Halim Dhanidina joins U/Z’s trial practice group after retiring as an appellate court justice with Division Three of the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District in Los Angeles. Appointed 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. He leaves the court having heard over 800 appeals, writing over 300 opinions. Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeal, Halim served for six years on the Los Angeles County Superior Court, making him the first Muslim judge ever appointed in California history. He presided over 72 jury trials in this position.
Prior to his judicial career, Halim had extensive trial experience as a Deputy District Attorney of Los Angeles County, where he prosecuted 68 jury trials in 14 years, primarily while assigned to the Hardcore Gang and Major Crimes Divisions.
Halim has trained new trial court judges and appellate justices across California, giving him a statewide presence and network in the process. His extensive exposure and experience, both as a lawyer and judicial officer, in every legal discipline and with cases involving the highest stakes, coupled with his reputation for excellence, make him a unique asset for litigation clients.
- University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, J.D., 1997
- Pomona College B.A. in International Relations, 1994
- State Bar of California
- Trial Practice
- Commercial Litigation
- White Collar Investigations
- Criminal Defense
- Arbitration and Mediation
- 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
- University of California Irvine 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.