Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis is a two-time honoree of the Fulbright Award. As an international speaker and judicial educator, her emphasis has been on mediation/arbitration and the importance of commercial business dispute resolutions. Judge Duffy-Lewis currently sits in Department 38, unlimited jurisdiction, Stanley Mosk Central Civil Courthouse. Her degrees include University of Southern California BA and Loyola Law School JD.

As many of my colleagues know, I am very supportive of the Fulbright Award. This award was originally funded by the Congress of the United States at the behest of Senator J. William Fulbright, to spread friendship and culture around the world after the Second World War. As war material was being disposed of at the war’s end, Senator Fulbright thought that if some of the remnants of war could be sold to enhance communities, that the funds raised could assist in funding this new American idea.


Congress embraced this award and idea and initially funded the now-named Fulbright, to honor Senator J. William Fulbright’s American dream, and the funds donated have helped to open Fulbright offices around the world. The goal was educational exchanges at every level of math, science, the arts and civic engagement including enhancing democratic institutions. Today, there are over 160 Fulbright offices worldwide, 370,000 alumni who account for 62 Nobel Prize Winners and 88 Pulitzer Prizes. The world is a better place for these alumni and The Fulbright’s efforts.


In 2007 after a terrible loss in my family, my niece Melissa had just graduated from UC Santa Barbara and was preparing for her first job. While visiting a cousin, she took a shower, and without warning, she had an epileptic seizure and drowned when she fell on the drain. Our lives were never the same. My sadness was unending. Every day in my chambers at lunch was gut wrenching as I just kept rereading her emails to me. Then I would cry and then dry my eyes and then go out on the bench to continue with a trial or some motion.

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