September 15, 2014 — Justice Tricia A. Bigelow (JD ’86), presiding justice of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Eight in Los Angeles, CA, has been given the Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence (formerly “Jurist of the Year”) by the California Courts’ Judicial Council. The Judicial Council is the policymaking group of the California court system, the largest court system in the United States with over 2,000 judicial officers serving a population of more than 38 million people. The Award for Judicial Excellence “honors judges for their extraordinary dedication to the highest principles of the administration of justice statewide.”
The award describes Bigelow as “a frequent lecturer, presenter, and prolific writer,” noting that she educates judges and lawyers on a wide variety of topics, co-authored three books for The Rutter Group, and served as dean of the annual Judicial College, which educates all newly appointed judges in California. She has been heavily active in leadership roles throughout the California justice system, from being the founding co-president of the Los Angeles Criminal Law Inns of Court to serving as a member of the Los Angeles Superior Court Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, which created the standardized criminal law jury instructions for the state. Before her appointment to the bench, she was a California deputy attorney general and was cross-designated as both a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and an Assistant United States Attorney.
Bigelow’s honor follows a series of other judicial-related announcements from Pepperdine Law, where Deanell Reece Tacha, former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, has been dean since 2011. Andre Birotte, Jr., (JD ’91) recently became the third alumnus to join the federal bench in two years. The 14th Annual William Matthew Byrne, Jr., Judicial Clerkship Institute, the only school-hosted annual conference on the topic of federal judicial clerks, attracted 137 clerks, sixteen judges, and faculty from six law schools. The Honorable Samuel A. Alito, Jr., associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, delivered the keynote address at the annual Law Dinner last spring.