In May 2013, Lisa Rogan was serving as a supervising deputy district attorney in the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office when she experienced a major change in her professional life. It came in a public announcement by California Governor Jerry Brown, one which appointed her to the San Bernardino County Superior Court Bench.
It was the next step in a journey that took her from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy to sergeant in the Pomona Police Department to studying law at the University of La Verne College of Law. Even after her graduation in 2001, Lisa returned to La Verne Law to serve as an adjunct professor, teaching Appellate Advocacy and Honors Moot Court while working as a deputy district attorney.
“I recently shared with a group of students my secret to getting through law school, doing all the work demanded of me in the D.A.’s Office, and I know I will continue to use as I serve on the Bench. My theory and my motto has been and continues to be, I never want to say ‘I wish I would have,” Lisa said.
For 14 years, Lisa’s belief in the principals of law enforcement made her an excellent police officer. Her devotion to helping at-risk youth made her a positive role model. She decided to pursue a law degree at La Verne after realizing that the higher she was promoted within the police department, the further away she moved from the work she loved.
Serving in the district attorney’s office allowed her to interact with the public and stay involved with the practical application of the law while also satisfying her ambition and allowing her to grow intellectually. Despite having worked with some of the country’s best legal minds, she has never felt intimidated because she believes her La Verne Law school education prepared her for being in the court room.
As a former police officer, Lisa brings a unique perspective to the Bench. Her years in the field have given her the experience to know that sometimes good people do bad things. And while she believes people need to be held accountable for their actions, she tries never to condemn or demean. This philosophy has served her well and helps her maintain a positive outlook on life.
Asked whether law school changed her, Lisa speaks of how her education broadened her perspective. While she enjoys her job, she maintains a “never say never” attitude and keeps all doors open. She has proven her commitment to the values and mission of the University of La Verne by her devotion to her community. She made time to teach as an adjunct faculty member and has assisted many La Verne Law students in discovering and attaining their own goals in the legal profession.
During an event at La Verne Law celebrating her appointment to the bench, she offered advice to all current and prospective students.
“My words to you are very simple and straightforward. Work – and here’s the pause – harder,” she said. “Work harder, because this school is so full of opportunity for those who work and continue to work. And when you have worked as much as you think you can work, work harder.”
Randy Rubin, La Verne Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Law Professor, clearly recalls that working hard was never an issue for Lisa when she was a student.
“I can assure you that she was no more comfortable citing cases in class than any other student we had. But it was soon apparent that Lisa had something a little bit special,” said Rubin, explain that she had read every assignment and supplement, briefed every case, and prepared her own outlines.
“Put another way, Lisa worked harder than anybody else in her class,” he added. “Nobody, and I repeat, NOBODY worked harder than Lisa.”
Michael Bidart, a highly respected attorney who is both a University Trustee and Chair of the law school’s Board of Visitors, recalls being reminded by Lisa how they first met when he spoke at her commencement ceremony in 2001.
“I thought to myself, ‘Gosh, where did 12 years go?’ And not just because of how quickly they went for my life, but because of all she has accomplished in those 12 years,” said Bidart. “If Lisa were an inanimate object, she would be a meteor; hot and fast through the sky!”
Perhaps the highest praise comes from University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman, who sees Lisa as a prime example of what La Verne Law is and can be.
“For me, Lisa represents the kind of law school that we are and that we want to be,” said Lieberman. So many of our students come from communities where they want to get their law degree so they can go back into the greater community, and make that community stronger; to represent people who need the best representation – fair, consistent and ethical representation with integrity. That was Judge Rogan’s mission and vision, and that’s who she is, which is why we are so proud (of her).”