Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Tevrizian Retires From U.S. Bench for Private Judging and Teaching
By TINA BAY, Staff Writer
Recently retired U.S. District Judge Dickran M. Tevrizian said yesterday that his long-term future plans are to serve as a neutral for JAMS and a professor at the University of Southern California.
It is “time to step aside now and enter the private sector,” the 66-year-old jurist, who left his federal court post at the Central District of California last Thursday after serving there 21 years, told the MetNews.
“I learned that we have the best judicial system in the world, and I was proud to be part of it for so many years,” he said, noting that his 31 years as a judge—including his tenure on the Los Angeles Superior Court from 1978 to 1982 and municipal court from 1972 to 1978—was “sufficient time for public service.”
He has enjoyed his experience on the bench, Tevrizian, who is the first Armenian American ever to have served as a federal judge, added.
JAMS President and CEO Steve Price said in a statement yesterday that his company was “thrilled” to welcome the former federal bench officer to its panel of mediators and arbitrators.
“He is highly respected and well known for his exceptional skill in resolving the most difficult cases,” Price remarked.
In addition to handling matters for the nation’s largest alternate dispute resolution provider, Tevrizian said he plans to teach at USC, where he earned both his law and undergraduate finance and accounting degrees. He will most likely take on a business law class at its business school and a trial practice course in its law school, he said, noting the university has offered him both a professorship as well as the Judge Robert Widney chair.
Tevrizian, at age 31, was appointed to the federal bench in 1985 by then-president Ronald Reagan, who had also named him to the Los Angeles Municipal Court while Reagan was governor of California. He was named to the Superior Court by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.
As a district judge, Tevrizian presided over many notable cases, including the recent case of two men with Russian mafia ties who were convicted and sentenced to death for running a kidnapping-for-ransom scheme that resulted in the deaths of five Los Angeles residents. The victims’ bodies were discovered by authorities in a Northern California reservoir.
Amy Powell, Tevrizian’s former law clerk for 10 years, said that in addition to handling many complex cases, the judge was also “known for a being a great mediator.”
“Other judges and attorneys would seek him to settle their cases,” she said, describing his willingness to offer help and his success in achieving settlements for both the court and for lawyers.
According to JAMS, he resolved approximately 10,000 cases while serving on the bench, and participated in negotiations for hundreds of cases involving a wide variety of issues, including business, entertainment, environment law, intellectual property, personal injury and professional liability.
Before Tevrizian was named the federal bench, he worked for one year as of counsel to Lewis, D’Amato, Brisbois & Bisgaard in Los Angeles. From 1982 until 1985, he was a partner in the local office of what was then Manatt Phelps Rothenberg & Tunney.
Prior to his state court appointments, Tevrizian worked in Kirtland & Packard’s Los Angeles office beginning in 1966, when he was admitted to the State Bar.
Tevrizian was born and raised in Los Angeles, graduating from what were then known as Wilton Place Grammar School and John Burroughs Middle School, and then Los Angeles High School.
Tevrizian has received numerous awards and honors for his work while on the judiciary, such as the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s 2005 Emil Gumpert Award for promoting ADR and the 2002 Maynard Toll Award for service to the underprivileged from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.
He also received the 1994-1995 Trial Jurist of the Year Award from the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the 1987 Trial Judge of the Year Award from the California Trial Lawyers Association.
Among his community activities, Tevrizian currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, which promotes Armenian heritage around the world, as well as the Glendale Memorial Hospital Foundation and UCLA School of Public Policy. He has also served on the boards of the Good Shepherd Home for homeless women, Los Angeles High School, QueensCare Health Foundation, and the Armenian Eye Care Project.
In a previous MetNews interview, Tevrizian, whose daughter is a physician, said he was most proud of his involvement in efforts to help provide quality medical care to the working poor.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company