Judge Jennifer Lee — Department 25

Biographical information:

  • Education: (Undergrad, grad, law school, degrees):
    • A. – California State University at Northridge- English/Creative Writing
    • D. Penn State University- Dickenson School of Law
  • Political affiliation:
    • Democrat

Judicial experience:

  • Pre‐bench civic and professional activities:
    • Volunteer- 826LA- A non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.
    • Volunteer- Project LEAD-Los Angeles County- Project LEAD is an effective law-related education program established by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in 1993. The 20-week curriculum teaches fifth grade students about the criminal justice system and the importance of making good decisions.
    • Volunteer- Special Olympics- Southern California- Fun in the Sun Chili Cookoff – Member of the L.A. County Sherriff’s, People’s Choice winner of annual cookoff in 2016 & 2017, raising funds for the Special Olympics.
  • Pre‐bench legal experience:
    • Centre County, Pennsylvania- Public Defender
    • Alameda County, California, Public Defender
    • Marin County, California Legal Aid- Staff Attorney
    • Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, California – Misdemeanor Division Prosecutor
    • Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, California – Deputy District Attorney for the Hardcore Gang Division Homicide, Complex Litigation, and cold cases.
    • Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, California – Deputy District Attorney Organized Crime Division
    • Apple Computer- Sunnyvale, California- Security Counsel.
  • Current civic and professional activities:
    • President of the Board of Directors for East Bay Children’s Law offices which protects and defends the rights of children and youth through holistic, vigorous legal advocacy. East Bay Children’s Law Offices strives to provide a voice for children in and out of the courtroom and to promote positive outcomes for them.
    • Member of Alameda Backyard Growers which is a network of gardeners who grow food and donate fruits and vegetables to the Alameda Food Bank.
    • Member of Contra Costa County BAR Association Pro Bono Committee- Section of the Contra Costa County BAR Association focused on identifying and filling legal oriented volunteer needs and services.
    • Alameda Boys and Girls Club
  • Important published decision(s):
    • In Re Emmanuel R (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 452– Resolved an “unsettled question under the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children (ICPC) (Fam. Code, § 7900 et seq.): Does the ICPC prevent a California court from ordering visitation between a dependent child and his non-custodial parent where a previous ICPC evaluation found the parent’s home unsuitable for placement?” Id at 455.  The Court determined that the ICPC does not preclude a short-term visit where the visit is in the best interest of the minor child.

Courtroom policies:

  • Written briefs and encouraged and should be submitted prior to hearings. If citing cases on matters that are not cut and dry or otherwise involve arguments outside of those normally made on an issue, provide a copy of the case cited, as Judge Lee prefers to review the actual case, not just select quotations.
  • Cite statues and case law accurately.
  • Parties and their counsel to observe proper courtroom civility, treat each other with respect, and not interrupt each other or the bench.
  • Parties are encouraged to take advantage of the mediation services when available. Parties who mediate more often than not reach a resolution which is livable to both parties and are happier with their court experience than when the Court issues a judgment.


  • Judge Lee appreciates and encourages legal arguments, not to be confused with arguing for the sake of arguing.
  • If you wish to raise the issue of chili styles with Commissioner Lee, be prepared with sources and citations to support your position.
  • Volunteer- It helps the community and is rewarding.  The California BAR suggests 50 hours of pro bono per year.  Volunteering does not need to be taking an entire case on, it can be a couple of hours here or there and does not need to be legal volunteering.  Local BAR associations can point those interested to all types of unfulfilled volunteer needs.