Following more than 22 years on the bench, 19 of which were on the Court of Appeal, Justice Laurie Zelon has retired and is available to serve as a mediator, arbitrator, and private judge with a strong focus on arbitrations, private trials, special master assignments, neutral analysis, and appellate reviews.
Her reputation precedes her as a judge with acute attention to detail in reading, preparing, and decision making. She is also known for her approachability and mentorship and has often been referred to as a “salt of the earth” individual. These attributes combined with her experience as a trial lawyer specializing in high-stakes, large-scale commercial cases are tremendous assets in a variety of complex matters.
Justice Zelon described her approach to private dispute resolution stating, “My role as a neutral is to be an advocate for meaningful resolution by guiding individuals and organizations to understand their behavior and solve problems constructively. When people receive a hearing that they perceive as fair and conducted by a true neutral, they can resolve their dispute in a lasting manner.”
Throughout an impressive career on the bench spanning over two decades, Justice Zelon has been involved in a wide variety of cases.
Justice Zelon loves to hike and travel and often travels to hike. She has hiked on three continents and four island countries. In quieter times, reading and music bring her joy. Throughout her career, she has volunteered in civic and legal organizations and provided pro bono legal service. That service is a personal obligation to the community that inspires her on an ongoing basis.
"“Justice Zelon is one of the smartest and most dedicated justices I have stood before. She appreciated and was fully engaged in oral argument and came thoroughly prepared every time. It was always clear to the lawyers that her goal was to ‘get it right.’”"
- Appellate Lawyer
Partner and Associate, Hufstedler, Kaus & Ettinger, complex litigation involving scientific and technical issues, and large-scale commercial disputes (1983-1991)
Associate, Beardsley, Hufstedler & Kemble, complex litigation involving scientific and technical issues, and large-scale commercial disputes (1977-1983)
Education & Professional Affiliations
J.D. Harvard Law School (1974-1977)
B.A. Cornell University (1970-1974)
California Women Lawyers Association, Member (1978-Present)
Administrative Office of the Courts and Judicial Council Committees (1997-Present)
Los Angeles County Bar Association, President President-Elect, Senior Vice President, Vice President, Board of Trustees (1977-Present)
California Commission on Access to Justice, Chair, Member, Ex Officio (1997-Present)
Women Lawyers’ Association of Los Angeles, Member (1977-Present)
American Bar Association, Member (1978-2009)
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Board of Directors (1997-2000)
Standing Committee on Discipline for the Central District of California, Member (1997-2000)
Lawyers Committee, National Center for State Courts, Member (1988-1991)
Achievements & Awards
The Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award (2010)
The Shattuck-Price Award (2009)
The Loren Miller Legal Services Award (2000)
The Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award (2000)
The Charles Dorsey Award, NLADA (1999)
The William Reece Smith Jr. Special Services to Pro Bono Award (1993)
Publications include Jefferson’s California Evidence Benchbook (2020), Equal Access to Civil Justice: Pursuing Solutions Beyond the Legal Profession, 17 Yale Law & Social Policy Review 489 (1998); West California Litigation Forms: Civil Procedure Before Trial (1996)