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Feb 10, 2021

A Look Back at the Career of the Honorable (Retired) Judge Patricia Cowett

Published in the Lawyers Club of San Diego, January 2021 Newsletter]

2021 marks 30 years since the Honorable (Retired) Judge Patricia Cowett was elected by her colleagues to be the San Diego Municipal Court’s Presiding Judge in 1991. Judge Cowett was the second woman to serve in this position, following the Honorable Madge Bradley, the first. Judge Cowett particularly appreciates that while she was Presiding Judge, “all three San Diego courts were run by women: Hon. Judith Keep was Chief Judge of the Federal Court, Hon. Judith McConnell was Presiding Judge of the Superior Court,” considering also her presiding role at the Municipal Court. Fast-forward to 2020, Judge Cowett notes “again the Superior Court is headed by a woman, Presiding Judge Lorna Alksne, and again the functions of the court are running smoothly even in these unique times. We all should be so proud.”

During her tenure as Presiding Judge, Cowett efficiently managed the Municipal Court’s sizable caseload, ensuring all judges were able to handle their cases and even enabling municipal court judges to assist the Superior Court judges with their caseloads. In addition, Cowett facilitated plans for the specialized domestic violence court, bringing together all stakeholders to collaborate. She also made it a goal to equitably assign cases to the trial judges and made several gender-neutral bench committee appointments while also working to increase interest among women lawyers in the court’s civil ADR list.

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