John H. Howard

John H. Howard of Ojai, who led lawsuit against Golden State Water, named California’s top trial attorney of the year

OJAI, California – John H. Howard, an Ojai resident and personal injury attorney with the law firm Lowthorp, Richards, McMillan, Miller & Templeman, has been named trial lawyer of the year by the California Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (CAL-ABOTA).

Howard was lead counsel who successfully pursued a three-and-a-half-year legal battle against Golden State Water Co. on behalf of the owners of the Ojai Playhouse, brothers Khaled and Walid Al-Awar. The case resulted in a $3.85 million judgment against Golden State for its role in a 2014 water main break that damaged the inside of the historic theater.

As trial attorney of the year, Howard has obtained what is widely regarded as the highest honor for a California trial lawyer. The selection also marks the first time a trial attorney from the Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo-county region has received the annual award, which first launched in 1962.

The American Board of Trial Advocates is an invitation-only organization of attorneys representing both plaintiffs and defendants in civil cases. All members have earned great distinction at trial. CAL-ABOTA, the organization’s California branch, consists of eight chapters and over 1,500 members.

“I am honored and humbled for being recognized by such a prestigious organization,” said Howard, who has practiced law for 42 years and lives in Ojai with his wife, JoAnn. The couple have a son and a daughter.

“I am proud of my profession, particularly ABOTA lawyers.  They practice law the right way and respect juries, their clients and the overall justice system.”

CAL-ABOTA’s board of directors announced Howard’s selection July 31 following a year and a half delay due to the pandemic. Attorneys who receive the annual award have demonstrated the best traits of a trial lawyer – excellence in advocacy, a distinguished career and a reputation for civility, ethics and fair play.

Howard represents people who have been injured or have lost loved ones because of the wrongful actions of others. His cases involve a wide range of issues, including campus safety, retail store security abuses, sexual abuse, car, bus and train accidents, and workplace discrimination. He’s won numerous verdicts and judgments far in excess of $1 million.

A 1972 graduate of Pacific University, Howard obtained his Juris Doctor in 1979 from Ventura College of Law. He was admitted to the bar in 1979 and to the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, in 1980. He was in private practice from 1980 until he joined Lowthorp, Richards as counsel in 2014.

Howard was a Lt. Commander in the United States Naval Reserve from 1987 to 1999. He’s also served as president of the Ventura County branch of the Arthritis Foundation in 1987 and has coached Varsity Football and Baseball for Villanova Preparatory School since 2003.

Actively involved in numerous professional organizations, Howard has served as national representative for the American Board of Trial Advocates since 2005, on the Ventura County Judicial Nominations Evaluation Committee, as president of the California Coast Chapter of ABOTA in 2004, president of the Ventura County Bar Association in 1997, Ventura County Trial Lawyers Association in 1992, and as a delegate to various State Bar Conventions.

Other accolades include being named one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by National Trial Lawyers, and “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Ventura County Trial Lawyers Association in 2006 and 2016. Howard won the same designation from ABOTA’S California Coast Chapter in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Based in Oxnard for more than a century, Lowthorp Richards specializes in business, estate, family, agricultural, real estate and injury law. The firm maintains the highest possible legal rating in the national attorney directory of Martindale-Hubbell.

–To contact Mr. Howard or for more information on Lowthorp Richards, call (805) 981-8555 or visit

NOTE: The information contained herein is not intended to be legal advice and the reader should know that no Attorney-Client relationship or privilege is formed by the posting or reading of this article which is also not intended to solicit business.

Cristian R. Arrieta, Lowthorp Richards McMillan Miller & Templeman, A Professional Corporation, 300 E. Esplanade Drive Suite 850, Oxnard, CA 93036