The Honorable Colleen K. Sterne

Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Department Santa Barbara - 5


The Hon. Colleen K. Sterne is a judge for the Santa Barbara County Superior Court in California. She was appointed to the bench by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. She filled the vacancy created by the death of the Hon. J. William McLafferty (deceased).

Sterne had an unsuccessful bid for a bench position in 2002.

She is registered decline-to-state.

Judge Sterne graduated with her B.A. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1980. She went on to earn her J.D. from Santa Barbara College of Law in 1988. She received a graduate certificate in dispute resolution from Pepperdine University.

Sterne first worked as an associate and partner at Henderson and Borgeson from 1988 to 2000, before opening her own law firm. During her time in private practice, Sterne specialized in civil litigation ultimately transitioning into an emphasis on mediation and dispute resolution. Her civil cases included contract, real property, arson, sexual molestation, medical malpractice, and injury matters. As a sole practitioner, Sterne also served as a settlement master for the court, during which time she assisted civil judges in settling cases.

In 2002, Sterne was selected by the Santa Barbara County Superior Court judges to serve as a Family Law Commissioner. She remained in that capacity until her appointment to the bench in 2010.

She received the Judge John T. Rickard Judicial Service Award in 2006 and the Attorney of the Year Award from the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers in 2010.

She is the past-president of the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers.

Judge Sterne is an ordained Episcopal priest.

Recent Rulings by Hon. Colleen K. Sterne

Recent Rulings by Hon. Colleen K. Sterne

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