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 assignments include traffic arraignments, traffic trials, misdemeanor arraignment and trial calendar, civil collections handling wage garnishments, bank levies, and debtor examinations, unlimited jurisdiction civil trials, and an unlimited jurisdiction individual calendar assignment. In 2016, Judge Byrdsong was the first African-American assigned to the Chatsworth Courthouse. In 2018, he was the first African-American assigned to the Complex Civil Litigation department where he was responsible for overseeing all of the asbestos cases in Los Angeles County. Judge Byrdsong currently has an individual calendar assignment in Dept. 28 at the Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles with an inventory of almost 600 cases.
Judge Byrdsong began his legal career with Ivie, McNeill, Wyatt, Purcell & Diggs 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, 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 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. 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. In addition to his excellent trial work, Judge Byrdsong is a past president and lifetime member of the John M. Langston Bar Association, and a lifetime member of the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL).
Presently, Judge Byrdsong is a member of the LACBA Labor and Employment and Litigation Executive Committees. He is a founding member of the Association of African American California Judicial Officers (AAACJO). He continues to lecture on legal issues with notable groups such as The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, the Rutter Group, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), California Employment Lawyers’ Association (CELA) and the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel (ASCDC). He is serving a three year term on the California Judges’ Association representing the interests of the Los Angeles Superior Court statewide. In that capacity, Judge Byrdsong serves as the CJA liaison to the California Lawyers’ Association and is the co-chair of the Membership Committee. 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 and named Proven Achiever for Black History Month 2019 by the radio station KJLH.
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, sing, 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.