Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero
Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero is the 29th Chief Justice of California. She was sworn into office on January 2, 2023, making history as the first Latina to serve as California’s Chief Justice.
Chief Justice Guerrero was nominated to office by Governor Gavin Newsom in August 2022, unanimously confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments the same month, and overwhelmingly approved by voters in the November 2022 general election. The California State Bar Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission rated Chief Justice Guerrero as exceptionally well qualified for the position prior to her public confirmation hearing.
As Chief Justice she also chairs the Judicial Council of California, the administrative policymaking body of the state courts, and the Commission on Judicial Appointments.
Chief Justice Guerrero first joined the California Supreme Court as an associate justice in March 2022, making her the first Latina to serve on the state's high court.
Prior to being elevated to the California Supreme Court, Chief Justice Guerrero served as an associate justice at the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division One since December 2017, and in San Diego Superior Court from 2013 to 2017, where she served as Supervising Judge of the Family Law Division in 2017.
Prior to her appointment to the bench, Chief Justice Guerrero worked as an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP starting in 1997 and became an equity partner in 2006. She served as an assistant U.S. attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California from 2002 to 2003.
A native of the Imperial Valley raised by immigrant parents from Mexico, Chief Justice Guerrero began working in a grocery store at the age of 16 and graduated as co-valedictorian in high school. She continued working to help pay for her education while attending the University of California, Berkeley, where she was honored with an award given to the top two students in the Legal Studies major upon graduation in 1994. In 1997, she earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School and received an award for excellence in legal writing.
Chief Justice Guerrero has contributed many hours of pro bono work, including as a member of the Advisory Board of the Immigration Justice Project, to promote due process and access to justice at all levels of the immigration and appellate court system. She has assisted clients on a pro bono basis in immigration matters, including asylum applications and protecting vulnerable families by litigating compliance with fair housing laws. While a justice on the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Chief Justice Guerrero was chair of the State Bar’s Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of the Bar Exam and chair of the Judicial Council of California Advisory Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions. Chief Justice Guerrero has also been active in the “Judges in the Classroom” civics program.
In July 2022, Chief Justice Guerrero was elected to the American Law Institute, an independent national organization that produces scholarly work to clarify, modernize and otherwise improve the law. Chief Justice Guerrero has also received the following awards:
Distinguished Jurist Award – American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (Jan. 2017)
Judicial Officer of the Year – San Diego Family Law Bar Association (November 2017)
Judge of the Year – San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association (September 2022)
Judicial Officer of the Year – American Board of Trial Advocates, San Bernardino/Riverside Chapter (October 2022)
Mary V. Orozco Abriendo Caminos (Opening Pathways) Award – Latina Lawyers Bar Association (October 2022)
Bernard E. Witkin award for Excellence in the Adjudication of the Law (October 2022)
Trailblazers in the Law – Asian Pacific American Bar Association (December 2022)