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Armendariz named to bar court

Lucy Armendariz, a former chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero with extensive Sacramento experience, was sworn in as a State Bar Court hearing judge last month. Armendariz, 36, was appointed to the bar bench by the Senate Committee on Rules.

Judge Lucy Armendariz

A Democrat from Los Angeles, Armendariz is a graduate of UCLA, where she received degrees in sociology and economics, and Hastings College of Law, where she earned her law degree in 1997.

Armendariz said she became interested in bar issues while working for the legislature. Among others, Romero authored bills that address the unauthorized practice of law. “I started learning about the court that protects the public,” she said.

Armendariz decided to apply for the judgeship because she felt the court’s public protection responsibility dovetails with her public service career and would allow her “to continue to serve the state of California.”

When she was 10, Armendariz’ parents were deemed unfit and she was placed in the state’s foster care system. She “bounced around quite a bit” at first, but stayed in the same home for her high school years and was accepted at UCLA. After finishing law school, she worked for a year at Heller Ehrman before heading to Sacramento to serve as legal counsel for then-Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa. She then was appointed by Gov. Gray Davis as ombudsman for the state’s women’s prisons, although she also dealt with inmates of men’s prisons.

It was good preparation for the bench, she said, because she “had to listen to all sides of a story. I had to be a good listener, a critical thinker and figure out how to get to the heart of an issue.” After three years, she returned to the legislature as counsel to the Assembly public safety committee before joining Romero’s staff.

A single mother of a 7-year-old daughter, Armendariz will sit in the court in San Francisco. She replaces Judge Joann Remke, who last year was elevated to the review department, where she is presiding judge.

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