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Los Angeles County, CA June 5, 2012 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for James D. Otto

Candidate for
Judge of the Superior Court; County of Los Angeles; Office 78

This information is provided by the candidate

Curriculum Vitae of Superior Court Judge James D. Otto

Judge James D. Otto is a native of California. He graduated summa cum laude from San Diego State University in 1971, and obtained his J.D. from Northwestern University in 1974. In 2002 he was inducted as a "fellow" in the American College of Trial Lawyers.

After law school, Judge Otto returned to California and took an associate's position in 1974 at Cummins, White & Breidenbach. In July 1978, he became a partner in the firm that evolved into Cummins & White, LLP. His practice focused on complex litigation. He served as the firm's managing partner for approximately 15 years. He handled many large environmental, toxic tort and medical device insurance disputes. He also represented lawyers and law firms in professional liability suits over the years. In 2001 he was a founding partner of the business and insurance litigation boutique firm of Altman, Otto & Kong, LLP.

Judge Otto was appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles on July 23, 2003 and was sworn in on August 22, 2003. He was re-elected in an uncontested election in 2006.


  • Supervising Judge of the South District of the California Superior Court, County of Los Angeles (2011-Present)
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles Superior Court (2009-2010).
  • Assistant Supervising Judge of the South District of LASC (2010).
  • Vice Chair of the Trial Jurors Committee of LASC (2006-2010).
  • Member of the CCMS Operational Advisory Committee (2010-Present)
  • Member California Judges Association (2003-Present).
  • Vice Chair LASC Technology Committee (2007-Present);
  • Member of the LASC Rules Committee (Standing) (2005- 2007);
  • Member Criminal Justice Center Experts Committee (2004 to 2007);
  • Member Criminal Justice Center Judicial Education Committee (2004);
  • Member Criminal Justice Center Rules Committee (2004);
  • Member Criminal Justice Center Trial Court Facilities- Central District Committee (2004);
  • Member Criminal Justice Center Alternative Sentencing Committee (2011-Present)
  • Member Criminal Justice Sub-Committee on Criminal Education Curriculum (2005-2006);
  • Member of the Judicial Council of California Court Technology Advisory Committee ("CTAC") (2004- Present).
  • Instructor LASC Judicial Education Seminars ("JES")- ("Criminal Jury Issues") (2007)
  • Judicial coordinator of California State University Long Beach Court extern program (2009-Present)

  • Vice President State Bar of California (2000 + 2001)
  • Member of the Board of Governors, State Bar of California (1998-2001)
  • Chair State Bar Committee on Regulation and Discipline ("CORD") (2000-2001)
  • Member Joint Task Force of the Judicial Council and The State Bar of California on Assembly Bill 2069 (conflicts between insurers and insurance defense counsel);
  • Co-Chair State Bar Committee on Communications and Member Relations (1999-2000)
  • Chair State Bar Chief Trial Counsel Search Committee (2000-20001)
  • Member State Bar Executive Director Search Committee (1999-2000)
  • State Bar of California members Liaison to Board of Governors (1998-2000)
  • Member State Bar Committee on Administration and Finance (1998-2000)
  • Member State Bar Committee on Communications, Legislation and Public Policy (1998-1999)
  • Member State Bar Legal Committee (1999-2000)
  • Member State Bar Technology Subcommittee (1999-2000)
  • Member State Bar Labor Relations Subcommittee (1999-2000)
  • Member State Bar Business Law and Litigation Sections
  • Member State Bar's Business Law Section Task Force on Complex Litigation (1992-2000)
  • Trustee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association ("LACBA") (1991-1993)
  • Chair LACBA Lawyers Errors & Omissions Prevention Committee (1990-1992)
  • Member LACBA Lawyers Errors & Omissions Prevent Committee (1988-2003)
  • Chair LACBA Continuing Education Planning Committee (1992-1994)
  • Member of the Technology Working Group for the Judicial Council Task Force on Court Facilities (1998-2000)
  • Chair of the LACBA Litigation Section Courts Committee (1996-1999)
  • Special projects member of the LACBA Litigation Section Executive Committee (1996-2003)
  • Lawyer and Judicial member of LACBA Litigation Section Executive Committee (2003-2006)
  • Lawyer and Judicial member Bench Bar Committee Los Angeles Superior Court (1998-2009)
  • Member Los Angeles Superior Court AB3820 Committee (2000-2001)
  • Member of the Board of Directors Center for Civic Education (2000-2011) and member of the Board's Executive Committee (2007-2011).
  • Member the Joseph A. Ball/ Clarence S. Hunt Inn of Court (2011-Present).
  • Moot Court Judge for the National Collegiate Regional Moot Court Competition at CSULB (2009, 2010, and 2011) and Collegiate Moot Court National Finals (2012).

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 11, 2012 12:30
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