Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, March 1, 2004


Page 1


Maren Nelson Elected Superior Court Commissioner


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Morrison & Foerster partner Maren Nelson has outpolled retired Los Angeles Municipal Court Commissioner John M. Murphy in runoff balloting by judges to fill the Los Angeles Superior Court’s remaining commissioner vacancy, a court spokeperson said Friday.

Nelson, who primarily does financial institutions litigation, was the second-ranked candidate on a list of 35 finalists for commissioner posts announced in December. The list and rankings were determined by a judicial panel that reviewed more than 150 applications, including those of a number of the court’s referees.

Murphy ranked 20th on the list. The runoff was made necessary when only criminal defense lawyer Elizabeth Harris, the top-ranked candidate, received a majority of the votes in balloting which concluded in January to elect replacements for Commissioners Lonzo Lucas, who retired, and Richard Novak, who resigned in order to enter private practice.

Judges are not bound by the rankings, but 24 commissioners were elected, in the exact order of ranking, from the previous list of 35.

Nelson said she was excited about the prospect of a career change after 17 years with Morrison & Foerster.

“I think it’s going to be a real challenge, but I’m really looking forward to it,” she commented.

She said she will probably not be able to assume her new duties for about a month.

“I have a pretty good sized practice to wind down,” she observed.

Nelson said she expects to talk with Presiding Judge Robert Dukes this week about an assignment, but she declined to express any preference.

“I think I will just wait and see where Judge Dukes thinks I can be the most help,” she said.

Nelson attended Occidental College and USC Law School, but noted she did not grow up in Southern California. While she was a child, her family moved frequently as her father moved up the “corporate ladder,” she explained.

When the time came for her to go away to school she “wanted to get to the warmest place I could find and the farthest place from the Midwest,” she recalled.

She spent six years with another firm before joining Morrison & Foerster, where she said she has done a “fairly broad range of civil business litigation.”

The selection of Nelson is good news for the 18 remaining candidates who rank ahead of Murphy on the list, each of whom now moves a step closer to the top.

Now heading the list is Robert A. McSorley, a veteran litigator who is now a Ventura sole practioner.

McSorley is followed by Referee Brian Petraborg; Harvey A. Silberman, who works for San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Legal Services in Pacoima; Referee Anthony Trendacosta; and Anthony B. Drewry, staff counsel at Munger, Tolles & Olson.

  The rest of the list, in ranked order:

  Referee Steff Padilla, Santa Monica attorney James N. Bianco, Century City attorney H. Jay Ford III, Referee Pamela A. Davis, Lancaster attorney and former judicial candidate David Bianchi, Court of Appeal attorney Mary Lou Katz, Alliance for Children’s Rights attorney Amy M. Pellman, Los Angeles attorney Gracia Freixes, Santa Monica family law specialist Susan Weiss, Referee Alan H. Friedenthal, Los Angeles attorney David J. Cowan, Long Beach attorney Tamila Ipema, Murphy, former Refeee Laura Hymowitz, Referee Daniel Zeke Zeidler, Covina attorney Rocky Lee Crabb, and former Referee Joel Wallenstein.

Also Deputy County Counsel Catherine Pratt, Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Zuzga, Deputy District Attorney Lori-Ann Jones, Los Angeles attorney and former Superior Court candidate Robert Harrison, Referee Stephen Marpet, Deputy District Attorney Lia R. Martin, Los Angeles attorney Paul Ted Suzuki, Manhattan Beach attorney Michele Flurer, Deputy District Attorney William J. Woods, Los Angeles attorney Adrienne L. Krikorian, and Referee Jacqueline H. Lewis.

Zeidler and Jones are running in tomorrow’s primary for open seats on the Los Angeles Superior Court.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company