John Lawrence is scheduled to be sworn in as the next Siskiyou County Superior Court Judge Monday, Jan. 7, after being elected to the position in June, 2018, to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Judge Laura Masunaga.
Lawrence currently serves as Siskiyou County Court Commissioner, a position he has held for 17 months. Prior to that, Lawrence was an attorney in good standing with the California State Bar for nearly 22 years, according to a press release from the Siskiyou County Superior Court.
Lawrence served as president of the Siskiyou County Bar Association from 2008 to 2017 and was instrumental in assisting the Karuk Tribe in developing its Tribal Court, the press release states.
From July 2010 until 2017, Lawrence served as Siskiyou County’s Criminal Conflict Panel Administrator, managing the assignment of attorneys to cases the Public Defender cannot accept.
Lawrence worked in the Law Office of Michael D. Thamer before starting his own private practice in 1995. His practice area covered a broad range – criminal defense, civil litigation, juvenile law, conservatorships, guardianships, and family law.
Lawrence frequently teaches classes to attorneys, enabling them to earn credits toward their Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements. In December 2015 he gave a presentation titled “Ethical Obligations of Counsel for Parents and Children in Dependency Cases” at “Beyond the Bench,” a statewide conference sponsored by the Judicial Council of California.
Lawrence earned degrees from College of the Siskiyous and Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University) before attending the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, earning a Juris Doctorate in 1994, according to the release. He served as the editor of the West Wind Review, a literary journal, while at Southern Oregon State College.
After graduating from college, Lawrence taught English part-time for College of the Siskiyous. In law school, he was elected to be the school representative to the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association, and the following year he was elected to sit on the Board of Governors for the American Bar Association Law School Division. For about four years, both during law school and after becoming an attorney, he worked for LexisNexis Group, teaching law students and attorneys how to do computerized legal research.