Hawran & Malm, LLC (formerly Donahue, Hawran & Malm, LLC) is a full service forensic real estate appraisal firm. The company, began on March 31, 2011, derives its original existence from Donahue & Company, Inc.

Donahue and Company had been in operation locally for forty years, with broad experience throughout Southern California and the western United States.  

Hawran & Malm, LLC benefits from an extensive in-house research library maintained to provide resourceful and reliable information in order to ensure the completion of appraisal assignments in a timely manner. Both of our members have a client list that includes public agencies, financial institutions, corporate and private clients.

The firm specializes in litigation related appraisal, inclusive of eminent domain.  In addition to collective appraisal experience, senior personnel have significant related professional and educational backgrounds in the areas of right-of-way acquisition, and relocation assistance. This diversity, and working knowledge of the State and Federal acquisition guidelines and eminent domain law, as applied to appraisal practice, is of great assistance in undertaking appraisals and/or right-of-way consultation. Pertinent professional background and related experience qualifications are detailed in individual resumes.

Hawran & Malm, LLC is currently insured in conformance with required Commercial General Liability, Professional Liability and Automobile Liability Coverage.

Sydney H. Hawran


Sydney H. Hawran, MAI, AI-GRS a native Southern Californian, began her real estate career in 1983. Ms. Hawran was educated at the University of California at Los Angeles and has developed a specialty in the area of Right-of-Way appraisal after spending eight years with the State of California Department of Transportation. Ms. Hawran holds a license as a State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser. In the International Right-of-Way Association (IRWA), she served as President and International Director for the Orange County Chapter.  Ms. Hawran has also been an Instructor of Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice for the Appraisal Institute and instructed several appraisal courses for IRWA. She has been active in Chapter, Regional and National leadership of the Appraisal Institute. Her work history includes a broad range of appraisal assignments for acquisition, condemnation, lease re-negotiation, litigation support and lending purposes.

Ms. Hawran has undertaken significant assignments, being responsible for providing real estate analysis and studies, with emphasis on narrative appraisal assignments within all major real estate categories.  Other significant experience includes not only appraisal of, but project management and review coordination of partial takings and damage analysis for large land holdings, major income properties and multi-parcel acquisition for eminent domain purposes.

Condemnation requires a body of knowledge, experience, and analytic skills not found in typical lending appraisal.  With 35 years of professional right of way experience, inclusive of hands-on and classroom training, not only does she have all the experience and coursework necessary to receive an MAI designation, but she also achieved a very high degree of understanding of engineering plans, project profiles, and right of way mapping.

Ms. Hawran fully understands the eminent domain process and has been designated as an expert many times. Grasping the legal process is required in appraising for condemnation, and she is fully informed as to mediation, arbitration, and court trial protocol. Ms. Hawran has achieved this knowledge by attending and participating in many litigation courses and seminars, adding to her extensive work exposure, which has involved many complex partial acquisitions such as grade separation projects requiring intensive analysis of damages brought by the takings and the project itself.

Ms. Hawran has expert recognition and experience inclusive of deposition and courtroom testimony.  She has served as the appraisal reviewer for entire projects including grade separations and roadway corridors.  This experience proves client confidence in her eminent domain skill set.

Sydney Hawran carries the respect of her peers within the fields of appraisal and right of way. She has earned this by producing work product reflecting her education and experience.  She has taught right of way and appraisal courses throughout her career, developing a deep understanding of partial takings, notably designing a cost to cure format for the State of California to follow when training appraisers in partial taking work.

As the principal of a small (two-person) firm, Ms. Hawran accepts and prefers challenging assignments that most less experienced appraisers would be baffled by. The due diligence expended in her work product far exceeds generally accepted appraisal standards, and is expected by her clients.

James C. Malm

Staff Appraiser

James Malm

James C. Malm, Staff Appraiser, began his appraisal career in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Major in Economics, from University of California, Irvine.  Initially he served as the firm’s research analyst and information technician. He holds a certification in real estate valuation from California State University, Fullerton.  Currently Mr. Malm is a Practicing Affiliate of the Appraisal Institute– Actively working on Appraisal Institute appraisal experience required in the designation process. He is licensed as a State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser.

Mr. Malm has experience valuing various property types, including single family and multi-family residences, commercial, industrial and multiple uses of vacant land.  In addition, he has experience with the ATF (Across the Fence) valuation process.

Mr. Malm started writing appraisal reports for the City of Burbank Redevelopment August 2000. The project consisted of a full take valuation for a five-unit apartment building required for future development of a park/community school site. The report was co-signed by John C. Donahue, MAI; as James had a State of California Appraisal Training License – No. AT026862.

He has valued over ±1,000 individual acquisition areas during the past 18+ years. The valuation assignments have been completed in California, Arizona and Texas. California Counties include Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Tulare and Ventura. The following list includes activities he has performed during and in preparation for these assignments:

  • Market Research
  • Subject property description, inspection and document research
  • Highest and Best Use Analysis
  • Valuation
  • Report writing
  • Multiple parcel report writing
  • Corridor appraisal assignments – lease negotiations
  • Education

Some of the major projects include:

  • Otay Mesa Cross Boarder Terminal Project
  • Lennar Homes – Lake Mathews Development Project – Partial acquisitions for public utilities, fire safety and drainage easements
  • Scott Road @ I-215 Interchange Reconfiguration 
  • State Route 91 Freeway Widening Project
  • City of Lynwood Hamm Park Acquisition
  • Union Pacific Railroad Vs Kinder Morgan – Lease Negotiation 
  • Union Pacific Railroad East Bay Corridor Valuation – BART