Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, April 4, 2003


Page 3


State’s First Lesbian Judge to Return to Bench Following Davis Appointment


By a MetNews Staff Writer


California’s first openly lesbian judge will return to the bench following her appointment to the San Francisco Superior Court yesterday by Gov. Gray Davis.

Retired San Francisco Municipal Court Judge Mary C. Morgan was one of four new Bay Area judges named yesterday by the governor.

Morgan, 57, served on the Municipal Court from 1981 to 1993, then moved to Washington, D.C., where she taught at American University and served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Policy Development of the Department of Justice.

Her partner, Roberta Achtenberg, served as assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration.

Morgan was the Municipal Court’s presiding judge in 1987-88. Since her return to San Francisco in 1996, she has served as a judge of the Superior Court by assignment and as a mediator and arbitrator.

From 1973 to 1981, Morgan was engaged in the private practice of law in San Francisco. She specialized in family law, but also had experience in criminal, personal injury, estate planning, probate, landlord-tenant and various other civil matters. She began her career as an attorney with the National Housing & Economic Development Law Project from 1972 to 1973.

Morgan has also been heavily involved in judicial education programs and is a former dean of the California Judicial College and chair of the Center for Judicial Education and Research New Judge Education Planning Committee.

She becomes the second retired judge to return to the bench under an appointment by Davis. The governor last year named retired First District Court of Appeal Justice Marcel Poche to the Santa Clara Superior Court.

Morgan is a graduate of Smith College and New York University Law School, and will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Kevin Ryan.

Davis yesterday also named Jill C. Fannin to the Contra Costa Superior Court, Lawrence John Appel to the Alameda Superior Court, and Joseph C. Scott to the San Mateo Superior Court.

Fannin, 41, has been working fulltime as a mediator and arbitrator with JAMS since 2000. She previously was in private practice for 12 years with several firms in San Francisco and Walnut Creek, handling defense work on behalf of insurance carriers and businesses and litigating consumer class actions, primarily on behalf of plaintiffs.

Fannin graduated from UC Berkeley and Hastings Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Michael R. Coleman.

Appel, 60, is a sole practitioner. His practice emphasizes complex civil litigation, including unfair trade practices, breach of contract, fraud, defamation, securities and intellectual property disputes..

He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Saint Mary’s College, and a law degree from Hastings, and will fill the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Sandra Margulies to the Court of Appeal.

Scott, 52, has a general law practice with an emphasis on business litigation, plaintiffs’ personal injury matters, criminal defense, and transactional work on behalf of small businesses. He also occasionally handles family law and estate planning matters.

He practiced in a pair of law firms from 1977 to 1983, then established his own practice in Redwood City. He is a former chairman of the San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Commission.

Scott graduated from Brown University, and has a law degree from Hastings. He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Paula Schlichter.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company