Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, January 14, 2011


Page 1


Justice McAdams Sets Feb. 28 Retirement


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Justice Richard J. McAdams of the Sixth District Court of Appeal yesterday said that he is planning to retire on Feb.28, the day after his 67th birthday.

“Every year, when I come to my birthday, I look at things,” McAdams told the MetNews. Last year, he said, he realized “half my life has been spent as a judge” and “that particularly got me ruminating on the possibility of retiring.”

The justice disclosed plans to travel “somewhere overseas” with his wife, spend time with his six grandchildren, do some jogging, “maybe get back to golf,” clean the garage, learn how to read music, and “really learn how to use my iPhone” after stepping down from the bench. He also said he is considering pursuing private mediation and arbitration.

McAdams began his judicial career in 1977 with an appointment to the old Santa Cruz Municipal Court by then-Gov. Jerry Brown. He remarked that he never expected Brown to be the one to appoint his successor now.

He served as presiding judge of the municipal court in 1980, 1984, 1987 and 1990 before being elected to the Santa Cruz Superior Court in 1998, and then elevated to the appellate court in 2003.

McAdams noted that when then-Chief Justice Ronald M. George announced retirement plans last year, “the chief said he was at the top of his game,” before remarking:

“I’m not sure I’m at the top of my game now, but I’m sure not at the bottom of it.”

He said his appointment to the Sixth District was “the pinnacle” and “highlight” of his career, but he was also proud of having established Senior Citizens Legal Services, a law office for the elderly poor, in the early 1970s when he was working for the Santa Cruz County Legal Aid Society, and having seen it continue as a “lively, thriving law office” up to the present.

McAdams said he also took pride in having helped to establish mediation programs for the Santa Cruz Superior Court and the Sixth District and in having presided over courtrooms where the public defender and district attorney would often send their offices’ newest members to cut their teeth.

“I took that as a great compliment,” he reflected.

The justice was born in Albany, Calif. and reared in San Mateo. McAdams attended UC Berkeley and Hastings College of Law before joining the State Bar in 1969.

After a year as an associate with a San Francisco firm, McAdams joined the Santa Cruz County Legal Aid Society, where he remained until 1973. He spent the next four years in private practice in Santa Cruz, practicing in the areas of family law and personal injury, before being tapped for the bench.

When he leaves his office, he will miss “the people and the courtroom, no question about it,” McAdams said.

“I’ve been blessed with the colleagues that I’ve had, and the staff,” he remarked, although “I trust that I will find the same collegiality and community if I go back into the private world.”

The justice also said he thinks he will “miss the important work of the court too in developing the law, resolving oftentimes complex issues” and that he hopes to “find an equal challenge out there after retirement” in terms of “intellectual stimulation and creativity.”

Before he leaves the court though, McAdams, said he expects to perform for the Santa Cruz County Bar Association’s annual meeting.

He is an avid guitarist who has performed at various association events over the years, singing and playing parodies of rock songs, including: “50 Ways To Leave Your Lawyer,” “All You Know Is Law,” “If You’re Happy With Your Lawyer, Clap Your Hands,” and “No Jury, Be Snappy.”


Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company