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Honorable Donna Ryu

United States Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu was appointed on March 1, 2010. Judge Ryu's appointment represents a number of "firsts" for the United States District Court, Northern District of California. She is the first Asian-American woman, first Korean American, and first lesbian to become a member of that bench.

Before joining the Court, she served as a Clinical Professor of Law at U.C. Hastings College of the Law and as Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic of Golden Gate University Law School. Her clinical courses included instruction on negotiation, mediation, and trial techniques, as well as employment and social security disability law. She also taught in the area of legal ethics. She began her legal career with McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen in San Francisco before joining an Oakland-based firm specializing in civil rights class actions. She later formed her own firm, Ryu, Dickey & Larkin.

She has been honored as a California Lawyer of the Year in Employment Law. She is also the recipient of the Asian American Bar Association’s Joe Morozumi Award for Exceptional Legal Advocacy, and the Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching. She co-designed and served on the faculty of a national training institute on class actions, and has written and lectured extensively in the areas of employment law, discovery, attorneys’ fees, class actions, and professionalism in lawyering.

Judge Ryu's now-adult daughter grew up crawling around conference rooms, sitting in courtroom galleries, gabbing with lawyers, and chatting up her mom's law students, all without apparent ill-effect.