Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, May 10, 2007


Page 3


Judge Consuelo Marshall to Receive CWL Award


By a METNEWS Staff Writer


Senior U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall of the Central District of California has been named the 2007 recipient of the California Women Lawyers’ 14th annual distinguished jurist award, the organization said.

The honor, named after its first recipient Court of Appeal Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, is set to be presented by Klein on May 17 at CWL’s 19th annual Southern California Judicial Reception. The event is scheduled to take place 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles office of Morrison & Foerster.

CWL President Angela Davis told the METNEWS that although she was not involved in the selection process, she was “thrilled” that the organization’s awards committee chose to honor Marshall this year.

“Her reputation as a judicial officer and previously her reputation as an attorney have been truly outstanding,” the veteran assistant U.S. attorney, who has appeared before Marshall, said.

Additionally, Davis remarked, the judge has inspired many by being the first woman to have been hired as a deputy Los Angeles city attorney, and the first woman to have served as chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

“She really broke some barriers,” the president said, noting that the current chief judge of the Central District’ is a female and that the City Attorney’s Office is now home to many women lawyers with distinguished careers and leadership roles.

What truly made the jurist stand out to CWL, however, is the fact that she has been “a tremendous mentor to many, many people,” Davis said, explaining:

“There were people who called us and wrote to us to say that they worked for Judge Marshall as a law clerk or extern 20 years ago and they still remember the time they spent with her and how critically important it was for their career progress, and for the decisions they made, and their confidence in themselves.”

One of those individuals, now-Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Melissa Widdifield, told the METNEWS Marshall has been a “huge force” in her career and personal life ever since she clerked for the judge in 1988.

“She’s just the epitome of grace under pressure,” Widdifield said. “Even in the most extraordinary, trying situations and really difficult circumstances, I have never seen her lose her cool. And for me being on the bench now, she’s a wonderful role model.”

The commissioner added:

“One of the things that’s really extraordinary about her, and that I try to emulate is that she’s consistently reaching a hand down behind her and helping other people. She’s always got time to talk, she’s always got time to give you advice, to share her insights, to put you in touch with somebody who can help you.”

Marshall, who was nominated for the CWL award by numerous bar associations, has been a federal judge since 1980.  She was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in 1980 by then-Pres. Jimmy Carter and from 2001 to 2005, served as the district’s first female chief judge.

She began her legal career in 1962 as a Los Angeles deputy city attorney handling civil and criminal trials. During her tenure at the City Attorney’s Office, she also served as an advisor to the Building & Safety and Planning departments and the Civil Service Commission. 

She later joined the Los Angeles law firm of Cochran & Atkins, handling both civil and criminal matters.  From 1971 to 1976, she was a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner, assigned to juvenile court, family court, and civil law and motion.

She was named an Inglewood Municipal Court judge in 1976 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who elevated her to the Superior Court the following year. Then-President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the federal bench.

The CWL award is the latest of many for Marshall, whose has previously received the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Outstanding Jurist Award, Los Angeles County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Thomas Bradley Distinguished Citizen Award, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles Ernestine Stahlhut Award, Langston Bar Association Bernard S. Jefferson Jurist of the Year Award, Criminal Bar Association Judicial Excellence Award, and the Century City Bar Association Criminal Federal Judge of the Year Award.

She is also a member of the Langston Bar Association Hall of Fame and received the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Career Achievement Award.  She chairs the Federal Bar Association’s Bench/Bar Relations Committee and the Ninth Circuit Fairness Committee, and is a member of the Ninth Circuit’s Pacific Islands Committee.

CWL award honorees are selected for their judicial excellence and for long-term, vigorous service and inspiration to the only statewide bar association for women in the California, the association explained.


Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company