Alameda County
Bar Association

ACBA Members in the News: Judge Noël Wise Nominated to Northern District Bench 

Judge Noël Wise appointed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of CaliforniaACBA member and Alameda County Superior Court Judge Noël Wise, a former partner at the law firm Wise Gleicher, was nominated today by President Biden to serve as a life-tenured federal district court judge in California’s Northern District. Congratulations Judge Wise! Read more

We are proud to have Judge Wise as a jurist in our community. She is an active member of our bar association and regularly mentors women, from high school to new bench officers in our county and throughout the state. Judge Wise has also mentored our Barristers (newer attorneys) through her participation in the ACBA Barristers Mentoring Program which pairs seasoned attorneys with newer attorneys. She has also hosted our Barristers Section’s Dine with a Judge series, inviting our newer attorneys to her chambers for lunch and conversation. She is open and available to our members.

She regularly sits on MCLE training panels to share her insights and recommendations regarding best practices and common mistakes to avoid. During the pandemic when courts worldwide were in chaos, she provided updates on local rules and courtroom availability, tips for bringing motions and appearing at hearings remotely, and the current process for selecting jurors and using exhibits at trial.

Judge Wise also supports the pro bono arm of the Alameda County Bar Association, Legal Access Alameda. She is generous with her time and resources, serving on the Legal Access Board of Directors from 2017 to 2023, and supporting Legal Access as a Guardian of Justice to help Legal Access bridge the justice gap in our community. 

Aside from our association, Judge Wise sat on the board of Girls Inc. of Alameda organization, a non-profit that helps girls from disenfranchised communities to be strong, smart and bold by: improving literacy in early elementary school; advancing skills in STEM; promoting positive mental, physical, emotional and sexual health; and providing tutoring, mentorship, internships, counseling and funds to ensure girls are accepted to and complete college.  It is an awesome organization that changes the trajectory of the life of a girl and the generations after her.  They now have girls who came through the program who are on the board. 

Judge Wise also sat on the board of the Alameda Food Bank that provides critical nutrition to families in Alameda County.  “Women in the U.S. disproportionately experience hunger and poverty compared to American men. About 10 million households with children in the U.S. are headed by a single mother, and 26.6 percent of these families live below the poverty line, compared to 14.9 percent of single fathers. According to USDA’s most recent report, single-parent, female-headed households are also significantly more likely to be food-insecure than single-parent, male-headed households (31.6 to 21.7 percent).” Ending Hunger is a Gender Equity Issue, M. Feeley.

She regularly volunteers in public school classrooms (elementary through high school) to promote civics education.  Civics education is a critical component to improve gender equality/equity worldwide.

Judge Wise belongs to organizations (e.g., WLAC, CWL and the National Association of Women Judges – NAWJ) that promote women and advance issues that support gender equality/equity.

Judge Wise also helps combat gender inequality by conducting research and writing articles about gender equality/equity (e.g., Judge: Gender Laws Are at Odds With Science, published in Time (March 8, 2017). 

When Judge Wise was appointed to the bench in 2014, she sat down for an interview for our members to get to know her better. We asked, “Who are the people who have had the greatest influence upon your legal career?” She responded that her initial reaction was to write that she was the most proud of receiving the Attorney General’s distinguished service award at the United States Department of Justice.  After further reflection, however, she concluded that the moment that has meant the most to her occurred while she was at the U.S. Attorney’s office.  She negotiated a plea agreement with a defendant with no criminal record.  The agreement allowed him to return to college after one semester in jail.  She doesn’t know whether he later finished college.  If he did, he would have been the first in his family to do so.  The fact that he had the opportunity to finish college, regardless of whether he made that choice, is something that was very important to her in her legal career.

We admire that Judge Wise respectfully and thoughtfully administers the law and seeks justice in every case, every day. Congratualtions on your appointment Judge Wise!