Judge Leonard Edwards is a retired judge now working as a consultant, educator, and trainer. He served as a Superior Court Judge in Santa Clara County for 26 years and then for six years as Judge-in-Residence at the Center for Families, Children & the Courts, a division of the California Administrative Office of the Courts. As a judge he worked in the juvenile court for over 20 years. As Judge-in-Residence he served California’s courts as a consultant specializing in juvenile and family law, domestic violence, drug courts, mediation, judicial ethics, and other issues relating to children and families within the court system.

A graduate of Wesleyan University (1963) and The University of Chicago Law School (1966), Judge Edwards has dedicated his professional life to working in the court system to improve outcomes for children and families.

Judge Edwards is a well-known teacher, trainer, and lecturer, having taught at the University of Santa Clara Law School, Stanford Law School, and the California Judicial College. He has conducted trainings in 47 states and 11 foreign countries as well as over 300 invited presentations in the United States.

Judge Edwards has written widely and created teaching videos that have been used for training throughout the United States. His most recent book, The Role of the Juvenile Court Judge: Practice and Ethics, has been distributed to all California judges working in juvenile and family court as well as to all appellate justices in the state.

Judge Edwards has been given numerous awards from local, state, and national organizations. In 2004 he was awarded the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, the only juvenile court judge ever to receive that award. His juvenile court was the inspiration for the book, Somebody Else’s Children, by John Hubner and Jill Wolfson.

In his work as a consultant, Judge Edwards has assisted judges make significant changes in their court system including starting mediation programs, family drug treatment courts, CASA programs, and other innovations. His primary focus is improving court practice in order to improve outcomes for children and families in the courts system.

Please feel free to contact his office directly for more information.
In Judge Edwards’ time on the bench and in his writings and presentations, he has addressed many issues involving judges, the juvenile court, and best practices. Some of the issues discussed on this website include the following:
  • What is the role of the juvenile court judge on the bench and in the community?

  • What unique ethical issues confront juvenile court judges as they attempt to fulfill their role?

  • Why is timely permanency for foster children important and how can it be achieved?

  • How can fathers be engaged in the child protection and delinquency processes?

  • Why is visitation important for children and families and what can judges do to improve visitation?

  • What alternatives to formal court proceedings can help resolve child protection and custody issues?

  • How can juvenile court be improved?

  • How can trained citizen volunteers improve outcomes for children in court?

  • Why are family drug treatment courts so valuable to juvenile dependency court?

  • What is One Judge-One Family, and how can this concept improve outcomes for children?

  • Please click here to download Judge Edwards curriculum vitae.


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