Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, August 16, 2019


Page 1


Judge Thomas Trent Lewis to Retire From Superior Court in December


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Thomas Trent Lewis, supervising judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Family Law Division, announced yesterday that he will retire from the bench Dec. 18.

By not filing for reelection, an open seat on the March 3, 2020 ballot will be created.

Lewis said that Presiding Judge Kevin Brazile has chosen Judge Lawrence P. Riff, who is currently assistant supervising judge, to take over Nov. 1 in overseeing the court’s 70 family law departments, and that Brazile has named Judge Shelley L. Kaufman as the Number Two judge in the division.

“After my retirement, I intend to remain fully active in the family law field exploring a wide variety of opportunities to serve in the dynamic area that is family law,” he told the METNEWS. “Most of all, I look forward to more flexibility and opportunity to spend time with my wife, my two children, and our four grandchildren.”

Lewis has been a family law judge since his appointment to the Superior Court in 2006 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. From 2011-14, he was assistant supervising judge of the Family Law Division.

Draws Praise

Family law certified specialist Claudia Rivet of the Century City firm of Ribet & Silver said yesterday:

“Judge Lewis is the consummate scholar, teacher, and bench officer. He is also a gentleman, who told me once I should be proud of an appellate decision in my favor, even though it resulted in reversal of a decision he rendered.

“I will miss him on the bench. We all will. He has done wonderful things with the Family Law Division.”

Former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Patricia Phillips, also a certified family law specialist and a partner in the downtown Los Angeles firm of Phillips Jessner LLP, commented:

“Judge Thom Lewis has been a gallant champion of family matters particularly bringing recognition to the extremely important place of the family law court in the community and culture of Los Angeles County.

“While we will miss him in the downtown courthouse, I cannot help but believe that he will continue to work in our field bringing his inimitable style back to the private bar and press on as he always has. We look forward to his return to this side of the bench and hope he will continue that good work for us. I venture to say that he is probably already booked up as a private judge.”

Claudia A. Weaver, a certified family law specialist whose office is in Palmdale, said Lewis has “one of the best judicial demeanors, combined with superior knowledge of family law and procedure.”

She noted that she has attended his “Family Law Update” for the past seven years in Carlsbad, and remarked:

“What an engaging instructor! It was fast paced and full of information.”

Fondest Memories

He mentioned three of his fondest memories of service on the bench.

“First, our family law division was the largest single group of bench officers to transition to an electronic docket with the launch of the Bench View system,” he said.

He related that Brazile, as the current presiding judge, and Daniel Buckley, his predecessor, “gave my team the opportunity to innovate the family law division with a fresh approach in a quest for excellence in service by the family law division to the children and families we serve.”

Lewis added:

“Finally, the greatest joy of my almost 14 years on the bench has been working with the dedicated bench officers, and court staff. While I am very excited about the next phase of my life and career, I will miss those dedicated members of the bench and court staff whom I can truly say are great teammates in the quest to provide meaningful access to justice to the people of Los Angeles County.”

His awards include the California Lawyer’s Association Family Law Judge of the Year Award, 2018; the Association of Family Law Specialist Hall of Fame Award, 2018; the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Stanley Mosk Legacy of Justice Award, 2017; the Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section Spencer Brandeis Award, 2015; and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts’s Outstanding Jurist Award, 2010.

Lewis received his law degree from La Verne College of Law, where he served on the law review. He graduated cum laude in 1978 and was on the Dean’s List.

He became a certified family law specialist in 1985 and was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 1988 and as a fellow of the International Academy of Family Law in 2016. Lewis is a past president of the California Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

The judge said he will continue as a contributing author of the Rutter Group Family Law Practice Guide and teaching family law for California Family Law Report and serving as its program director.


Copyright 2019, Metropolitan News Company