Magistrate Judges Maria-Elena James and Howard R. Lloyd to Retire in 2018

Two of the Northern District's long-serving magistrate judges have informed Chief Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton that they will be leaving the bench in 2018. Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James, who has served in the San Francisco Division since 1994, will retire in September. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd, who has served in the San Jose Division since 2002, will retire in June. 

After graduating from the University of San Francisco Law School in 1978, Judge James served as director of the Small Claims Court Education Project in the Consumer Fraud Unit of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. Later, she served as a deputy public defender in San Francisco, staff attorney for the National Labor Relations Board, and a supervising attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. Judge James first took the bench in state court, serving as a Commissioner in the San Francisco Superior Court presiding over discovery and family law proceedings for six years before being appointed as a United States Magistrate Judge.

Judge James served as the Northern District’s Chief Magistrate Judge from 2009-2012, received the  “Federal Jurist of the Year” award in 2010 from the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, and currently serves as the Northern District’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Magistrate Judge. Judge James also teaches at three Bay Area law schools, volunteers as a mock trial judge for all grades of students and serves as a mentor to law students.

Reflecting on her years of service at the Court, Judge James observes: 

Over twenty years ago, I was chosen by this Court and given the honor to serve our community as a magistrate judge. During that time, I have had the privilege of working with so many colleagues who care deeply about the law, their role in shaping and upholding it, and the impact of their decisions on the lives of the public. Their dedication is reflected in the long hours they work, the considerable personal sacrifices they make to perform their duties, and the deep engagement they have with the legal community and community at large. They have been the most dedicated, hard-working, and incisive minds one could ever hope to learn from. I also learned from every litigant and attorney who appeared before me. I cannot thank the judges and staff of the Northern District enough for the opportunity to have served with you. 

Magistrate Judge Lloyd graduated from the College of William and Mary, served in the military, and then earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. For the next 30 years he worked as a trial and appellate lawyer for a large San Jose law firm. He first-chaired about 50 trials, mostly in the areas of employment, civil rights, contract, and intellectual property. As his firm’s appellate specialist, he wrote about 100 appeals, argued frequently at the California Courts of Appeal, and appeared three times before the California Supreme Court. After leaving the firm, he worked for two years as an independent alternative dispute resolution provider.

While in private practice, Judge Lloyd served as an Early Neutral Evaluator with this Court, a mediator with the California Court of Appeals, and a Settlement Judge Pro Tem with the Santa Clara County Superior Court. 

Judge Lloyd has served on the Ninth Circuit Committee on Magistrate Judges' Education and guided the development of the Legal Help Center for pro se litigants at the San Jose Courthouse from 2010 to the present. For many years he also taught a seminar at Santa Clara University Law School.

Regarding these judicial transitions, Chief Judge Hamilton notes: “Magistrate Judges James and Lloyd have served the Northern District with great distinction for many years. Not only have they handled each of their many civil and criminal cases with consummate skill, they have generously shared their talents to build and strengthen the Court’s adjunct programs such as alternative dispute resolution and the legal help centers for pro se litigants. We will miss these outstanding magistrate judges and wish them success in their future endeavors.”

The Court is accepting applications for these two magistrate judgeships in the month of August. View the vacancy notice for details.