Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, May 2, 2005


Page 1


Two Litigators, Referee Elected Superior Court Commissioners




Two local litigation attorneys and a Superior Court referee have been elected commissioners of the Los Angeles Superior Court, court officials said Friday.

James Bianco, of counsel to the Los Angeles firm of  Overland, Borenstein,  Scheper, and Kim; H Jay Ford, of Century City’s Tyre Kamins Katz Granoff & Menes; and Pam Davis, a juvenile traffic referee in Santa Monica, will succeed three commissioners who recently retired.

Bianco, 42, said he hopes to wrap up his practice obligations and take the bench within a week or two. He applied for the subordinate judicial officer position, he told the MetNews, because “after 18 years in practice, it’s time for a new challenge.”

The commissioner-designate, who has mostly done criminal work but has some civil background, said it makes little personal difference where he is assigned. “I’m hoping to go wherever I’ll be able to help,” he said.

City Attorney’s Office

Bianco, a graduate of the State University of New York and of USC Law School, was admitted in 1987 and began his career at a civil firm, leaving in 1990 to join the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office for four years. He had his own practice in Santa Monica until February of this year.

Ford, 44, said he expects to be sworn in today, but does not know where he will be sent on assignment. A former president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Barristers, he noted that he had been less involved in bar activities the past few years and said he was “looking forward to...the opportunity to return to a fulltime public service commitment.”

Ford said that while he was comfortable in the civil realm, he would welcome the chance to do “something different.” His practice—he was at the now-defunct firm of Adams, Duque & Hazeltine before joining his present firm—has largely focused on business litigation, including commercial sales and secured transactions, construction defect, contract, insurance, employment, and real estate cases.

He has also served as general counsel to several partnerships and corporations.

Ford’s undergraduate and law degrees are from the University of Utah, where he served as editor of the Journal of Contemporary Law and the Journal of Energy Law and Policy.

Bar Activities

After serving as Barristers president in 1992-93, he served on the Judicial Appointments Committee of the County Bar and chaired the Professional Responsibility & Ethics Committee. He has also been a member of the Conference of Delegates.

Davis could not be reached Friday afternoon for comment on her election.

Bianco, Ford, and Davis—in that order—were the highest-ranked candidates on the list of potential commissioners nominated by a judicial panel. Judges are not bound by the rankings, but no candidate has been elected out of ranked order since the previous list was established in 2001.

A court spokesperson Friday said that dates had not yet been set for the next election. There are no further vacancies to be filled at the present time, but Commissioner Guilermina Byrne is retiring June 6 and other retirements are expected shortly.

The remainder of the candidate list, in ranked order, is:

Lancaster attorney and former Referee David Bianchi; Court of Appeal attorney Mary Lou Katz; Alliance for Children’s Rights attorney Amy M. Pellman; Los Angeles attorney Graciela Freixes; Santa Monica attorney Susan Weiss; Referee Alan H. Friedenthal; Los Angeles attorney David J. Cowan; Long Beach attorney Tamila Ipema; retired Municipal Court Commissioner John Murphy; former Referee Laura Hymowitz; Covina attorney Rocky Lee Crabb; and Joel Wallenstein, a former referee who now works for the State Compensation Insurance Fund.

Also Deputy County Counsel Catherine Pratt, Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Zuzga, Deputy District Attorney Lori-Ann Jones, Los Angeles attorney 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.


Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company