Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Page 1


Services Held for Retired Commissioner Roberta Lee


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Services were held yesterday for retired Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Roberta W. Lee, who died Friday at the age of 77 after a lengthy illness.

Lee, a onetime dental assistant—her father, brother, and uncle were dentists—was a long-time member of the family law bench, mostly hearing family support cases. She was the first person to hold the position of managing commissioner for child support at Central Civil West.

In 2006, she was named Outstanding Judicial Officer of the Year by the National Child Support Enforcement Association, a 65,000-member national organization. “She was praised for seeking to inspire people to be productive, supportive and involved parents and for making fair and realistic orders to ensure consistent payments to benefit the children in her cases,” Presiding Judge Carolyn Kuhl explained in an email to judicial officers and staff members. 

Her caseload, she once explained in an interview, consisted of 40 to 70 cases a day. While child support defendants are often described as “deadbeats,” she explained, many of those who appeared before her simply couldn’t pay because they were “unemployed, underemployed, disabled or unable to work in the United States.”

Lee, a 1970 graduate of Loyola Law School, told the interviewer that she decided on a legal career after spending six months navigating the immigration system in an ultimately successful effort to get relatives out of Cuba.

She practiced with the firm of Winograde & Lee from 1971 to 1987, then joined Pepperdine University School of Law as director of career planning. She remained there as an adjunct professor after being appointed administrative law judge for the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board in 1993.

She became a Superior Court referee in 1996 and a commissioner in 1997. She retired from the bench in June 2006. 

The commissioner’s family said donations in her memory may be made to LA Opera at or Providence St. John’s Hospital at


Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company