Friday, August 25, 2006
S.C. Names Remke Bar Court Presiding Judge
Justices Also Reappoint Judge Patrice E. McElroy as Hearing Judge
By TINA BAY, Staff Writer
The Supreme Court yesterday named Hearing Judge Joann M. Remke as presiding judge of the State Bar Court.
The justices also reappointed Patrice E. McElroy as a San Francisco-based hearing judge for the high court’s disciplinary arm.
First District Court of Appeal Justice Paul R. Haerle, who chairs the Applicant Evaluation and Nomination Committee, told the MetNews that Remke and McElroy were ranked at the top of the committee’s recommendation list to the high court.
The seven-member committee, which was appointed by the Supreme Court and includes two State Bar governors, assists the high court and other appointing authorities in making appointments.
In early August, after conducting selective post-interview evaluations of various candidates—following a rigorous application process that included preliminary interviews and randomly selected evaluations from practitioners in each applicant’s area of law within his or her geographic location—the committee forwarded to the Supreme Court a list of the top three candidates for each position, a State Bar spokesperson said.
“Judge Remke and Judge McElroy showed outstanding performance in their respective jobs, in terms of experience, temperament, and work ethic,” Haerle said, adding that there were other high-ranking nominees for the vacancies.
The court’s current presiding judge, Ronald W. Stovitz, who is due to retire in October, said he was delighted with the high court’s selections and expressed praise for his successor:
“[Remke] brings an excellent ability in case analysis and in writing. She served with distinction as supervising judge for two years, and has demonstrated by her excellent handling of trial work, writing of decisions, and outstanding performance of administrative tasks that she has well earned the supreme court’s confidence in this appointment.”
Remke has taken a lead role in supporting the court’s establishment of a strong alternative discipline program, for attorneys in the disciplinary system who have underlying problems with substance abuse or mental health issues, Stovitz added.
As presiding judge, Remke will head the Review Department of the State Bar Court, which is the court’s three-judge appellate panel.
McElroy, reappointed to a six-year term, will continue to serve as one of the court’s five hearing judges. Two of these trial-level judges are appointed by the Supreme Court, while the remaining three are appointed by the governor, the Senate Committee on Rules, and the speaker of the Assembly.
McElroy, 53, joined the State Bar Hearing Department upon being appointed by the Supreme Court effective November 2001. Before this post, she was a sole practitioner litigating juvenile delinquency and dependency law cases in the San Francisco area.
She also served as a staff attorney for the National Center for Youth Law in San Francisco from 1991 to 1998, following several years of solo trial work, and served in the San Francisco Public Defender’s office from 1978 to 1986.
McElroy was admitted to the California Bar in 1978. She was admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California in 1978, and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994.
Remke, 41, was first named a hearing judge in 2000 by the Senate Committee on Rules, and was reappointed to a six-year term in 2004. She served as supervising judge of the hearing department in 2004 and 2005.
Prior to her appointment, she served for three years as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, advising it on issues of real property, civil procedure and family and consumer protection law.
She also worked for one year representing clients in domestic violence cases with the Montana Legal Service Association, on behalf of the Volunteers in Service to America program.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1987 and a law degree from McGeorge School of Law in 1991, Remke joined the real estate litigation department at Miller, Starr & Regalia in Oakland, California. She was admitted to the California Bar in 1992.
Haerle said that in addition to the posts now filled by Remke and McElroy, applications were solicited for a third open judicial position, based in Los Angeles. The governor has not yet acted on the committee’s recommendations for that post, he said, adding:
“Our work is not finished for 2006, because with the elevation of Judge Remke, we’re going to have to go back to the mill again to fill her vacancy in San Francisco.”
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company