Gov. Brown appoints judges to Bay Area courts

Oakland attorney Kimberly Colwell and public-interest lawyer Brad Seligman were named to serve with Alameda County Superior Court.

Seligman, 61, of Berkeley, is the founder and former executive director of the Berkeley-based Impact Fund, a nonprofit law firm that specializes in economic-justice class-action lawsuits.

The fund led what would have been the nation's largest class-action job discrimination lawsuit, in a federal case filed against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on behalf of 1.5 million present and former women workers.

Although the Supreme Court ruled last year that the case could not proceed as a nationwide lawsuit, the fund is now pursuing regional lawsuits, including one pending in federal court in San Francisco on behalf of female Wal-Mart employees in California.

Before founding the Impact Fund in 1992, Seligman worked for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund in Berkeley.

Colwell, 54, of Berkeley, is litigation manager at the Meyers Nave Riback Silver and Wilson law firm in Oakland. She has specialized in representing cities, counties and other local government entities.

Colwell was part of a team hired by BART to conduct a confidential internal investigation into the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year's Day 2009.

Both Colwell and Seligman earned their law degrees from the University of California's Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Napa County Deputy Public Defender Elia Ortiz, 39, was appointed by Brown to Napa County Superior Court. Ortiz, a resident of the city of Napa, obtained her law degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Labor law attorney Mark Talamantes was named to Marin County Superior Court. The 46-year-old Tiburon resident is the founder and managing partner of Talamantes Villegas Carrera, a San Francisco law firm that represents California workers in employment matters.

A Texas native who studied at Hastings College of the Law, Talamantes established the law firm in 1999.

Brown appointed criminal defense lawyer Brendan Conroy and Assistant San Francisco District Attorney Braden Woods to San Francisco Superior Court.

Before establishing a private criminal defense law practice in 1992, Conroy, 56, of San Francisco, served in the San Francisco and Los Angeles county public defenders' offices. He graduated from Hastings College of the Law.

Woods, 46, of San Francisco, joined the San Francisco district attorney's office in 1996 and became chief of its criminal division last year.

He previously worked for the Kern County District Attorney's Office. Woods earned his law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law.

All six of the new judges are Democrats. The trial court judgeships have an annual salary of $178,789.

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