Merit Selection Panel.  She also served on the Central District’s Pro Bono Panel. Justice Gooding was a founding member of the Howard T. Markey Intellectual Property Inn of Court and served on the Board of Directors of The Friendship Shelter, a homeless shelter in Laguna Beach.  Justice Gooding currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Bar Association Masters Division.

In 2009, Justice Gooding received the Orange County Anti-Defamation League’s Marcus Kaufman Jurisprudence Award, which honors lawyers who make exceptional contributions to their community and the legal profession, are role models of ethics and leadership in the legal community, and embody the ADL’s mission to secure justice and fair treatment to all.

Justice Gooding has long been involved in mentoring young lawyers and students interested in a legal career.  She served as a mentor in the Newport Harbor High School mentor program for more than a decade, served as a mentor at UCI Law School, and participated for many years in the Orange County Superior Court Judicial Externship Program.  Justice Gooding has been a volunteer judge in the UC Irvine Law School moot court competition and the Constitutional Rights Foundation mock trial competition.

While in private practice, Justice Gooding published frequently on a variety of legal topics.  She was co-recipient of the Patent & Trademark Office Society’s 2009-2010 annual Rossman Award, recognizing the PTOS Journal article that made the greatest contribution to the fields of patent, trademark and copyright law.  She was selected as one of 11 faculty for a Federal Judicial Center Patent Litigation Seminar for U.S. District Court judges and co-authored a guide for District Court judges on compensatory damages issues in patent infringement actions.

Justice Gooding lives in Orange County with her husband of more than 30 years; they have two adult children.  She is a Michigan Wolverine by marriage and motherhood.