Dorothy Wright Nelson

Hon. Dorothy Wright Nelson
Firm: United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Address: The Richard H. Chambers Courthouse
125 South Grand Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone: (626) 229-7250
Fax: (626) 229-7462
Web site:

Position Bar Admissions Education
Honors Published Works Affiliations
Current Employment Position(s):
Senior Circuit Judge, since January 1, 1995

Appointed 1979 by President Carter
Bar Admissions:
California, 1993
U.S. Federal Court, 1993
University of Southern California Law Center, Los Angeles, California, 1956

University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, Los Angeles, California, 1953
Honors: Order of the Coif

University of California, Los Angeles, California, 1950

Published Works:
Adams Lib, 36 Oklahoma Law Review 375, 1973

The Role of the Trial Judge in Clinical Legal Education, 13 Judges Weekly Journal, 1974

The Criteria Applied by the A.B.A. Standing Committee, A.B.A. Conference on Selection of Federal Judges, Vanderbilt University School of Law, Nashville, 1976

Admission to the Federal Bar - The Work of the Devitt Committee, Association of Business Trial Law, 1977

Carter's Merit Plan: A Good First Step, 61 Judicature, 1977

Maintaining an Independent Judiciary (Paper Delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Judicial Attorneys of Cal. State Bar Convention), 54 State Bar Journal, No. 2, 1978

Why are Things Being Done This Way? 19 Judges Journal 12, Fall, 1980

Prefatory Remarks, (Symposium: Clinical Legal Education and the Legal Profession), 29 Cleveland State Law Review 363, 1980

The American Court System: Problems of Today, Prospects for Tomorrow, Court Management Journal 26, 1982

Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Supermart for Law Reform, 14 New Mexico Law Review 467, 1984

Justice - A Universal Responsibility, 19 Suffolk University Law Review 815, 1985

The Future of ADR: A Prospective Look From Three Viewpoints - Jurist, Educator, and Practitioner, 14 Pepperdine Law Review 769, 777-780, 1986

Judicial Administration and the Administration of Justice, West, 1985

Survey of Metropolitan Courts, Los Angeles Area, Holbrook, James G., University of Southern California, 1956

Women Lawyers Perspectives on Success (Dorothy W. Nelson, Senior Research Associate), Edited by Emily Couric, Harcourt, Brace, Javonovich, 1984

Chapter 12: As Federal Judge: Seeking Personal Balance and Public Service

Pre-Trial - An Effective Weapon of Advocacy, 4 University of California, Los Angeles Law Review 381, 1957

Should Los Angeles County Adopt a Single Trial Court Plan? 33 Southern California Law Review 117, 1960

Variation on a Theme - Selection and Tenure of Judges (Symposium on Judicial Administration), 36 Southern California Law Review 4, 1962

Judicial Reform: The Holbrook Report Revisited, 38 Los Angeles Bar Bulletin 383, 1963

Expediting Voir-Dire: An Empirical Study (Co-Author with Judge William H. Levit), 44 Souther California Law Review 961, 1971

High Court Orders Bakke Admission, Minority Enrollment Now Up to Schools, Los Angeles Daily Journal, No. 180, Sept. 11, 1978

The Role of the Law Schools in Post-Degree Education, 5 Tel Aviv University Studies in Law 31, 1980-1982

Myths in Education (with Dwight Allen), President Nixon's White House Conference on Children and Youth (a Paper), 1970

Conference on Trial and Appellate Court Reform (Editor of Materials), State Bar of California, 1972

Current Developments in Judicial Administration, Papers Presented at Plenary Session of the Association of American Law Schools, December 1977, (Dorothy W. Nelson, Chairman), 80 Federal Rules Decisions, 1978

Abolish the Blight of Plea Bargaining, Christian Science Monitor, op ed pages, Feb. 12, 1979

Professionalism, Society and the Law, Paper Delivered at World Congress on Law and Medicine, New Delhi, India, Feb. 23, 1985

Federal Ninth Circuit Civil Appellate Practice (Co-Author with Christopher A. Goeltz and Meredith A. Watts), The Rutter Group, 1995

Honors and Awards:
UCLA Law Alumnus of the Year, 1967

Time's Women of the Year, 1968

UCLA Professional Achievement Award, 1969

AWARE Int'l, 1970

Ernestine J. Stalhurst Award, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, 1972

University of Judaism Humanitarian Award (Torah Award), 1973

Pax Orbis ex Jure Medallion, World Peace Through Law Center, 1975

Lustman Fellow, Yale University, 1977

CORO Foundation Public Service Award for Education, 1978

Associate Fellow, Davenport College, Yale University, 1980 - Present

Alumni Merit Award, General Alumni Association, USC, 1980

LL.D. (Honoris Causa), Western State University College of Law, 1980

LL.D. (Honoris Causa), University of Southern California, 1983

LL.D. (Honoris Causa), Georgetown University Law School, 1988

LL.D. (Honoris Causa), Whitter College of Law, 1989

LL.D. (Honoris Causa), University of Santa Clara, 1990

U.C.L.A. Medal of Honor, 1993

LL.D. (Honorus Causa), University of San Diego, 1997

American Judicature Society Justice Award July 5, 1985

Emil Gumpert Judicial ADR Recognition Award from Los Angeles County Bar Association, 1996

Hollzer Memorial Award for Commitment to Social Justice and Humane Rights (Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles), 1988

Y.W.C.A. Pasadena, Julia Morgan Award, "Trail Blazing Architect for Racial Justice", 1997

Samuel E. Gates Litigation Award from American college of Trial Lawyers, 1999

Professional Associations and Memberships:
Judicial Conference Committee, 1976 - 1979
Considering Standards for Admission to Practice in the Federal Courts

