Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Judge Friedman to Step Aside to Become Private Jurist
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Friedman is leaving the court to become a private judge, the jurist told the MetNews yesterday.
Today will be his last working day, he explained, although he will be using accrued vacation until his retirement becomes official in February. As a member of the Judges Retirement System, the 60-year-old jurist will be eligible for a deferred retirement benefit in five years.
He declined to disclose which dispute resolution provider he would be working for, saying it would not be proper to do so while still in office.
His departure is not related to any dissatisfaction with his current post, he said.
“I’ve loved being a judge,” he commented. “I enjoy it to this day. It’s a great and honorable profession, and would encourage lawyers who are interested in public service to pursue it.”
He is leaving, he said, because he has an “exciting opportunity.” Private dispute resolution, he posited, is a logical extension of his career as a judge, as well as his past involvement in resolving “highly contentious disputes” as a member of the Legislature.
Friedman said, however, that while he will “will certainly make myself available to resolve public policy disputes,” he will “absolutely not” serving “in any public capacity.”
A native of Pasadena, Friedman attended public schools in Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA in 1971 and from UC Berkeley’s law school in 1976.
He was a staff attorney at the Western Center on Law & Poverty from 1976 until 1978, leaving to become executive director of Bet Tzedek Legal Services in 1978. He ran the public interest legal group until 1986, when he was elected to the state Assembly, and then served on its board for six years.
While at Bet Tzedek, he wrote and lectured on landlord-tenant issues and handled his own caseload. While the organization’s work at the time was centered on representing tenants, he handled a number of other matters, including a case that led to a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling barring the government from denying SSI benefits to Holocaust survivors based on their receiving reparations from the German government.
He served four terms in the Assembly and was elected to the Superior Court in a hotly contested, heavy-spending race, defeating attorney John Moriarty in a November 1994 runoff.
He spent his first seven years on the bench in juvenile court—serving as supervising judge of the dependency courts and later as presiding juvenile court judge—before transferring to a Santa Monica civil trial court.
He also chaired the Juvenile Court Judges of California, and was elected to the California Judges Association board in 2003. Before joining the board, he wrote articles for the association’s journal on judicial-legislative relations and on judicial elections.
He served as CJA president in 2005-2006 and has been an adjunct professor at Loyola, UCLA and USC law schools.
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