Hon. Amy M. Pellman (Ret.)

Signature Resolution

Hon. Amy M. Pellman (Ret.) is a highly regarded retired judge, renowned for her unwavering commitment to family law and children’s rights. Her legal career has been marked by groundbreaking advocacy, public service, and a relentless pursuit of fairness. Now, as a mediator and private judge, Judge Pellman proudly joins Signature Resolution, drawn to its reputation for attracting top family law judges and fostering a sense of community. ​

As a mediator, Judge Pellman’s preferred approach involves meeting with lawyers and clients, active listening, and strategic interventions to overcome roadblocks. With a keen focus on helping individuals find resolutions, she brings her wealth of experience and deep empathy to guide parties toward mutually agreeable solutions. ​

In addition to her extensive work and dedication to family law, Judge Pellman has a passion for human rights. Her interest was ignited during a college summer internship at Amnesty International. She discovered that a fellow Mount Holyoke College alumna, along with her two-year-old son, were missing in Guatemala. At that time, people were being abducted and “disappeared” if they were viewed as a threat to the government. Judge Pellman initiated a school wide campaign to draw attention to this crisis. Tragically, neither the alumna nor her son were ever found. Judge Pellman’s commitment to working for human rights further developed by her decision to attend City University of New York Law School, a law school dedicated to training lawyers to work in public interest and service. In law school, Judge Pellman gained an interest in mediation and helped develop the first community mediation program for separating gay and lesbian couples in the country. After graduation, she worked for Governor Mario Cuomo, helping to settle disputes between community groups and the State of New York as the mediator/ombudsperson for the borough of Manhattan. ​​

From there, Judge Pellman completed a clerkship with the United States Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit. Inspired to contribute in some way as the AIDS epidemic exploded, Judge Pellman joined the Law Offices of Mark Scherzer. The firm was at the forefront of groundbreaking litigation on behalf of people with HIV/AIDS who were being denied insurance claims. ​

In 1992, Judge Pellman relocated to California and after a brief stint with the private civil firm, Hedges & Caldwell, she discovered a way to continue her passion for helping children by working with Dependency Court Legal Services (now known as Children’s Law Center). Within her first year, she authored, the manual “The ABC’s of Dependency Court.” This manual is annually updated and has been used during the past thirty years to train new judges and lawyers. ​

Judge Pellman joined The Alliance for Children’s Rights in 2000 and served as their legal director until 2005. While holding this position, she was credited with founding National Adoption Day. Started in Los Angeles, Adoption Day brought together many of Los Angeles’ major law firms who gave their pro bono time to assist in finalizing adoptions for children in foster care. Judge Pellman sought to bring attention to the plight of foster children nationwide who needed permanent homes. National Adoption Day continues to be a day of awareness and provide hope nationwide. ​​

Recognized as a national advocate for children, Judge Pellman received the highly coveted Child Advocacy Law Award in 2003 from the American Bar Association, a national award that recognizes outstanding work and achievement on behalf of children. Elected to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2005 as commissioner and then appointed judge three years later, Judge Pellman’s career reached new heights. Her tenure is marked by a commitment to family law. ​​

Recognized for her compassion, high expectations during trials, and intellectual rigor, Judge Pellman has presided over cases that delve into the intersection of family and societal issues. Judge Pellman has spent most of her years on the bench in family law with a brief stint in Children’s Court. After she returned to family law, she was sought out for leadership, serving as the Assistant and then Supervising Judge of the Family Law Division. Judge Pellman was the only judge in Los Angeles to preside over surrogacy cases for the past ten years and is a leading expert in the field. ​

​Throughout her career, Judge Pellman has been honored with numerous awards for her dedication to children and families. These accolades include the Judge of the Year from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Judge of the Year from Southwestern Law School, and the Outstanding Community Service Award from Levitt and Quinn Family Law Center. In 2020, she was named Family Law Judge of the Year by the American Inns of Court, Southern California chapter, and more recently, in 2022, she was honored by the Armenian Bar Association as a Judge of the Year.

Judge Pellman’s impact extends beyond the courtroom. She has published in several journals including law review articles related to children and families. For over twenty years, she has taught classes at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and Southwestern Law School, and in 2005, she was awarded the Southwestern Law School Adjunct Excellence in Teaching Award.

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