Ramona See ’85: Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court. Certifiably Adventurous: See is an avid scuba diver and skier, who has completed more than 2,000 dives across the globe and plans to next ski the legendary slopes in Verbier, Switzerland. Big 10 Back Then: She earned a BA in international relations and political science from the University of Michigan and remains a diehard Wolverines football fan.
The currents were strong in the Maldives last year. And that was just fine with the Honorable Ramona See ’85, whose passion for scuba diving has taken her to Indonesia, Italy, Switzerland, and New Zealand, to name just a few of the destinations she and her husband, a fellow lawyer and fellow certified dive instructor, have navigated. In fact, diving in Bermuda was the unlikely catalyst that landed See at BC Law.
“I was working as a dive instructor at a hotel in Bermuda and just by coincidence, a guy from Boston walked in. I told him I was looking at BU and BC for law school and he said, ‘You’ve got to go BC,’” recalls See. “I took his advice and talked to some other people and what everyone told me was true: It was academically fulfilling, and I made friends I’m still close to today.”
After graduating, See clerked with the Honorable Dickran Tevrizian at the US District Court for the Central District of California. “It was a turning point in my career. Judge Tevrizian said, ‘You would be good as a judge,’” recalls See, who followed her clerkship with a decade in private practice, mostly in real estate and business litigation.
Then, Tevrizian circled back, intent that his protégé fulfill what he regarded as her destiny. “He said, ‘You have to strike while the iron is hot.’ I finally applied and was quickly appointed.”
In California, where See has served on the bench since 1997, judges are elected to six-year terms, but most superior court judges are first appointed by the governor to fill vacancies. See was initially appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court and then, in 2000, moved to the Los Angeles Superior Court; she has been re-elected to serve in unopposed races ever since.
In addition to her responsibilities as a judge, See’s priorities are service, mentorship, and teaching. She has held leadership positions with the California Judges Association, the American Bar Association, the California Center for Judicial Education and Research, and the National Conference of State Trial Judges, among other organizations.
As a member of the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative, she has traveled the globe, including to a meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia, that included leaders of the country’s bar and bench. “It’s very segregated there—judges don’t talk to lawyers. I was thrilled that my visit brought these groups together in one room,” she explains.
See is particularly committed to advancing people of color in the profession and spent six years as chair of the ABA’s Judicial Clerkship Program, which introduces law students from diverse backgrounds to judges and law clerks.
“I’ve always striven to hire externs of color and females,” See says. “This is not a clerkship or externship where you sit around and watch the court. When someone clerks or externs for me, they learn a great deal about research, writing, and arguing. I’m here to help advance their careers, just as mentors along the way helped me advance.”
In other words, See expects those who work with her to share her passion for diving right in.