Study Abroad Faculty

Judge Luis Lavin

Judge for the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles

Contact Information

The Honorable Luis A. Lavin is a sitting Judge for the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, which serves more than 9.5 million people throughout the County’s 4,000 square miles. Appointed by Governor Gray Davis in 2001, Judge Lavin has presided over a wide range of more than 100 bench and jury trials in the past decade, including scores of civil and felony jury trials. His career is distinguished by a commitment to public service and judicial equity.

Judge Lavin’s legal career began in private practice, handling civil litigation and transactional matters from 1985 to 1990, in San Francisco (at McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen) and Boston. Early in his professional life, Lavin had the opportunity to spend a month in Puerto Rico studying access to its health care system by HIV positive people. As a result of this pro bono project, he co-authored a chapter—The HIV Epidemic in Puerto Rico—for AIDS Agenda: Emerging Issues in Civil Rights (The New Press 1992). This experience, as well as losing many friends to AIDS, was formative and cemented his strong desire to work in the public interest.

Prior to Lavin’s appointment to the bench, he served as General Counsel and Director of Enforcement for the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission (’99-’01), and as a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (’95-’99). At DOJ, he enforced federal fair employment laws against public employers in federal district courts throughout the country. Lavin’s work at DOJ took him from Arkansas to Utah. In recognition of his accomplishments, he received a special commendation award for outstanding service to the Civil Rights Division from Attorney General Janet Reno.

In his current position as Superior Court Judge, Lavin presides over traditional and administrative civil mandamus proceedings such as requests for judicial review of decisions by adjudicatory agencies. From 2008 through 2012, he presided over a fast-track, general jurisdiction civil court with an inventory of more than 400 cases. Lavin also spent four years in a criminal assignment, including presiding over some of the most serious murder and gang-related cases prosecuted in Los Angeles. He also spent more than two years in a family law assignment.

In addition to his judicial responsibilities, Lavin serves on the seven-member Board of Trustees for the Los Angeles Law Library. He also sits on various court committees devoted to community outreach to high school students and law students. Lavin’s continuing commitment to education is reflected by his appointment to Southwestern Law School’s adjunct faculty and his extensive involvement with judicial education programs.