Monday, September 28, 2009
Hermosa Beach Attorney Elected Commissioner
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court have elected Hermosa Beach attorney Stephen M. Lowry as a commissioner, court officials confirmed Friday.
Lowry, 64, fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Commissioner Gretchen Taylor in March and said he plans to take his oath of office next week.
He quipped that he “always had a thought in mind that at some point in my legal career I might become a jurist at some level,” since “as a long-term litigator, you always have some interest in the people that are deciding your fate.”
A graduate of Willamette University with a doctorate in political science, Lowry said he had a “fledgling career as a college professor” teaching at what is now St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania before attending the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
After graduation, he took and passed the Pennsylvania Bar Exam and clerked for former Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Elmer Gunderson. He gained admission to the Nevada State Bar and then moved west to California, where he was admitted to practice in 1981.
Lowry joined Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ Los Angeles office and eventually became a partner. In 1997 he joined a group of colleagues who broke away to form Davis & Russo.
The following year that firm became Russo & Lowry, which was dissolved this past January when Lowry, his wife, Jamie Lowry, and another colleague formed Lowry & Associates. Doing business as The Disability Guys, the firm exclusively focuses on Social Security disability appeals. Lowry said he was unsure whether the firm would continue without him.
He also said he did not know what his assignment would be as a commissioner, commenting that the court “will put me where they need me.” Lawry said his experience has primarily been business litigation and disability law, although he has also served as a temporary judge for the past three or four years.
“I’ll do whatever the docket says,” he commented, “and I will try to handle it efficiently and fairly.”
Under local rules, vacant superior court commissioner positions are filled by a vote of the judges from a list of candidates nominated by a court panel. Although the ranking order is not binding, all commissioners chosen in recent years have been selected in ranked order.
Following the election of Lowry, 14 candidates remain on that list in the following order:
Los Angeles attorney Michael Shultz; Deputy Public Defender Nancy Pogue; Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Inspector General Nicole Bershon; Children’s Law Center attorney Emma Castro; Deputy District Attorney Eloise Phillips; Michael R. Diliberto, president of Advantage Arbitration and Mediation Services LLC; Deputy District Attorney Arunas A. Sodonis; Los Angeles attorney Faith Mitchell; Referee Shep Zebberman; Lancaster attorney William A. Clark; Richard L. Bissetti, an associate at Century City’s Magana, Cathcart & McCarthy; Downey criminal defense lawyer Michael LaPan; Hawthorne Deputy City Attorney Robert Kim; and Deputy Public Defender Lisa Brackelmanns.
Court officials said that ballots had been sent out for another election to fill the vacancy created by Commissioner H.M. “Trip” Webster III’s retirement in March. The ballots will be due Oct. 15.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company