Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

Justice O'Connor to Speak at Tribute Dinner Saluting Southwestern Alumni on the Bench February 14, 2012
Justice O'Connor to Speak at Tribute Dinner Saluting Southwestern Alumni on the Bench

To honor the hundreds of distinguished alumni of Southwestern who have served in the judiciary throughout the U.S. and around the world during the law school's first century, members of the bench and bar will gather for the Judges Tribute Dinner on Friday, February 24, 2012.

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'ConnorFormer Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be the special guest speaker at the event, which will be held at The Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The dinner is part of the law school's continuing Centennial Celebration.

In a letter to Dean Garth, Governor Jerry Brown said, "Having appointed many of California's first female and minority jurists during my prior terms as governor, including 55 prominent alumni of Southwestern, I extend my sincerest congratulations to the law school on the occasion of its Centennial and the Judges Tribute event. It was my pleasure to appoint distinguished Southwestern graduates, many of whom have been recognized as judicial trailblazers. Over the decades, hundreds of Southwestern graduates have gone on to leadership positions in the local, state and national judiciary, and I join in saluting these dedicated public servants."

The Hon. Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California, also remarked on Southwestern's contributions to the judiciary: "A century ago Southwestern Law School opened its doors to all qualified applicants at a time when women and minorities were essentially locked out of the legal profession. The wisdom of the institution's early commitment to fairness and diversity can be found in its extraordinary list of alumni and in the ideals of the talented men and women it graduates each year. The judiciary especially has been a beneficiary of Southwestern's policies."

During Southwestern's first century, the law school produced well over 400 distinguished members of the bench. Among the first graduates was B. Rey Schauer '16, who went on to serve on the California Supreme Court, setting the path to be followed by other Southwestern alumni such as Justice Stanley Mosk '35, the longest serving justice in the Court's history, and Justice Paul Peek '30, who also served as California Secretary of State and Speaker of the Assembly. In the many decades since, Southwestern alumni have continued that tradition of leadership in the courts. Among them are many notable trailblazers such as Judge Ronald Lew '71, the first Chinese American district court judge in continental United States; Justice Arleigh Woods '53, the first female African-American appellate court justice; Justice Vaino Spencer '52, the first female African-American judge in California; and Judge Frances Muñoz '71, first Latina trial judge in the United States.

Brian Panish '84, of Panish Shea & Boyle, is serving as Chair of the Judges Tribute Dinner Committee and Master of Ceremonies for the event. Click here for a list of event sponsors.

Ticket prices are $250 for general admission; $200 for nonprofit and government employees; $175 for Southwestern Nickel Club members; and $150 for law students. The reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7:30 p.m. at The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. For more information or to purchase tables or individual tickets, visit