For over 30 years, Judge Joan Lewis has been committed to serving the legal community with compassion, deference, and toughness. During her 20-year judicial career as a Superior Court Judge, she spent five years in the Family Law Division and then presided over a Civil Independent Calendar for the last 15 years until her retirement. Throughout her time on the bench, she handled a multitude of settlement conferences in both the Civil and Family Law divisions. Prior to her appointment, Judge Lewis tried civil cases in private practice for 10 years, focused on representing health care professionals in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Judge Lewis has been consistently active in leadership positions on judicial committees, including serving on the court’s Executive Committee and as chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Committee. She has received numerous awards, including the Friend of the Community Award by the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association in recognition of her commitment to LGBTQ rights and, most recently, the Witkin Award for excellence in the practice of law and advancing access to justice.
Judge Lewis is well known for her thoughtful and fair command of the courtroom. A true people person, she is empathetic and compassionate while maintaining a position of neutrality. While there were many who did not want to see her leave the bench, it is a testament to her abilities and the amount of immense respect the legal community holds for her to see that she is being actively sought out as a neutral in the private sector.
All types of Medical Negligence
Catastrophic Personal Injury
Hobbies & Interests
In her spare time, Judge Lewis enjoys theatre, travel, tennis, and overall physical fitness activities.
"Judge Lewis was efficient, practical, and persistent, including post-mediation communications with counsel to get the cases settled."
- Attorney on an Employment/Wage Hour Class Action
"Judge Lewis was excellent."
- Attorney on a Commercial Breach of Privacy case
"Judge Lewis boiled down the dispute to its essential elements, addressed those head-on, and pushed firmly for a realistic resolution. The different Zoom rooms worked effectively and we were able to communicate efficiently."
- Attorney on a Comerrical Employment Sexual Harassment matter
"Judge Lewis was extremely patient with this very difficult Family Law case, listened to my client, who needed to vent, and then miraculously resolved the case where the parties were millions of dollars apart. Both opposing counsel and I were in awe, as neither of us believed the case would settle. "
- Attorney on a Family Law case
"Focused on material liability issues and was patient to allow the process to unfold."
- Attorney on an Employment Disability Matter
"Judge Lewis is an excellent mediator. I like her style and approach. She worked very hard to get this difficult case settled. "
- Attorney on a Business/Contractual case
"Judge Lewis dealt with a few difficult and somewhat emotional issues with great skill and poise. I have mediated with her many times before and will continue."
- Attorney on a Personal Injury case
"Judge Lewis effectively managed some very strong, conflicting personalities. She worked nonstop, essentially mediating three disputes (P v. D1, P v. D2, and D1 v. D2) efficiently and effectively."
- Attorney on an Elder Abuse Matter
Judge, Superior Court of San Diego County (1998-2018); Family Law Division (1998-2003); Civil Independent Calendar Judge (2003-2018) Civil Independent Calendar, Assistant Supervising Judge
Attorney and Partner, handling civil matters with a focus on medical malpractice, Lewis-Brisbois (1990-1998)
Attorney, Ault Deuprey (1987-1990)
Education & Professional Affiliations
J.D., California Western School of Law (1984 -1987)
B.S., Arizona State University (1980)
San Diego Superior Court Executive Committee, Member
Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL), Judicial Advisory Board
California Judges Association (CJA), Executive Committee
Wallace Inns of Court, San Diego, CA, Master (2017-Present)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Committee, Chair
Achievements & Awards
Recipient, San Diego Defense Lawyers’ Bench and Bar Honoree (2019)
Recipient, Bernard E. Witkin, Esq. Award for Excellence in the Adjudication of Law (2017)
Recipient, Friend of the Community Award, Tom Homann LGBT Law Association (2014)
Co-Author with Heather Hanson, John Gross, Steven Garfin, M.D., “Legal Implications and Strategies for Managing Complications in Spinal Surgery,” Book Chapter: “Complications of Pediatric and Adult Surgery” (2004)