Volume 10: Judge Victoria Kolakowski, Superior Court Judge of California for Alameda County

Judge Victoria Kolakowski became the first and only openly transgender trial judge in the United States when she was elected to the Alameda County Superior Court in November 2010.  

As a judge, she has served in both civil and criminal trial assignments. She recently completed a year as the Supervising Judge of the Collaborative Courts, with subject matter oversight over all of the treatment courts (drug, behavioral health, veterans’, etc.) in Alameda County.

Judge Kolakowski is also passionate about ensuring and expanding access to justice, particularly for those with limited resources.  She serves on the Judicial Council of California’s Advisory Committee on Providing Access and Fairness, and is the California Council of Churches' appointee to the California Commission on Access to Justice.

She has been a leader in educating the judiciary on transgender issues.

She is also a frequent speaker on LGBT issues, internationally, nationally and locally. For example, Judge Kolakowski conducted a series of four videoconferences in June, 2017 with LGBT and allied civil rights leaders hosted at U.S. consulates in India - at the request of the U.S. Dept. of State.

Judge Kolakowski is a former President of the International Association of LGBT Judges, and of the Earl Warren American Inn of Court chapter in Alameda County.

Judge Kolakowski was an attorney for twenty-one years in Louisiana and California, serving as a sole practitioner, attorney in a small firm, as general counsel for a publicly traded company, as a senior government utility regulatory attorney, and as an administrative law judge for two different California agencies.

Since coming out publicly in 1989, she has been a leader in numerous local, state and national LGBT legal, political and spiritual organizations. Her many accomplishments include co-authoring Berkeley, California's domestic partner public registration ordinance in 1991 and co-chairing the board of directors of the Transgender Law Center, an organization focused on the well-being and protection of transgender individuals.

She has received numerous awards, including the Pioneer in the Law Award from California Women Lawyers in 2014 and the Distinguished Service Award from the Alameda County Bar Association in 2015. She was a community grand marshal for San Francisco Pride in 2011, and marched with BALIF, the local LGBT Bar Association.

Judge Kolakowski is being honored by the California State Assembly in March as the 2019 Woman of the Year for the 18th Assembly District. 

She lives in Oakland with her wife Cynthia Laird, their Pembroke Welsh Corgi Darby, and cat Espresso.

With Hosts: 
Summer C. Selleck
Ariel B. Lee

Sound Editing and Recording: Gilbert Leung

Music: Jonathan M. C. Jordan

Recording At: Alameda County District Attorney Office
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