Date of Birth:

November 19, 1949, Bryn Mawr, PA


Social Justice & Community


The Honorable LaDoris Hazzard Cordell was the first female African American judge in Northern California in 1982 and the first African American female to sit on Superior Court in Santa Clara County in 1988. In 1974, she graduated from Stanford Law School and has since then devoted her life to fighting for equal justice for people of color and low-income communities. In the decades following her graduation, Judge Cordell founded a private law practice in East Palo Alto, served as assistant dean for student affairs at Stanford Law School, fought against apartheid in South Africa, created one of the nation’s first supervised visitation programs that provided a safe environment for children with non-custodial parents and worked as a visual musical artist. She was the City of San José’s Independent Police Auditor from 2010-2015. In 2021, she wrote her first book Her Honor: My Life on the Bench…What Works, What’s Broken, and How to Change It. A woman of the people, Judge Cordell shares her love for art in her drawings and as the co-founder of the African American Composer Initiative.

Honoree Photo Credit: Laurie Naiman,


Elba Raquel Martinez