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Yes, You Can Get There from Here: Toward a Broader Bench

  • 19 Aug 2021
  • 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Zoom

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This program, produced and sponsored by California’s LGBTQ+ Bar Associations, will discuss the importance of a diverse judiciary, will help demystify the judicial appointments process, and will highlight the broad range of legal experience and different pathways through the legal profession that might lead to the judiciary.

Join California’s Judicial Appointments Secretary Luis Céspedes, Judge Roger Chan and Judge Linda Colfax (San Francisco Superior Court), Judge Jessica Delgado (Santa Clara Superior Court), and Judge Victoria Kolakowski (Alameda Superior Court), and California’s LGBTQ+ Bar Associations for a discussion about diversifying the judiciary, and the roles of judges, bar associations, lawyers, and others in those efforts.  

Whether you are interested in supporting statewide efforts to facilitate a judiciary that is increasingly representative of the people of California, are considering applying for a judicial appointment or seeking election to the bench, or have an application in process, the speakers will meet you where you are with their delivery of powerful information from their diverse backgrounds, as members of the LGBTQ+ and other intersectional communities. This is especially important today with numerous backlogs on the bench because of judicial retirements during the pandemic. 

This informative, live event will take place virtually on Zoom on Thursday, August 19, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Attendees will be able to submit questions both in advance and online during the program.

Please send questions in advance to Lexi Howard (lhoward@murphyaustin.com).

Produced and sponsored by California’s LGBTQ+ Bar Associations:

  • Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (San Francisco)
  • LGBTQI Law Section of the Sonoma County Bar Association
  • Orange County Lavender Bar Association
  • SacLegal, Sacramento’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association
  • Tom Homann LGBTQ+ Law Association (San Diego)
  • LGBT Judicial Officers of California
  • Orange County Lavender Bar Association
  • LGBTQ+ Lawyers Association of Los Angeles

Please mark your calendars; rsvp for registration details.


California’s Judicial Appointments Secretary Luis Céspedes

Judicial Appointments Secretary Luis A. Céspedes has been a champion of civil rights, equal justice, and diversity and inclusion throughout his professional career. Prior to becoming Appointments Secretary in 2020, Secretary Céspedes spent nearly forty years in private practice where his work included immigration law, criminal post-conviction relief, employment discrimination, and personal injury matters. During his time in private practice, Secretary Céspedes was recognized as a pillar of the Sacramento legal community, including as recipient of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Distinguished Attorney of the Year Award in 2018. Secretary Céspedes previously chaired the Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Commission and co-founded the Cruz Reynoso Bar Association.

Judge Roger Chan, San Francisco Superior Court

The Honorable Roger Chan was appointed to the San Francisco Superior Court by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016.  He is currently assigned to the Unified Family Court where he presides over family, dependency, and juvenile justice trials, as well as the juvenile justice collaborative courts.  He is a member of the court’s Executive Committee and previously served as the Supervising Judge of the Traffic and Infractions Division.  Judge Chan is a member of the California Judges Association, CJA’s Juvenile Court Judges of California Executive Committee (Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee), the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the Judicial Council’s Family and Juvenile Law Advisory Committee.   

Prior to his appointment, Judge Chan represented children and youth in San Francisco and Alameda counties for 18 years, including co-founding and serving as Executive Director of East Bay Children’s Law Offices in Oakland.  He is a proud alumnus of UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law.   Judge Chan is honored to be the first openly LGBT Asian-American appointed to the San Francisco Superior Court. 

Judge Linda Colfax, San Francisco Superior Court

Judge Linda H. Colfax, a San Francisco Superior Court Judge since 2011, currently sits in the criminal division of the court, supervises the preliminary hearing courts, and presides over serious preliminary hearings. Judge Colfax has also served as a juvenile court judge and family court judge, has presided over both civil and criminal trials, and served on her court’s appellate panel for three years and Executive Committee for 4 years.   Currently, Judge Colfax is a Vice President of the California Judges Association (CJA), a co-chair of the LGBT Judicial Officers of California, a co-chair of CJA’s Task Force on the Elimination of Bias and Inequality, and an active board member of the International Association of LGBTQ Judges.  Prior to her election to the San Francisco bench, Judge Colfax worked as a San Francisco deputy public defender.   Judge Colfax earned her A.B. from Harvard and her J.D. from the University of Michigan.

Judge Jessica Delgado, Santa Clara Superior Court

Judge Jessica Delgado was appointed to the Santa Clara County Superior Court by Governor Gavin Newsom in March of 2021. She graduated from University of California at Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Politics and earned her Juris Doctor from University of California at Berkeley. Prior to appointment, Delgado served the community as a public defender for more than twenty years. A proud member of both the Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities, Delgado serves on the Santa Clara County Superior Court’s Community Outreach, Language Access and Collaborative Court committees. Judge Delgado is also a member of the California Judges Association LGBT Judicial Officers of California and the California Latino Judges Association.

Judge Victoria Kolakowski, Alameda Superior Court

Judge Victoria Kolakowski became the first openly transgender trial court judge of general jurisdiction when she was elected in Alameda County in 2010.

She was an attorney for twenty-one years in Louisiana and California, serving as a sole practitioner, attorney in a small patent boutique firm, patent and corporate counsel for two publicly traded companies, a senior utility regulatory attorney for the state, and an administrative law judge (ALJ) for both the California Department of Insurance and the CPUC. She is a trained mediator and currently serves as a settlement judge.

Judge Kolakowski is passionate about ensuring and expanding access to justice, particularly for those with limited resources.  She serves on the Judicial Council of California’s Advisory Committee on Providing Access and Fairness and is the California Council of Churches' appointee to the California Access to Justice Commission.  She is a former president of the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges (2015-2017), and she has spoken widely on LGBT issues throughout the U.S. and abroad, including at the request of the U.S. State Department. She is currently an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and this summer taught an advanced constitutional law seminar.

 


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