Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Page 1


Judge Robert A. Schnider to Retire After 27 Years on Bench


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert A. Schnider is retiring after 27 years on the bench.

Schnider, 62, said yesterday that he will officially step down Dec. 15, and that he plans to become a private judge with Alternative Resolution Centers.

He told the MetNews that he had decided to retire after reaching a phase in his life where he wanted more flexibility to spend time with his wife and grandchildren, and indicated he will serve his last day on the bench sometime prior to his official retirement date in order to exhaust accrued vacation.

Schnider first joined the bench in 1981, when he was appointed as a commissioner, and has heard family cases since that time. Then-Gov. Gray Davis appointed Schnider, a Democrat, to the Superior Court in 2002, and the jurist later served as supervising judge of the family law departments from 2005 until the beginning of this year.

Born in Flint, Mich., Schnider came to California as a youth, and graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1963 before attending college at UC Berkeley. He graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law in 1970, and entered private practice in association with his father in Santa Monica the following year after earning admission to the State Bar.

Handling primarily family law matters, but also business, probate, criminal and other cases, Schnider carried on the practice as a solo practitioner after his father’s death in 1975. He was among the first group of lawyers to become certified family law specialists in 1979 when the State Bar created the designation, and also served as of counsel to Rosen, Rosen & Levitt in the year before he took the bench.

Schnider said it was a “privilege” to have served in family law his entire tenure as a judicial officer, and called the family law departments “the place where ordinary people have their deepest connection with the judicial process.”

The jurist—who had his own brush with the family law courts in 1983 when he and his then-wife of 15 years divorced, sharing custody of their two sons—explained that “a judicial officer, having no jury, has the ability to take shattered lives and dreams, and children in distress, and reorient them in a more positive fashion.”

The recipient of multiple awards from bar groups during his time on the bench, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Outstanding Jurist Award in 2000, and awards from the family law sections of the county bar, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and the State Bar, Schnider said that “awards and honors are nice,” but that doing the work was his biggest reward.

Schnider has also lectured at continuing education programs during his time on the bench, and served as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School.

In 1998, his son David Schnider was admitted to the State Bar, becoming the third generation of the family to serve as an attorney in California.


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