Saturday, January 8, 2011

3. Meet Justice Zelon

Allow me to introduce 2/7 Justice Laurie D. Zelon.

Criteria Match.  Governor Davis appointed Justice Zelon to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 2000 and elevated her to the Court of Appeal in 2003.  Her website bio has no date of birth, but states she earned her B.A. from Cornell in 1974.

Credentials.  Justice Zelon graduated from Harvard Law School.  Before taking the bench, she handled complex commercial litigation, most recently at Morrison & Foerster.

Her leadership roles in the court system include chairing the Judicial Council’s Elkins Family Law Task Force and co-chairing the Sexual Orientation Subcommittee.  She has also served on the Judicial Council’s Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants, Advisory Committee on Access and Fairness, Racial and Ethnic Fairness Subcommittee, and Economic Access Subcommittee.

Justice Zelon’s substantial community involvement includes serving as president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, a past member of its Board of Trustees, and past Chair of its Federal Courts Committee, its Judiciary Committee, its Access to Justice Committee, and its subsection on Real Estate Litigation.

She has served as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers' Public Service Responsibility, its Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, and its national Law Firm Pro Bono Project.  She was also on the ABA Consortiums on Law and the Public and Legal Services and the Public.

Justice Zelon was also the founding chair of the California Commission on Access to Justice.

Her awards include:
  • the 2010 Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award, co-sponsored by the California Commission on Access to Justice, Judicial Council, State Bar and California Judges Association
  • the 2000 Loren Miller Legal Services Award from the State Bar of California
  • the 1999 William Reece Smith, Jr. Special Services to Pro Bono Award
  • the 1993 Charles Dorsey Award from the National Legal Aid & Defenders Association.  
Justice Zelon was also the namesake and first recipient of the Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award, given by the Pro Bono Institute of Washington, D.C.