Hon. Darrell S. Mavis

Adjunct Professor of Law / Judge, Superior Court of California


B.S., Economics, 1988, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; J.D., 1991, Harvard University; Member, California State Bar

Joined Southwestern: 1996

Career Highlights

Judge Mavis has presided over more than 100 jury trials since his appointment to the Superior Court of California in 2006.  For over a decade, he supervised 40 civil and criminal judges in the Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale, and Alhambra courthouses. 

Judge Mavis studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford University and received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from MIT and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.     

Judge Mavis tried over 100 jury trials as a prosecutor for the Los Angeles County District Attorney for fourteen years.  He prosecuted some of the District Attorney’s most complex and high-profile cases, including one of California’s largest “no-body” murder cases.  He successfully tried a 17-year-old, double murder case that involved the killing of two Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as the almost fatal wounding of a third Special Agent during an international, undercover sting operation.  He was also an appointed Attorney Liaison at the United States Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs, where he worked on international criminal matters for state and local prosecutors throughout the United States for two years.

Judge Mavis has spoken on over 200 occasions at the California Center for Judicial Education and Research, Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Education Seminars, the California State Bar, and various state and national bar associations on topics including: conducting a jury trial, criminal law, evidence, experts, trial skills, dispute resolution, ethics, and civility.  Since 2008, Judge Mavis has been a faculty member of the B.E. Witkin Judicial College of California, teaching over a thousand judges throughout the state.  Judge Mavis has published articles on scientific evidence, criminal street gangs, and consular notification.  He was the past Chair of the State Bar’s Criminal Law Section Executive Committee.  He is the Chair of the California Center for Judicial Education and Research Advisory Committee which develops and delivers education to California judicial officers and other judicial branch personnel.      

For over a decade, Judge Mavis was a member of the Visiting Faculty for the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop.  Judge Mavis has been a member of Southwestern Law School’s adjunct faculty since 1996, teaching Trial Advocacy and the Art of Persuasion.  For several years, he created and taught a Persuasive Speaking course at UCLA.  Judge Mavis has been a Lecturer in Law at USC Gould School of Law since 2015.

In 2008, the Constitutional Rights Foundation awarded Judge Mavis “Judge of the Year.”   

Honors and Awards

Past Chair - California State Bar’s Criminal Law Section Executive Committee

Since 2014 - Member, California Center for Judicial Education and Research Governing Committee which develops and delivers education to members of the California Judicial Branch

2008 -  "Judge of the Year" by the Constitutional Rights Foundation