Rose Bird

The Rose Bird Memorial Award was established in 2000 in honor of the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Rose Bird. Chief Justice Bird was one of the pioneers who founded CWL in 1974. She was a teacher and the first woman to serve in the California cabinet (Secretary of Agriculture). Justice Bird stood strong for her convictions and continued to champion the underdog throughout her career. After leaving her position as Chief Justice, Rose Bird volunteered for the East Palo Alto Community Law Project. She passed away on December 4, 1999 after a long battle with breast cancer.

Candidates for the award are judged on the basis of the following attributes which were characteristic of Rose Bird:

  • Excellence as a jurist;
  • Longstanding and/or groundbreaking public service;
  • Inspiration to women lawyers in California; and
  • From the northern portion of California.

Visit the CWL Awards page for nomination submission criteria.

The Rose Bird Memorial Award is presented annually at CWL's Northern California Judicial Reception which is held in the Honoree’s home town, and organized with the help of the local Affiliate organization.

Past Recipients:

  • 2023: Hon. Erica Yew, Santa Clara Superior Court
  • 2022: Hon. Lucy Koh, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • 2020: Hon. Anita Santos (Ret.)
  • 2019: Hon. Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the State of California
  • 2018: Hon. Claudia A. Wilken, United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • 2017: Hon. Carol S. Brosnahan (Ret.)
  • 2016: Hon. Elizabeth K. Lee, San Mateo County Superior Court
  • 2015: Hon. Clare Maier, Contra Costa Superior Court
  • 2014: Hon. Rebecca Wiseman (Ret.)
  • 2013: Hon. Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian, California Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District
  • 2012: Hon. Diana Becton, Contra Costa County Superior Court
  • 2011: Hon. Isabella Horton Grant (Dec.)
  • 2010: Hon. Ramona Garrett (Ret.)
  • 2009: Hon. Peggy Fulton Hora (Dec.)
  • 2008: Hon. Emily E. Vasquez (Ret.)
  • 2007: Hon. Brenda Harbin-Forte (Ret.)
  • 2006: Hon. Judith Ford (Ret.)
  • 2005: Hon. Alice Lytle (Dec.)
  • 2004: Hon. LaDoris Cordell (Ret.)
  • 2003: Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • 2002: Hon. Jacqueline Taber (Ret.)
  • 2001: Hon. Joyce Luther Kennard (Ret.)