Division One: ASSOCIATE JUSTICE HELEN I. BENDIX

Division Associate Justice Helen I. Bendix was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Court of Appeal, Second District, Division One, on April 17, 2018 after having served on the trial court for almost 21 years.  

Her judicial career began when Governor Pete Wilson appointed her to the Municipal Court in 1997 where she presided over a misdemeanor trial court.  She was elevated to the Superior Court in 2000, where she was assigned to a general jurisdiction civil trial court and then a settlement court.  As a Superior Court judge, she presided over constitutional, commercial and personal injury cases, including a constitutional challenge to public pension rights, employment, real estate, intellectual property and products liability cases.  Prior to her appointment as an appellate justice, she was the Supervising Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court settlement courts.  In that capacity, she settled over 1000 cases from the complex and general civil jurisdiction courts.

Her father died when she and her twin sister were babies, and her mother and grandmother supported them both from the wages her grandmother earned working as a department store clerk.  After graduating from an all girls high school, she attended Cornell University as a scholarship student. At Cornell she earned high academic honors including membership in Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year.  She earned her law degree from Yale Law School.

After law school, Justice Bendix clerked in Los Angeles for the Honorable Shirley Mount Hufstedler on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  She then moved with her husband to Washington, D.C. for eight years, where she worked on a wide variety of legal matters, including an administrative appeal before the United States Supreme Court, negotiating an agriculture treaty with an African country, obtaining refugee status for an employee of a South American embassy, and litigation on behalf of a subcontractor regarding construction of the major military hospital in the area.  She also started a program that provided free legal services to the elderly.  She returned to Los Angeles in 1985, and worked at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, and later as a partner in Heller, Ehrman, White, and McAuliffe. At these firms, she handled antitrust, securities, and corporate matters, and at Heller, Ehrman, headed the Los Angeles office’s committee to provide free legal services to those in need, and was active in other public service work.

Justice Bendix has taught in American University’s law school in Washington, D.C. (Japanese Law), UCLA (Public International Law, Japanese Law, Civil Procedure, and Remedies), and the Straus Institute at Pepperdine University (Mediation). She is the author of several articles on civil procedure, alternative dispute resolution, and international law.

Throughout her judicial career, Justice Bendix has been active in court committees involving access to justice, civil rulemaking, and alternative dispute resolution.  She taught courses to other judges on many topics including privacy law, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution.

Justice Bendix has also been active in bar association activities.  She was Chair of the California State Bar’s International Law Section in 1990-1991, and was a member of the Los Angeles Bar Association’s Board of Trustees in 1994-1997.  She served on several committees of that bar association regarding diversity, governance issues, and alternative dispute resolution. She is a member of the American Law Institute.

Her awards include the Southern California Mediation Association Peacemaker of the Year Award in 2002, and the 2001 Emil Gumpert Judicial Alternative Dispute Resolution Award from Dispute Resolution Services. She was one of 50 women featured in the Los Angeles Business Journal in “The 50 Most Powerful Women in Los Angeles Law” (February 9, 1998) and one of ten lawyers featured in the American Lawyer’s Tenth Anniversary Edition on “Ten Years of Upheaval and Ten Who Made It Happen” (March 1989).

Justice Bendix is married and has three children and two grandchildren.  She is an avid musician, playing in the Palisades Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic Orchestra.