Labor and Employment Law

Ca. Labor & Emp't Rev. May 2015, Volume 29 No. 3

Message From the Chair

By Michael E. Whitaker Michael E. Whitaker is a Judge of the Superior Court in and for the County of Los Angeles. Michael received his B.A., with Distinction, in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and obtained his J.D. from the University of Oregon, where he served as a Managing Editor for the Oregon Law Review. He also served on the City of Culver City Civil Service Commission from 2006-2014.

In my last column, I talked about how adopting my dog Piper led to a journey of becoming more connected to my community. It led to me helping to establish a community organization, and then being appointed to a committee to review and revive the city charter, then being appointed to the city’s Civil Service Commission. In turn, that journey led me to where I am today.

As some of you may have noticed, my title no longer reads "Supervising Deputy Attorney General," it now reads "Judge of the Superior Court." Indeed, I am pleased to say that I am one of Los Angeles County’s newest judges. I have been assigned to family law, and believe me, there is a sharp learning curve. How did that happen? Well, that goes back to Piper, too. Or, at least, how Piper connected me to community and community connected me to service and leadership.

As a Civil Service Commissioner, I held evidentiary hearings of civil service appeals. For the first time, I was in a neutral and quasi-judicial role. In that role, I was no longer acting as a Deputy Attorney General and I could not be just management-oriented. Rather, I had to hear both sides and keep an open mind to make the fair and right decision. I found that I liked this. One thing led to another, I put my hat in the ring and, 8 years later, I was appointed to the bench.

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