County Counsel Mary C. Wickham Announces Plans to Leave Post to Become Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner

Los Angeles County’s top lawyer, County Counsel Mary C. Wickham, announced she is leaving her position, effective November 1, to join the Los Angeles Superior Court as a Court Commissioner.

The Board of Supervisors appointed Wickham to serve as County Counsel in 2015.

“It has been an honor to serve the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the people of Los Angeles County as County Counsel for the past five years,” Wickham said. “My new role as Court Commissioner for the Los Angeles Superior Court will allow me to continue to serve the people of Los Angeles County as I have done for more than 25 years.”

As County Counsel, Wickham led the design and implementation of the County’s groundbreaking equity policy, and created new teams including the Affirmative Litigation Division—charged with bringing civil actions to enforce consumer protection laws involving opioids, tobacco, vaping, the environment and others—and the Immigration Legal Team, which has pursued litigation against the federal government on numerous high-profile immigration issues.

Under her leadership, the Office of County Counsel has led litigation and legislative efforts on behalf of the Board of Supervisors and County departments, including ordinances to implement the Civilian Oversight Commission and the Probation Oversight Commission. She has also prioritized culture change and mentorship within the office, implementing career coaching and establishing a County Counsel Academy to enable lawyers and administrative staff to continuously sharpen and expand their skills.

Wickham has served during an historic period in which women have occupied significant leadership roles within the County—including four seats on the Board of Supervisors, Chief Executive Officer, Executive Officer of Board, and County Counsel.

“It is historical and personally gratifying that, during my tenure as County Counsel, women have led Los Angeles County,” Wickham said. “I am grateful for having had this tremendous opportunity and leave the Office of County Counsel in the hands of the most talented and capable public sector legal team anywhere.”

Members of the Board of Supervisors saluted Wickham for her service.

“It has been a privilege to work with Mary Wickham throughout her long career with the County, and most recently over the past five years in her capacity as County Counsel,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Board Chair. “I have greatly valued Mary’s legal wisdom, keen insight, and strong leadership skills, among her many other positive attributes. While her departure is a loss for the county, I know she will continue to be of great service to the people of Los Angeles in her new role as a court commissioner.”

“Whether fighting for environmental justice in communities near the former Exide plant, or challenging the federal government on its misguided actions intended to marginalize immigrants, Mary Wickham has been a force for legal progress in her leadership of the Office of County Counsel,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Chair Pro Tem. “I am grateful for her legal expertise and exemplary service to our County employees and residents. It was an honor to have worked with her on a myriad of issues on behalf of our diverse communities, and I wish her great future success in her new role as an L.A. Superior Court Commissioner.”

“Mary Wickham has been a wise and trusted leader for Los Angeles County, providing exceptional legal guidance and action across a range of important issues with real consequences for our 10 million residents,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “These include designing and implementing the County’s Policy of Equity, developing ordinances to implement the Civilian Oversight and Probation Oversight commissions, and creating the legal framework for the groundbreaking Measure H. Our loss is the Superior Court’s gain, and I’m confident she will continue her exemplary public service in this new role.”

“I will deeply miss Mary’s sound judgment, strong leadership, and crisp legal thinking,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said. “She unfailingly provided the Supervisors with clear advice based on careful examination of all the relevant legal considerations, and was an indispensable partner over the last few years as we worked to reform so many aspects in the County.”

“For the past five years, we’ve been fortunate to have Mary Wickham at the helm of Los Angeles County’s Office of County Counsel,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn.  “She has been a trusted counselor and innovative legal leader. With her guidance, we have taken on important issues like opioids, tobacco, vaping and more. I have no doubt that she will continue her strong track record of service and achievement now that she is moving over to the Superior Court.”