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Hon. Lise Pearlman (ret.) was the first Presiding Judge of the California State Bar Court and a former California trial lawyer. Following her retirement from the bench, Judge Pearlman has become a best-selling author and nationally recognized speaker on famous 20th century trials whose books have won multiple awards in the categories of law, U.S. History, and multicultural nonfiction. Pearlman's latest book,    The Lindbergh Kidnapping Suspect No.1 -- The Man Who Got Away was Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Criminal Evidence in December 2021.

Judge Pearlman is also the author of four other critically-acclaimed history books published by Regent Press: Call Me Phaedra: The Life and Times of Movement Lawyer Fay Stender, winner of the 2018 International Book Award for biographies; With Justice for Some: Politically Charged Criminal Trials of the Early 20th Century That Helped Shape Today's America (2017)  [highly recommended for "anyone interested in history, courtroom drama or criminal justice"]; The Sky's the Limit: People v. Newton: The REAL Trial of the 20th Century? (2012); and American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton (2016) which is also a companion to the nonprofit documentary of the same name which won a Civil Rights award from the Berkeley Film Foundation and had its world premiere in April 2022 at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Pearlman serves as its Producer. (See:

In 2015 Pearlman had a cameo appearance in Director Stanley Nelson's PBS acclaimed documentary, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution as the country's leading expert on the 1968 Huey Newton Trial that transformed the American "jury of one's peers" from the traditional 12 white men to the diverse panels Americans often take for granted today. 

Pearlman was in the first class of undergraduates at Yale University to include women (1971). After moving to the California Bay Area, Pearlman graduated Order of the Coif from Berkeley Law (1974), clerked for California Chief Justice Donald Wright and was a Teaching Fellow at Stanford Law School before joining a San Francisco Bay Area firm as a litigator where she was named managing partner in 1984--the first established firm in California headed by a woman. In 1989, Pearlman was selected by the California Supreme Court as the first Presiding Judge of the State Bar Court. After retiring, Judge Pearlman served as mediator and arbitrator with Alternative Resolution Centers, Chair of the Oakland Public Ethics Commission, President of Women Lawyers of Alameda County and on the Board of California Women Lawyers.


Judge Pearlman is married to San Francisco bankruptcy lawyer Peter Benvenutti. They have three grown daughters and four grandchildren. One of her daughters, Jamie Benvenutti, served as the chief research assistant for Pearlman's book on the Lindbergh kidnapping. 

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