ACBA member Elizabeth L. Riles has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Alameda County Superior Court. She previously served as a Commissioner at the Alameda County Superior Court. Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, she served as an Administrative Law Judge for the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, presiding over unemployment and disability appeals. Prior to being a judicial officer, Judge Riles was one of the founding members and the managing shareholder at Bohbot & Riles, where she specialized in employment discrimination and personal injury cases. She has served as the Chair of the Board of the California Employment Lawyers Association (2020-2021), the Co-Chair of the Board of SEEDS Community Resolution Center (2014-2017), the Secretary of the Board of Oakland Youth Orchestra (2010-2012) and was a board member of Legal Aid at Work (2018-2022). Judge Riles has spoken widely about elimination of bias, trauma-informed lawyering, and employment law throughout her career. Judge Riles is a member of the California Judges Association, the Judicial Council of the California Association of Black Lawyers, and the Alameda County Bar Association. Comm. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. A Stanford University undergraduate, and went on to receive her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley, School of Law in 1998.
Judge Riles graciously responded to a few questions to help us get to know her better.
When did you know you wanted to be a lawyer?
Even when I was 5, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. There were a few other things on my list as well, like doctor, veterinarian, and hairdresser, but lawyer was always on the list. It was high school when I finally eliminated doctor, and I knew that lawyer was the only career for me.
What would you be doing instead if you hadn’t become a lawyer?
I would probably have gone into medicine.
What is your favorite part of being a judicial officer, and do you anticipate it will be different as a Judge vs a Commissioner?
My favorite part of being a judicial officer is interacting with people; lawyers, my colleagues on the bench, different litigants who appear in front of me. I do not think that it will be different as a Judge vs a Commissioner.
What is your dream vacation?
My dream vacation is a cruise around the world.
What are you reading now?
I just finished Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus and I am reading My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor and Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce.
Congratulations on your appointment Judge Riles! Interested in more interviews? Check out our member spotlights.