The Hon. Gassia Apkarian is a judge on the Superior Court of Orange County in California. She was appointed by former governor Jerry Brown on November 12, 2014, filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Francisco F. Firmat.
She attended the University of California, Irvine, where she received a B.A. in political science. She then earned a J.D. from the University of La Verne College of Law.
After graduating from law school and passing the California Bar Exam, Apkarian pursued a career in international development. From 1992 to 1995, she worked as an Executive Director for the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA). This position required her to liaise with high-ranking members of the Armenian government and the United States government, lobbying to secure foreign aid to Armenia. She then briefly worked as a Special Assistant to the Ambassador of Armenia, the Executive Director of Democrats 2000, and the Public Relations Advisor for the President of Armenia.
In 2000 Apkarian returned to Orange County, beginning her legal career as a Deputy Public Defender with the Office of the Public Defender of Orange County. Eight years later, she established her own law firm, Apkarian Defense. Here, she worked as a criminal defense attorney, specializing in cases involving sex offenses, DUIs, and theft charges.
Apkarian was born in Aleppo, Syria and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. She was six years old when the civil war in Lebanon began. She traveled back and forth between Lebanon and the United States, eventually settling in Irvine, California where she attended Woodbridge High School. She speaks Armenian, Arabic, French, and English.
Apkarian is registered as a Democrat.