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College of Law alumna pursues judge position

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Brooke Grasso
Editorial Director

There is never a typical day in the office for Soheila Azizi as she deals with other people’s lives every day.

She may be mediating a case between a husband and wife one moment and serving as a pro tem judge in court the next.

Despite the hectic days, justice is Azizi’s passion. Azizi graduated from the La Verne College of Law in 1993 and is now taking her interest in justice to the next level by running for the office of the judge in San Bernardino’s Superior Court.

“Migrating to this country as an immigrant was the reason for me to pursue a career in law, to promote human rights and hoping to raise awareness about some of the violations of human rights that take place in the world,” Azizi said.

Azizi moved to the United States in 1979 after fleeing from her hometown Tejarin, Iran during the Iranian Revolution.

With colleges being shut down and as a member of a religious minority Azizi decided to flee.

“Leaving my country, my fellow countrymen and my family members behind to run to a land of freedom where I could practice my ideas and beliefs is the most important thing in my life,” Azizi said. “I was not able to accomplish the things I needed to back home in my own country.”

It took Azizi years to focus her motivation on law and social justice. She initially attended Hofstra University in New York and graduated with a degree in economics and pursued a career in fashion design and merchandising.

When she went back to finish her master’s degree in urban economics, she changed her concentration to law.

Azizi was also an adjunct professor for the College of Law where she taught Immigration and Refugee Policy.

As an advocate for civil rights, Azizi has made justice the center of her work and social life.

“She has a ton of energy, and I admire her for putting a lot of work and a lot of time into serving her community, and I would describe her as someone who loves to serve,” said Omid Furutan, chairman of the Women on the Move Network and associate professor of management at ULV.

Azizi is the vice-chairwoman of the Women on the Move Network, a non-profit with the mission of empowering young women.

“Equality of races and genders takes top priority,” Azizi said. “Having practiced law and learning that there is so much inequality and that women have not made much of the mark that they can make on the world, we wanted to do something with the young generation of women, the girls that would becoming women of the future.”

The idea for the network started out as a conference, but was expanded to an organization that provides workshops and mentoring for young girls in the Inland Empire.

Though Azizi spends a lot of time serving her community, she also had her own practice, the Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, for 22 years.

Azizi has practiced civil litigation, family law, criminal law and mediation, and served as a temporary judge for the court system.

College of Law Dean Gilbert Holmes knows Azizi because she is a member of the board of visitors and said he believes she is fit for superior court judge.

“Good judges are all very bright and able, but the ones that are great understand there are people involved,” Holmes said.

Holmes said Azizi has many of the things that make a great judge such as an understanding of people, being a great listener and being empathetic, all the while demanding quality.

Azizi held a dinner party to kick off her campaign for superior court judge Feb. 10 and will continue to campaign until the vote on June 7.

Azizi said she has progressive ways to improve the community by making the court system a place of justice that community members can have faith in.

She said her interfaith involvement will be valuable to the courts and intends on allowing service organizations to help the courts work on juvenile delinquency, domestic violence and prevention among other issues.

Unless one candidate receives at least 51 percent of the votes after the vote in June, the top two contestants will continue on to a final vote in November.

Brooke Grasso can be reached at brooke.grasso@laverne.edu.

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