FCWL’s Annual Justice Pauline Hanson Dinner

The Justice Pauline Hanson Annual Dinner, which celebrated its 30th year in 2017, is an annual dinner and awards banquet that honors the memory of the late Justice Paulin Hanson.

Pauline Davis was born July 13, 1922. She grew up on the family ranch in Selma, California – the same ranch where she died on August 19, 1989, after an almost three-year battle with cancer. Her achievements during her 67 years are remarkable: graduate of Stanford Law School; executive secretary to Assemblyman Charles Garrigus; the first law clerk; then the first principal attorney at the Fifth District Court of Appeal. In 1977, Governor Jerry Brown appointed her to the Fresno County Superior Court where she served for three years before being elevated to Associate Justice of the Fifth District Court of Appeal. She served there until her medical retirement in 1987.

Were one to have asked Justice Hanson to list her greatest accomplishments, it is unlikely she would have named many, if any, of the above. She might have recited: wife (of Bill Hanson), mother (of their three sons, Nels, Victor and Alfred), protector and advocate of children (during her two years as Fresno County’s first full time juvenile court judge), buffer between the state and the individual and friend to many. She would not have boasted “role model” nor “first woman to serve on either of the courts to which she was appointed,” which she was.

Pauline Davis Hanson would carefully craft appellate opinions one day and peddle fruit from the family ranch out of the back of a truck at a farmer’s market in Santa Cruz the next day – without any noticeable transition. She was indefatigable, laughed often and loved those who gathered around her like moths to a flame. She is missed sorely.

Fresno County Women Lawyers takes great pleasure in continuing to recognize Justice Hanson’s spirit and leadership through an annual dinner that we host in her honor and memory.

Each year we honor an individual with the Hanson Award, which is bestowed upon a deserving Fresno County attorney or legal professional who has made strides to advance the position of women in the legal community. We also present a law student with the Hanson Scholarship, an award of great monetary value that helps deserving law students who aim to practice law in the Central Valley upon graduation.

If you would like to nominate an individual for the Hanson Award, please email fcwl.president@gmail.com.

Click below to see pictures from past Hanson Dinners:

2007  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012  2013  2014  2015  2016  2017  2018 2022

2022Martha GuzmanEPA Region 9 AdministratorKristina Garabedian
2018Fiona MaVice Chair, California State Board of EqualizationJudith Lund
2017Hon. Leondra KrugerAssociate Justice, California Supreme Court Ana de Alba
2016Nancy O'MalleyDistrict Attorney, Alameda CountyPaulette Janian
2015Hon. Marguerite DowningJudge, Superior Court of Los AngelesKatherine Hart
2014Lisa SmittcampDistrict Attorney, Fresno CountyVictoria Bernhardt
2013Linda PennerChairperson, Board of State and Community CorrectionsMelissa White
2012Dianna DooleySecretary, California Health and Human ServicesLiz Diaz
2011Hon. Tani Cantil-SakaueyeChief Justice California Supreme CourtHon. Kate Meehan
2010Hon. Johnnie Rawlinson9th Circuit JudgeJack Daniel (deceased)
2009Holly FujieState Bar PresidentHon. Denise Whitehead
2008Hon. Kamala D. HarrisS.F. District AttorneySusan Ancerson
2007Sharon Majkors-LewisJudicial AppointmentsHilda Cantu Montoy
2006Hon. Mary SchroederChief Judge 9th CircuitHon. Nancy Ciscneros
2005Emilia MayorgaPlaintiff's AttorneyHon. Sandra Snyder
2004Noreen FarrellEqual Rights AdvocateKaren L. Lynch
2003St. Sen. Marcha EscutiaState SenatorMichelle Griggs
2002Karen Nobumoto2002 State Bar PresidentPatience Milrod
2001Marcia A. MorrisseyDefense AttorneyHon. Hilary Chittick
2000Hon. Marsha Berzon9th Circuit JudgeHon. Jane A. York
1999Carol Tomlinson-KeaseyChancellor Š U.C. MercedLucile Wheaton
1998Dean Herma Hill KayDean, Boalt HallRuth Ratzlaff
1997Justice Janice BrownCal. Supreme CourtHon. Rebecca Wiseman
1996Margie WrightCoach CSUF SoftballMarian Mosley
1995Hon. Rebecca Wiseman5th Appellate DistrictG. June Register
1994Hon. Joan Dempsey KelinCo-Founder DWL/PJ 2nd DCAHoward K. Watkins
1993Margaret MorrowState Bar PresidentJudy Soley (deceased)
1992Victor HansonWriter/Pauline Hanson's SonJanice Pearson
1991Louise RenneS.F. City AttorneyHon. Annette Larue
1989Hon. Vaino Spencer2nd Appellate DistrictMary Louise Frampton
1988Dinner Postponed
1987Hon. John Racanelli1st Appellate DistrictNone

