Hon. Maria Rivera (Ret.) joins ADR Services, Inc. after spending over two decades on the Courts, where she earned a reputation for being a highly accomplished, intelligent, and fair jurist.
Justice Rivera attended law school as a scholarship student, and spent her summers in work-study programs at the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation (now Bay Area Legal Aid). She also completed an externship with California Supreme Court Justice Raymond Sullivan. After graduating first in her class, she went on to work at Morrison & Foerster for three years to develop commercial litigation experience. Thereafter, she worked in the Consumer Fraud Division of the District Attorney’s office and in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco before returning to private practice. Ultimately, she became a partner, and later of counsel at McCutchen Doyle Brown & Enersen.
Inspired by her dedication to community service and commitment to improving access to justice, Justice Rivera ran for and was elected to an open seat on the Contra Costa County Superior Court in 1996. As a Judge, Justice Rivera held assignments in the General Trial Department, Family Law, and the Civil Fast Track Division, where she adjudicated hundreds of matters in law and motion, presented by demurrer, motions to dismiss, motions to strike, Anti-SLAPP motions, and scores of motions for summary judgment and summary adjudication. She was appointed to the California Court of Appeal in 2002.
As a recipient of numerous awards and accolades commemorating her staunch dedication and commitment to improving access to justice for all, Justice Rivera has been recognized throughout her legal career for her unwavering support of legal services throughout California. In addition to her long-standing devotion to serving the community, Justice Rivera enjoys a reputation for having a strong legal mind and for actively settling her cases as a trial judge. She is known to be a fair jurist who is well-versed in the law and has an exceptional depth and breadth of legal expertise.
CALIFORNIA COURT OF APPEAL, San Francisco, CA
Associate Justice, First Appellate District, Division Four, 2002-2018
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Martinez, CA
Judge of the Superior Court, 1996-2002
UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO LAW SCHOOL, San Francisco, CA
J.D., magna cum laude, 1974
SMITH COLLEGE, Northampton, MA
B.A. with distinction, 1970
STRAUS INSTITUTE FOR DISPUTE RESOLUTION AT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY, Malibu, CA
Certificate of Completion, “Mediating the Litigated Case”, 2018
MCCUTCHEN DOYLE BROWN & ENERSEN (formerly Van Voorhis & Skaggs), Partner, Counsel, 1981-1996
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1979-1981
CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, Deputy District Attorney, 1978-1979
MORRISON & FOERSTER, Associate, 1974-1978
CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT, Extern to the Honorable Raymond Sullivan, Fall 1973
SAN FRANCISCO NEIGHBORHOOD LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOUNDATION, Law Clerk, 1972, 1973
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD, Judicial Council, 2015
JUDICIAL EXCELLENCE AWARD, East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association, 2013
TARA RIEDLEY BARRISTERS’ CHOICE AWARD, Bar Association of San Francisco, 2012
LEADERSHIP AWARD, California Latino Judges Association, 2012
BENJAMIN ARANDA III ACCESS TO JUSTICE AWARD, Judicial Council, California State Bar, 2011
ALUMNA OF THE YEAR, University of San Francisco Law School, 2010
DISTINGUISHED JUSTICE AWARD, San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association, 2002
TRIAL JUDGE OF THE YEAR, Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers’ Association, 2001
PRO BONO JUDGE OF THE YEAR, 1999