Tuesday, January 10, 2006
U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew Says He Will Take Senior Status
By a MetNews Staff Writer
U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew said yesterday he will take senior status in September, when he turns 65 years of age.
The jurist said he was looking forward to “a more relaxed caseload” and has no plans to transition from senior status into private judging, as several of his colleagues have done in the past few years.
“This is the best job there is,” he told the MetNews. “The pay is lousy, but the work is fun.”
Lew, who was honored as the newspaper’s Person of the Year for 1998, became the first Chinese American to sit as a U.S. district judge outside Hawaii when he took the oath in May 1987.
He grew up near the Coliseum, the third of nine children of Chinese immigrant parents. He attended West Vernon Elementary School, then John Adams Junior High on Broadway and 28th.
He then went on to Loyola High School and Loyola University, then served a stint in the Army before graduating from Southwestern University School of Law. He also worked in his family’s laundry business before and after law school graduation.
Lew began his legal career in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office from 1972 to 1974, starting on the criminal side but later shifting to civil matters. He then helped form a small Los Angeles law firm, where he did mostly business, real estate, and personal injury work before then-Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him to the old Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1982.
A founder of the Chinatown Service Center, which promotes employment opportunities, he was named to the city’s Fire and Police Pension Commission by then-Mayor Tom Bradley in 1976, serving until his appointment to the bench.
He served a three-month assignment to the Court of Appeal while a Municipal Court judge, and was elevated to the Superior Court by then-Gov. George Deukmejian in 1984. He was named to the federal bench by President Reagan three years later.
There are currently four vacancies on the District Court.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen G. Larson was nominated Dec. 15 to succeed Judge Robert J. Timlin, who took senior status Feb. 1. Also taking senior status were Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. on April 22, Judge Dickran M. Tevrizian on Aug. 5, and Judge Consuelo Marshall on Oct. 24.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company