The Honorable Rupert A. Byrdsong was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court on June 18, 2014 by Governor Jerry Brown. He took his oath of office on September 8, 2014. His first assignment was at the Metropolitan Courthouse wherein he handled traffic arraignments, traffic trials, and a misdemeanor arraignment and trial calendar. On March 21, 2016, Judge Byrdsong was reassigned to a civil collections assignment at the Chatsworth Courthouse handling wage garnishments, bank levies, and debtor examinations. On October 3, 2016, Judge Byrdsong was reassigned within Chatsworth to an unlimited civil trials assignment. On February 6, 2017, Judge Byrdsong was reassigned to the Van Nuys Courthouse to handle an unlimited jurisdiction individual calendar with an inventory of over 450 cases. On October 29, 2018, Judge Byrdsong was reassigned to Complex Civil Litigation overseeing all of the asbestos cases in Los Angeles County. He is the first African-American to sit in the Complex Civil department.
Judge Byrdsong began his legal career with Ivie, McNeill, & Wyatt as a law clerk in 1994, became an associate in 1995, and became a partner in 2001. Judge Byrdsong received his undergraduate degree in Political Science with Honors from Morehouse College in 1991. He graduated magna cum laude, made the National Dean’s List and earned membership into Phi Beta Kappa.
Judge Byrdsong received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1994. At Vanderbilt, he was on the Executive Board of the Black Law Students Association, Phi Alpha Delta, and worked as a Research Assistant researching employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and civil rights issues. Judge Byrdsong is listed in the Acknowledgments in the casebook EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION LAW – CASES AND MATERIALS ON EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE (6th ed. 1999).
At Ivie, McNeill, & Wyatt, Judge Byrdsong initially handled numerous civil rights cases representing the County of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department involving claims for police misconduct, excessive force, false arrest and imprisonment, warrantless searches, and trespass. He also handled general liability matters, including premises liability cases.
After several years of primarily handling civil rights cases, Judge Byrdsong anchored the firm’s employment litigation practice, with substantial experience in the area in both state and federal courts. He handled claims for sexual harassment, race discrimination, wrongful termination, disability discrimination, religion and age discrimination, and emotional distress. He gained significant trial experience in employment cases. Judge Byrdsong frequently delivered seminars on employment issues throughout the state. From 2003 to 2007, he sat on and also served as an advisor for the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Section for the State Bar of California. He also served on the Saturday Seminar Committee for the Labor and Employment Section of LACBA. Presently, he is a member of the LACBA Labor and Employment Executive Committee.
Judge Byrdsong was a fierce advocate in the courtroom and was recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer, 2010 through 2014 and a Southern California Super Lawyer Rising Star from 2005 to 2008. In 2006, he was listed in the Daily Journal as “Ones to Watch” describing the top employment lawyers in the greater Los Angeles area. In addition to his excellent trial work, Judge Byrdsong is a past president and lifetime member of the John M. Langston Bar Association, a Founding Member of the Association of African American California Judicial Officers (AAACJO), and is a lifetime member of the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL). Judge Byrdsong is also an interviewer for applicants from the Los Angeles area applying to Vanderbilt Law School. Finally, he volunteers his time mentoring young lawyers and speaks to young students at Career Day throughout Los Angeles. Because of his work and contributions to the community, Judge Byrdsong was recognized in Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 for 2018.
Judge Byrdsong is married to Latrice Byrdsong and has four kids, Christopher, Jillian, Rupert Jr., and Giovanna. In his spare time, Judge Byrdsong likes to play basketball, read comic books, and travel. However, his true passion is cooking and grilling. His signature dishes include grilled jerk chicken, cheesy shrimp and grits, baked beans, and banana pudding.