Maria P. Rivera ’74, 2011 Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award-winner and 2010 USF Law School alumna of the year.
Court of Appeals Justice Maria P. Rivera ’74 is the 2011 Benjamin Aranda III Access
to Justice Award-winner.
Aranda Award honors a California trial judge or appellate justice whose
activities demonstrate a long-term commitment to improving access to the
judicial system. Rivera, a justice of the First District Court of Appeal in San
Francisco, was recognized for her efforts to encourage attorneys to serve as
pro bono counsels for indigents, to create programs that help individuals who
cannot obtain counsel, and to cooperate with local bar associations to develop
legal aid programs.
those who have had the opportunity to work with Justice Rivera know the passion
and intensity she brings to this work, and the effectiveness with which she
brings ideas to fulfillment,” said 2010 Aranda Award recipient Justice Laurie
D. Zelon in a jointly released statement with San Francisco attorney Richard W.
Odgers earlier this year.
a great justice who works tirelessly for the common good, which she would far
prefer to celebrate than any individual honor she might achieve,” Jeffrey Brand,
University of San Francisco School of Law dean, said of Rivera.
Rivera left private practice and served for three years as a deputy district
attorney in San Francisco and later as an assistant U.S. attorney. She returned
to private practice in 1981, where she assisted indigent clients through her
work with the state bar and the community. Rivera was elected to the Contra
Costa County Superior Court in 1996 and was appointed to her current position
by Gov. Gray Davis in 2002.
School of Law Alumna of the Year in 2010, Rivera has served on the State Bar of
California Legal Services Trust Fund Commission, chairing its partnership
grants committee. Since 2006, she has served as a member of the Judicial
Council’s Access and Fairness Advisory Committee. From 2003 to 2010, she served
on the Advisory Board of the Legal Services Coordinating Committee. Rivera
served on numerous other legal boards and committees, in addition. She is a
mentor with the Judicial Mentorship Program for the Bar Association of San
Francisco, the Alameda County Bar Association, and the Diversity Section of the
Contra Costa Bar Association.
the winner of many awards, including the Trial Judge of the Year award from the
Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association in 2001 and the Pro Bono Judge
of the Year award from the Contra Costa County Bar Association in 1999.