Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Page 1


Former State Bar President James Herman Named to Santa Barbara Superior Court


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday named former State Bar President James Herman to the Santa Barbara Superior Court.

Herman, 59, has practiced business litigation for more than 20 years. Since 1999 he has been a partner in the Santa Barbara law firm of Reicker, Pfau, Pyle, McRoy and Herman.

Herman, who served as State Bar president for 2002-2003, said he expects to be sworn in approximately two weeks from now. He will be sitting at the court’s Santa Maria branch, probably hearing criminal cases, at first, he told the MetNews.

His inspiration for seeking the post, he said, is his wife, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge  Denise de Bellefeuille, who sits at the downtown Santa Barbara courthouse.

Herman said he applied for the post in July of last year. Seeing how much his wife enjoyed her work and watching how she conducted court was a large part of his decision to do so, he explained.

His spouse “taught me a lot about judicial temperament,  treating litigants and lawyers and the public with dignity and courtesy,” Herman told the MetNews.

One unfortunate aspect of the appointment, he said, is that he will have to give up his seat as an attorney member of the Judicial Council of California. He was appointed to the courts’ policymaking body last year by the State Bar Board of Governors, which will appoint his successor for the balance of a three-year term.

Herman said he intends to wind down his practice as quickly as possible because his county needs the help. His predecessor, Judge James Jennings, retired a year ago, so the vacancy has created a strain in a county with only two dozen or so bench officers, he commented.

Herman was born and grew up in Kansas City, Mo., and first moved to California as a member of the Air Force studying Chinese at the Defense Department’s language institute in Monterey. He was introduced to Santa Barbara as a student at the University of California’s campus there, and graduated in 1971.

He later worked for Disney in Florida, handling light and sound for music acts before returning to California to attend California Western School of Law in San Diego. He graduated there in 1975, then earned a master’s of law degree from New York University School of Law in 1976.

He began his career as a deputy public defender, then worked at a couple of other firms before joining Reicker Pfau. He had previously been a partner for 12 years at Rogers, Sheffield and Herman.

Herman, a Democrat, is one of three men named to judicial positions yesterday by the governor. The others are Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Stanford Reichert, named to the San Bernardino Superior Court (see story, Page 3) and litigator Michael D. Coughlan, 50, of Stockton to the San Joaquin Superior Court.

Reichert and Coughlan are Republicans.


Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company