FCWL’s Annual Judicial Reception

Every year, Fresno County Women Lawyers honors women who have been elected or appointed to the Superior Court, Court of Appeal, and the U.S. District Court in the past year. The annual Judicial Reception is typically held in May and honors recent female accessions to the bench through a well-attended cocktail hour and reception. The Reception honors women from both Fresno County and surrounding Central Valley counties.

Please click below to find pictures from past Judicial Receptions:

Click below to see pictures from past Judicial Receptions:

2008  2009  2010  2014  2015  2016  2017  2018  20192022

Volunteer Activities


Hall of Fame

In 2006, Fresno County Women Lawyers dedicated an area on the sixth floor of the Fresno County Superior Courthouse for the Women’s Hall of Fame. The vision for this display honoring women of our community is simple and came about in 1998. A local woman attorney noticed that many members of our community failed to remember that until recently, there were no women in the California State Senate or sitting on the Fresno County bench. The San Joaquin River Parkway that we now enjoy exists only because of the tremendous efforts of women in Fresno County. It was decided that it was time to recognize the women who have made important contributions to the betterment of our community and who paved the way for future women leaders. The purpose of the Women’s Hall of Fame is to educate the public about the good works and leadership of these important women.

The Fresno County Courthouse was selected as the perfect venue to recognize these women’s accomplishments.  Many people visit the Courthouse daily, whether as jurors, litigants, employees, or participants in the mock trial program for county high school students.  The Courthouse has an impact not only within the legal community, but as a place, where issues important to our community are decided.   The next step, then, was selecting an area within the courthouse to exhibit the hall of fame, consisting of a combination of biographical information and artistic representations.

The attorney who envisioned the Women’s Hall of Fame put her vision into action by reaching out to a number of community groups. Thus, the project and creation of the displays became a collaborative process, taking the combined efforts of several women-based groups. The Women’s Hall of Fame honors women who have made a significant contribution in Fresno County in one or more of the following areas: Agriculture, Athletics, Art, Business, Culture, Charity, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Law, Medicine, and Politics. A local graphic artist designed the logo and a local metal artist created a metal sculpture of the logo for the Fresno County Women Lawyers Women’s Hall of Fame. The border of two torches with flames symbolizes eternal honor, the olive branches represent caring and hope, and the connecting ribbon reflects the relationship between all humanity. The Latin phrase, ”Possunt quia posse videntur,” means “they can because they think they can” — in other words, it expresses the power of positive thinking.

Thanks to the efforts of all the participants, the Fresno County Women Lawyers “Women’s Hall of Fame” has become a reality. We hope it will be an on-going project. Fresno County Women Lawyers is honored to be associated with this important project.

Monthly MCLE Luncheons

In addition to our other benefits FCWL provides low-cost MCLE Luncheons. At this time, our MCLEs are being held via Zoom.

MCLE Luncheon Dates 

January 31, 2023 – Elimination of Bias

March 28,2023

April 25, 2023

June 27, 2023

August 29, 2023

October 24, 2023

Judicial Reception

May 17, 2023 (tentative)

Hanson Dinner

September 28, 2023 (tentative)

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