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July 24, 2002



Harry R. Sheppard, Presiding Judge, Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, is pleased to announce that Tom Surh, Family Law Facilitator for the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda has been selected for the position of Court Commissioner. Mr. Surh will take the oath for the office of Court Commissioner on August 8, 2002, and assumes his judicial officer duties immediately thereafter. The Presiding Judge will assign Mr. Surh to Department 603 at the Fremont Hall of Justice, for the 2002 calendar year.

Mr. Surh stated, "I am proud and honored to have been appointed as a Commissioner on the Alameda County Superior Court. I am thankful to my colleagues in the Bar, at the Court, and to the Judges of the Court who have expressed their confidence in me. I am particularly grateful to my family, which has been so supportive to me through many years of community service and working for the benefit of low income people of Alameda County. This appointment is a wonderful culmination of these efforts and I will work hard to serve the Court and the people of Alameda County."

Judge Sheppard stated, "The Court is indeed fortunate to have an individual with such a solid professional track record, join the judicial branch of government."

Court Commissioners may be assigned to any court location and to any area including but not limited to Civil, Small Claims, Traffic, Criminal, Probate, Family Law, Child Support, Juvenile or Mental Health and are required to be available 24 hours per day, seven (7) days per week on a rotating basis, to serve as the Duty Officer for Countywide Emergency Protective Orders.

Mr. Surh has served on numerous community boards and committees, including the Alameda County Mental Health Advisory Board, and the Board of Directors of Berkeley Law Foundation, Asians for Job Opportunities in Berkeley, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, Community Law Center, Korean Community Service Center, Conciliation Forums of Oakland, Law Center for Families, Women Lawyers of Alameda County, and the California Family Law Facilitators Association. He is a member of the Community Projects Committee of the Alameda County Bar Association and the Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct of the State Bar of California. He was a recipient of the 1993 President's Pro Bono Service Award from the State Bar of California.

Mr. Surh is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law and began his legal career as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County. He later served as Assistant Executive Director of the Alameda County Bar Association. After 12 years of private practice in the areas of immigration law and later in family and juvenile law, he came to work for the Alameda County Superior Court as one of the original Family Law Facilitators in 1997. Except for one year as a staff member to the U.S. Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy in Washington DC, he has spent his entire legal career in Alameda County. His work as a Family Law Facilitator reflects the current movement in the court toward providing direct services for unrepresented litigants, and the growing efforts at the court to reach out to the communities it serves and more effectively meet their needs.

The contact for this information release is Joanne Lederman, Assistant Executive Officer, Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, at (510) 272-6515.

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