Neutral Profile



  • Based in San Diego, available in 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.

Practice Areas

  • 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 was excellent."
- Attorney on a Commercial Breach of Privacy case

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

"She explained the process clearly to my client and did a good job listening to my client’s concerns."
- Attorney on a Personal Injury Auto matter

"She did a great job with this case especially in light of the COVID restrictions and issues we all faced. Her great temperament and level-headed guidance set the stage for this matter to resolve sooner rather than later which was in the best interest of everyone."
- Attorney on an Employment Wrongful Termination Matter

"Judge Lewis was extremely patient with this very difficult Family Law case, listened to my client, who needed to vent, and then miraculously resolved the case where the parties were millions of dollars apart. Both opposing counsel and I were in awe, as neither of us believed the case would settle. "
- Attorney on a Family Law case

"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 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

"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

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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)
  • 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)

Legal Experience

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

Recent Representative Cases