Lise Pearlman

Lise Pearlman


Lise Pearlman was an undergraduate at Yale University in its first class including women when the headline murder trial of Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale took place in New Haven.

She moved to the Bay Area in 1971 for law school at U. C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall and has spent most of her adult life in Oakland where the 1968 murder trial of Huey Newton took place. By the time of her arrival, Newton was facing his third trial for the death of Officer John Frey.

Pearlman later clerked for California Chief Justice Donald Wright and taught for a year at Stanford Law School before a 13-year career in Oakland as a civil litigator. In 1984 she won recognition as the first woman managing partner of an established California law firm. In 1989, the California Supreme Court selected Pearlman as the first Presiding Judge of its new State Bar Court. Since 1995, she has been a private arbitrator and mediator with Alternative Resolution Centers (

Pearlman has previously co-produced two films by videographer Abby Ginzberg on pioneering minority women judges. See additional biographical information at