SJCL alum named Tulare County Judge

Kerri Lopez is the 48th San Joaquin College of Law graduate to be appointed to a Bench Officer position. Courtesy of SJCL

San Joaquin College of Law in Clovis is celebrating Kerri M. Lopez, a 1998 graduate, who was just appointed as a Tulare County Superior Court Judge. She was named to the post on June 1 by Governor Jerry Brown with her first day of work slated for June 16.

Lopez began her legal career as an intern at the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office while she attended SJCL. Following her bar passage, she interviewed for a position there, but was immediately hired as a Deputy D.A. in 1999. She has ascended the ranks over the years, serving as Assistant District Attorney for the past two years.

Lopez said she was “in shock” and “disbelief” when she learned of the appointment. Her parents were ecstatic, and had actually travelled this road before. Her father is Tulare County Judge Ronn M. Couillard who worked as a Tulare County prosecutor from 1980 until he was appointed to the bench in 1987. He retired in 2007, but the Tulare County Courts still show him as “sitting on assignment.”

Lopez received welcoming messages from other judges on the Tulare County Court immediately after her appointment was announced.

A Visalia native, Lopez is “thrilled to be giving back to the community I grew up in.” She also heaps praise on SJCL, calling it “a great place to go to school.”

Lopez fills the slot on the courts left by the retirement of Judge James Hollman and will be paid an annual salary of $200,042. She is San Joaquin College of Law’s 48th Bench Officer, but is the first to serve as a Superior Court Judge in Tulare County.