The Honorable Halim Dhanidina (Ret.) is a partner at the prestigious criminal defense firm of Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP in Los Angeles, where he handles challenging and high profile criminal cases. He serves as co-counsel with Umberg/Zipser in a variety of civil matters as the firm’s Senior Trial and Appellate Counsel.
Justice Dhanidina (Ret.) is a former appellate court justice with Division Three of the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District in Los Angeles, a former judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court and a former prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2018, Justice Dhanidina (Ret.) was the first South Asian American to serve as an appellate justice in the State of California and the first Muslim appellate-level judge in the United States. In his career as a distinguished jurist, he heard over 800 appeals as an Associate Justice for the Second District of the California Court of Appeal and presided over 70 jury trials as a Judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court. As a Deputy District Attorney for the Los Angeles County District Attorney Major Crimes and Hardcore Gang Divisions, he handled numerous high-profile prosecutions, including seven capital cases.
- University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, J.D., 1997
- Pomona College B.A. in International Relations, 1994
- State Bar of California
- United States District Court for the Central District of California
- Trial Practice
- Commercial Litigation
- White Collar Investigations
- Criminal Defense
- Arbitration and Mediation
- Fidelity National Financial Group, Board of Directors
- Judicial Council of California, Power of Democracy Steering Committee
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Judicial Council
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Orange County, Community Advisory Council
- Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles, Advisory Board/Founding Member
- South Asian Bar Association of Southern California, Advisory Board
- Muslim-Jewish NewGround, Board of Directors
- Orange County School of the Arts, President’s Circle
- Association of South Asian Prosecutors, Founding Member
- Claremont Colleges Muslim Students Association, Founding Member
HONORS & AWARDS
- Honoree, California State Assembly, 2017
- Recipient, Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, 2017
- Recipient, South Asian Network’s Community Solidarity Award, 2017
- Recipient, South Asian Bar Association Foundation’s Trailblazer Award, 2016
- Honoree, Annual Public Interest and Installation Dinner, South Asian Bar Association of Southern California, 2016
- Recipient, Muslim Legal Fund of America’s Trailblazer in Justice Award, 2014
- Recipient, Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association Alumnus of the Year, UCLA School of Law, 2013
- Recipient, Muslim Public Affairs Council Foundation’s Community Leadership Award, 2013
- Recipient, Recognition for Victims’ Rights Advocacy by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
- Honoree, Successful Murder Prosecutions by Justice for Homicide Victims
- Orange County School of Arts Foundation, Board of Directors and Board of Trustees
- University of California Irvine School of Law, Lecturer
- University of California Los Angeles School of Law, Lecturer
- Chapman University Fowler School of Law, Adjunct Professor
- Western State Law School, Adjunct Professor
- Whittier Law School, Adjunct Professor
- Glendale University College of Law, Adjunct Professor
- Constitutional Rights Foundation Orange County’s Mock Trial, Volunteer Judicial Advisor and Coach
Presentations, Speeches and Events:
- Panelist: “Chai Chat,” ASIAN BAR ASSOC. S. C.A. (Jan. 23, 2020)
- Speaker: “Critical Conversations Justice and Social Activism,” ISMAILI TV (Oct. 8, 2020)
- Panelist: “Overcoming Stigma and Bias on the Path to Judicial Diversity,” ALLIANCE FOR JUST. (Aug. 12, 2020), highlights available here.
- Keynote Speaker: “Dissent in Democracy,” ISMAILI COUNCIL FOR E. U.S., EMORY’S CANDLER SCH. THEOLOGY, LEADERSHIP & MULTIFAITH PROGRAM, ISMAILI CTR., JAMATKHANA (Sept. 27, 2019)
- Keynote Speaker: “Keeping the Faith: What Secular Law has Taught Me about Religion,” LAMP SEMINAR, A. TECH UNIV. (Sept. 2019)
- Speaker: “Fireside Chat,” ASIAN BAR ASSOC. N. C.A. (Sept. 12, 2018)
- Speaker: “Latinx Communities, Race, and the Criminal Justice System,” UCLA L. REV. & BRUINX SYMP. (Feb. 8 2019), More information found here.
- Panelist: “Faces of America: Immigrant Stories from the Diverse Asian Continent,” ADL ASIAN JEWISH INITIATIVE (Feb. 27, 2018)
- Speaker: “Muslim A Celebration,” A. STATE ASSEMBLY, SACRAMENTO (Aug. 21, 2017)
- Speaker: “Discrimination and Resilience in Judge Dhanidina’s Life,” CLAREMONT L. & PUB. POL’Y (Feb. 15, 2017)
- Speaker: “Dissent in Democracy: Judge Halim Dhanidina,” CLAREMONT L. & PUB. POL’Y, MUSLIM STUDENT ASSOC. (Feb. 15, 2017), video available here.
- Speaker: “From a Judge’s Perspective: Challenges and Opportunities for American-Muslims Post 9/11,” UCLA CTR. FOR NEAR E. STUD. (Mar. 7, 2016), audio available here.
- Speaker: “MAJIC – GYSD ’15 – Judge Halim Dhanidina Reflection,” YOUTUBE (May 5, 2015), video available here.
- Speaker: “Leadership, Advocacy, Race Relations in the US, and His Journey as the First Muslim-American Judge in California,” ASSOC. STUDENTS INC. LOBBY CORPS., A. STATE UNIV., FULLERTON (Apr. 8, 2014), video available here.
- Speaker: “The Challenges of State Court Judicial Elections,” MUSLIM PUB. AFF. COUNCIL (Jan. 19, 2014)
- Speaker and Award Recipient: “Convention Banquet: ‘25 Years on the Road Less Traveled,’” MUSLIM PUB. AFF. COUNCIL (Dec. 23, 2013), video available here.
- Speaker: “Baccalaureate Address for the 2013 Commencement,” Claremont Colleges (May 2013)
- Panelist: “American Muslim Local Officials: Challenges and Opportunities,” WILSON CTR. (March 2013), more information available here.
- Speaker: “Irvine and the State of Education,” ISLAMIC CTR. IRVINE (Sept. 30, 2012)
- Speaker: “American Jurisprudence and Sharia Law: Assimilation or Accommodation,” FEDERALIST SOC’Y CHAPTER TRINITY L. SCH.