For over 30 years, Judge Joan Lewis has been committed to serving the legal community with compassion, deference, and toughness. During her 20-year judicial career as a Superior Court Judge, she spent five years in the Family Law Division and then presided over a Civil Independent Calendar for the last 15 years until her retirement. Throughout her time on the bench, she handled a multitude of settlement conferences in both the Civil and Family Law divisions. Prior to her appointment, Judge Lewis tried civil cases in private practice for 10 years, focused on representing healthcare professionals in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Judge Lewis has been consistently active in leadership positions on judicial committees, including serving on the court’s Executive Committee and as chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Committee. She has received numerous awards, including the Friend of the Community Award by the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association in recognition of her commitment to LGBTQ rights and, most recently, the Witkin Award for excellence in the practice of law and advancing access to justice.

Judge Lewis is well known for her thoughtful and fair command of the courtroom. A true people person, she is empathetic and compassionate while maintaining a position of neutrality. While there were many who did not want to see her leave the bench, it is a testament to her abilities and the amount of immense respect the legal community holds for her to see that she is being actively sought out as a neutral in the private sector.

Practice Areas
  • All Types of Medical Negligence
  • Business/Contractual
  • Catastrophic Personal Injury
  • Class Action
  • Employment
  • Family Law
Hobbies & Interests

In her spare time, Judge Lewis enjoys theatre, travel, tennis, and overall physical fitness activities.

Legal Career
  • Neutral, Judicate West (2019-Present)
  • Judge, Superior Court of San Diego County (1998-2018); Family Law Division (1998-2003); Civil Independent Calendar Judge (2003-2018) Civil Independent Calendar, Assistant Supervising Judge
  • Attorney and Partner, handling civil matters with a focus on medical malpractice, Lewis-Brisbois (1990-1998)
  • Attorney, Ault Deuprey (1987-1990)
Education & Professional Affiliations
  • J.D., California Western School of Law (1984 -1987)
  • B.S., Arizona State University (1980)
  • San Diego Superior Court Executive Committee, Member
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL), Judicial Advisory Board
  • California Judges Association (CJA), Executive Committee
  • Wallace Inns of Court, San Diego, CA, Master (2017-Present)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Committee, Chair
Achievements & Awards
  • Recipient, San Diego Defense Lawyers’ Bench and Bar Honoree (2019)
  • Recipient, Bernard E. Witkin, Esq. Award for Excellence in the Adjudication of Law (2017)
  • Recipient, Friend of the Community Award, Tom Homann LGBT Law Association (2014)
  • Co-Author with Heather Hanson, John Gross, Steven Garfin, M.D., “Legal Implications and Strategies for Managing Complications in Spinal Surgery,” Book Chapter: “Complications of Pediatric and Adult Surgery” (2004)
Below is a sampling of the various matters Hon. Joan M. Lewis, Ret. presided over on the bench, tried as an attorney, or handled as a neutral.

Family Law Issues

  • Judge Lewis spent five years in the Family Law division and handled settlement conferences.

Medical Malpractice

  • Prior to her appointment, Judge Lewis tried civil cases in private practice for 10 years, focused on representing healthcare professionals in medical malpractice lawsuits.

General Negligence

  • During her time on the bench, she handled a multitude of settlement conferences in all types of personal injury disputes.

PI Auto

  • She has successfully mediated numerous personal injury cases, encompassing a wide range of incidents such as auto accidents, slip and falls, premises liability, assault and battery, sexual assault, and wrongful death.
Judge Joan Lewis is the BEST! She has the right demeanor, is extremely knowledgeable, and works with the parties. She is a perfect mediator.
- Attorney on a Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Case
Joan Lewis did the impossible in our case. She is remarkable. She has the perfect personality for handling mediations.
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Auto Case
Judge Lewis dealt with a few difficult and somewhat emotional issues with great skill and poise. I have mediated with her many times before and will continue.
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Case
Judge Lewis was efficient, practical, and persistent, including post-mediation communications with counsel to get the cases settled.
- Attorney on an Employment/Wage Hour Class Action
Judge Lewis was excellent.
- Attorney on a Commercial Breach of Privacy Case
Judge Lewis is an exceptional mediator. Always impartial and her ability to listen to both sides makes her one of the best. Our case involved significant injuries that were complex in nature and her medical background lets her identify areas of concern and case valuation. She is at the top of our list.
- Civil Trial Attorney With Two Decades of Experience
Judge Lewis worked every angle and was very persistent in getting the parties together to resolve the blank. She was fantastic.
- Attorney on an Employment Discrimination Case
Joan Lewis is one of my favorite mediators. She has a ready grasp of the issues, the law, and the dynamics of the decision-makers. She might not tell me or my clients what we'd like to hear but I always value her candid assessment. Some mediators are more concerned about keeping everyone happy and coming back. In litigation, that isn't always possible. I value that Judge Lewis, after listening to all and reviewing the briefs, takes a firm position.
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination Case
Hon. Joan M. Lewis, Ret.
Based in San Diego | Available in All of California
Case Manager: Calina Gercke