Judith Soley

Judith Soley was a lifelong member of California Women Lawyers and Fresno County Women Lawyers, and was a board member of both organizations. She served as the first woman president of the Fresno County Bar Association. She was a member of the Conference of Delegates, Chairperson of the Fresno Attorney Referral Service, a member of, and chaired committees for the State Bar, California Trial Lawyer’s Association, and Fresno County Barristers. She was a member of the Federal Judicial Selection Commission, and the 9th Circuit Federal Nominating Commission. She was an instructor and a member of the advisory board of the Hastings College of Advocacy. She also served as Judge Pro Tempore for Fresno County Superior Court. Governor Brown appointed her to the California Transportation Commission, where she was elected chair. Judith led and volunteered for a host of other Fresno organizations. She was a member of Fresno Rotary, National Women’s Political Caucus, and the Fresno Academy. As a result of a birth injury, Judith was wheelchair bound. Judith and a client were gunned down at a Bass Lake restaurant by the client’s husband during a break in divorce proceedings.

The Soley Award is presented at the CWL Annual Conference to a worthy recipient who has made a significant contribution to her community, extending beyond the practice of law, to devote time and effort to the public good and values through the tradition of public service and involvement, and who exemplifies the values and missions of California Women Lawyers.


Candidates for the award are judged on the basis of the following attributes which were characteristic of Judith Soley:

  • Possesses a demonstrated commitment and passion regarding civic and charitable engagement;
  • Embodies the elements of being an excellent, civil and honorable lawyer;
  • Values compassion and empathy along with advocacy when addressing clients individual needs;
  • Works to improve the legal system through education and involvement in bar associations;
  • Participates in the public life of his or her community, state and nation;
  • Is a leader, a role model and mentor; and
  • Demonstrates a commitment to the missions of California Women Lawyers.

Visit the CWL Awards page for nomination submission criteria.

Past Recipients:

  • 2023: Mayor Ashleigh Aiken, The City of Anaheim
  • 2022: Congresswoman Jackie Speier, U.S. Representative
  • 2020: Laura Brill, Kendall Brill Kelly
  • 2019: Eileen Decker, Los Angeles Police Commission
  • 2018: Pearl Gondrella Mann, Law Offices of Pearl Gondrella Mann
  • 2017: Tracy Skaddan, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest
  • 2016: Pauline A. Weaver, Law Offices of Pauline A. Weaver
  • 2013: Mary-Christine “M.C.” Sungaila, Haynes and Boone, LLP