The Honorable Elizabeth Lee

San Mateo County Superior Court, Department 17


The Hon. Elizabeth K. Lee is a judge for the Superior Court of San Mateo County in California. She was appointed to the bench by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.

Lee earned a B.A. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979. She then completed a J.D. from Columbia University Law School in 1983.

After graduating from law school, Lee began her legal career as a trial attorney with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice in 1983. Two years later, she moved to the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, where she served as an assistant U.S. attorney for three years.

Then, in 1988, Lee entered the private sector, accepting a position as an associate at Marron, Reid & Sheehy. She practiced there for three years, but quickly returned to the Office of the United States Attorney. This time, she was stationed in the Northern District of California. Over the course of her tenure, she would specialize in criminal investigations of human trafficking, eventually rising to Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force.

Lee is a recipient of the Special Achievement Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans as well as the Partners for Justice Award for Legal Impact from Asian Pacific Legal Islander Outreach.

Her memberships have included the National Association of Women Judges, the Collaborative Justice Courts Advisory Committee of the Judicial Council of California, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the San Mateo County Blue Ribbon Commission on Foster Care, the San Mateo County Domestic Violence Council, and the San Mateo County Domestic Violence and Firearms Prevention Task Force.

Lee was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Shortly after her birth, she relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

As a Chinese-American, Lee was the first Asian-American to serve as a judge on the Superior Court of San Mateo County.

She is registered as a Democrat.

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