World Association of Lawyers

American Bar Association, 1972 - 1977
Chairman, Committee on Education in Judicial Administration

American Bar Association, 1973
Member, Committee on Resolutions

American Bar Association, 1978 - 1981
Member, Consulting Panel on Advanced Judicial and Legal Education

American Bar Association
Member, Section on Judicial Administration

American Bar Association
Member, Section on Family Law

American Bar Association, 1978 - Present
Member, Task Force on Legal Education

American Bar Association
Member, Long Range Planning Council

Federal Bar Association

American Bar Foundation

American Law Institute

American Judicature Society, 1972 - Present
Board of Directors

American Judicature Society, 1976 - 1980
Board of Directors

American Judicature Society, 1974 - 1980
Member, Research Advisory Committee

American Judicature Society, 1974 - 1980
Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Judicature

American Judicature Society, 1974 - 1979
Vice President

American Judicature Society, 1976 - 1980
Member, Executive Committee

American Judicature Society, 1979 - 1980
Chairman of the Board

American Association of Law Schools, 1972
Member, Nominating Committee

American Association of Law Schools, 1972
Member, Program Committee

American Association of Law Schools, 1976 - 1979
Chairman, Committee on Education in Judicial Administration

National Association of Public Administration

California Bar Association, 1970 - 1974
Governing Board, California Continuing Education of the Bar

California Bar Association, 1972
Member, Committee on Legal Education, Court Reform

California Bar Association, 1978 - 1979
Member, Committee on Law Reform

Los Angeles County Bar Association, 1975 - 1980
Member, Committee on Economic Litigation

Los Angeles County Bar Association, 1976 - 1979
Member, Sub-committee on Community Mediation

Los Angeles County Bar Association, 1979
Member, Nominating Committee

Los Angeles Women Lawyers Association

Beverly Hills Bar Association

Constitutional Rights Foundation, 1971 - 1980
Board of Directors

Legal Education for Professional Responsibility, Inc., 1971 - 1979

Elizabeth Fry Center, 1973

California Council for the Humanities in Public Policy, 1975

Georgetown Univ. Law Center Institute of Criminal Law and Procedure, 1975 - 1976
Advisory Board, Nat'l Study on Plea Bargaining in the United States

Rockefeller Public Service Awards, Princeton University, 1976
Member, Selection Committee

United States Air Force Academy, 1976 - 1978
Board of Visitors, appointed by President Ford

Junior League of Los Angeles, 1976 - 1979
Member, Advisory Council

World Peace Through Law Center

Western Justice Center, 1988 - Present
Chairman/Board of Directors

Conference of California Judges Judicial Seminars, 1964

National Center for State Courts, 1971 - 1973
Member, Advisory Board

State Bar Conference on Trial and Appellate Court Reform, 1972
Executive Director

United Nations International Women's Conference, Mexico City, 1974

National Judicial Education Program to Promote Equality of Men & Women, 1986 - Present
Member, Advisory Committee

Institute for Study of Women & Men, 1986 - Present
Member, Board of Advisors

Mayor's Labor-Management Advisory Committee, 1974

Farmers Insurance Group, 1974 - 1980
Board of Directors

Mayor Tom Bradley's Ad Hoc Committee on City Finances, 1975 - 1976
Member, Subcommittee on City Expenditures

California Judicial Advisory Committee, 1976
Study of Unpublished Appellate Opinions

Aspen Institute Executive Seminar Program, 1977
Member, Hazon Fellow

Southern California Edison Company, 1977 - 1980
Board of Directors

National Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is of the United States
Chairman, 1982-1984

National Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is of the United States, 1984
Vice Chair

Supreme Court Historical Society

Studies in Dispute Resolution in Higher Education
Member, Advisory Committee

Judicial Process Task Force, California Council on Criminal Justice
Past Member

USC Inn of Court, 1985

USC Law Alumni Association

USC Legion Lex

UCLA Law Alumni Association

Los Angeles World Affairs Council

James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation, 1988 - 1990
Member, Board of Trustees, appointed by President Reagan

President's Commission on Pension Policy, 1979 - 1980
Member, appointed by President Carter

University of Chicago Law School, 1989 - 1990
Member, Visiting Committee

International Institute of Human Rights, , 1989

Sino-American Conference on Mediation and Arbitration, Beijing,, 1992

Seminar on Transition to a Global Society, , 1992

International Colloquium on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Islamabad, Pakistan, 1990

Pacific Oaks College, Children's School and Research Center, 1996 - 1998
Member, Board of Directors

World Law Institute, 1997 - Present
Member, Advisory Board

National Spiritual Assemply of Baha'is of the United States, 1967 - Present

Past Employment Positions:
University of Southern California Law Center, Dean, 1967 - 1980

University of Southern California Law Center, Professor, 1967 - 1989

University of Southern California Law Center, Interim Dean, 1967 - 1969

University of Southern California Law Center, Associate Professor, 1961 - 1967

University of Southern California Law Center, Assistant Professor, 1958 - 1961

University of Southern California Law Center, Instructor, 1957 - 1958

University of Southern California Law School, Research Associate Fellow, 1953 - 1956

Los Angeles, California, Private Practice, 1954 - 1957

University of Southern California Law Center, Adjunct Professor of Law

University of Southern California Law Center, Associate Dean, 1965 - 1967

Tax Law Review, Research Assistant to Editor, 1959 - 1960

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Judge

University of Southern California Law School, Faculty, 1957 - 1980

Phi Beta Kappa
Birth Information:
1928, San Pedro, California, United States of America

When viewing a listing, consider the state advertising restrictions to which lawyers and law firms must adhere, as well as our West Legal Directory disclaimers.