Neutral Profile



  • Available in San Diego, All of California
  • Available for Mediation, Arbitration, and Private Judging assignments


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 health care 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.


  • All types of Medical Negligence
  • Catastrophic Personal Injury
  • Business/Contractual
  • Employment
  • Class Action
  • Family Law

Hobbies & Interests

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


"Judge Lewis boiled down the dispute to its essential elements, addressed those head-on, and pushed firmly for a realistic resolution. The different Zoom rooms worked effectively and we were able to communicate efficiently."
- Attorney on a Comerrical Employment Sexual Harassment matter

"Judge Lewis effectively managed some very strong, conflicting personalities. She worked nonstop, essentially mediating three disputes (P v. D1, P v. D2, and D1 v. D2) efficiently and effectively."
- Attorney on an Elder Abuse Matter

"Focused on material liability issues and was patient to allow process to unfold."
- Attorney on an Employment Disability Matter

"Judge Lewis worked every angle and was very persistent in getting the parties together to resolve blank. She was fantastic."
- Attorney on a Employment Discrimination case

"Judge Lewis went above and beyond. This matter would have never settled without her."
- Attorney on a Neighbor Dispute Matter

Links and Articles

Experience Summary

Legal Career

  • Neutral, Judicate West (Current)
  • 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)
  • Member, San Diego Superior Court Executive Committee
  • Judicial Advisory Board, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL)
  • Executive Committee, California Judges Association (CJA)
  • Master, Wallace Inns of Court, San Diego, CA (2017-Present)
  • Chair, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Committee

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)

Legal Experience

  • All types of Medical Negligence
  • Catastrophic Personal Injury
  • Business/Contractual
  • Employment
  • Class Action
  • Family Law

Recent Representative Cases