In the upcoming judicial elections, attorney Aaron Weissman wants people to vote for the candidate with over three decades of expansive law practice. The one who has served two decades as a volunteer mediator and arbitrator. The one with more experience on the bench than any other candidate. He wants people to vote for him.
Weissman, senior counsel with fullservice business firm Novian & Novian, is running for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Seat 84. Standing on his experience in civil and business litigation with an emphasis on civil law and motion and appellate practice, as well as having served the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Glendale and Burbank branches as a judge pro tem, he intends to buck tradition by filling the seat with a lawyer from an executive office, not the District Attorney’s.
“I’m running against three,” Weissman says of his prosecutor opponents. “But my real-world judicial experience should be what sets me apart from any of them.”
He has been a judge in the making his entire 35-year career. A UCLA undergraduate pre-med student, Weissman started law school at age 19, earning his Juris Doctor from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law in 1980.
Early in his career, he worked with a number of major civil litigation firms. There he practiced in all areas of tort and insurance defense litigation and was a member of each firm’s respective law and motion and appellate departments. He joined Novian & Novian LLP in 1995, adding tremendously to the breadth of his expertise.
“In my 20-plus years at Novian & Novian, I’ve been able to expand my knowledge base and the nature of my experience and practice,” Weissman says, explaining that he has broadened his base of business litigation, representing small and midsize businesses and the many issues that arise in their operations.
Sometimes that means getting a little creative, as in the case of a plaintiff who obtained a Pennsylvania judgment against a local individual and tried to domesticate the judgment in California. The client retained Senior Partner Farid Novian and Weissman to oppose that, claiming he didn’t sign the contract the plaintiff was relying on to the get the judgment they got back East. Weissman called in a Pennsylvania handwriting expert, who declared the contract’s signature a forgery. As a result, there was no domestication of the judgment, and Novian & Novian received a substantial award of attorney fees from the plaintiff for its trouble.
“That one was tremendously satisfying,” he says.
In another case involving Weissman and Farid Novian, they represented real estate brokers in a lease transaction where the plaintiff contended that the brokers breached an oral agreement regarding the square footage of a facility intended for use as an adult daycare center.
“After contentious litigation, we filed a successful motion for summary judgment,” he says. “The court found that the oral agreement contradicted a written and signed contract. It found in our favor and we were then awarded six figures in attorneys fees from the plaintiff.”
In a five-day bench trial in Lancaster, Weissman and Managing Partner Farhad Novian, representing the plaintiff, succeeded in obtaining a judgment for specific performance as to a four-line real property purchase agreement.
Surely good decisions have come Weissman’s way, and he has made them, too. He has participated in many successful trials and binding arbitrations. He has also authored and co-authored countless briefs seeking writ and appellate relief on both the state and federal appellate level.
It started in the 1990s, when Weissman was recruited by Judge S. James Otero to serve the judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Glendale and Burbank branches as a judge pro tem. In that capacity, he handled the calendars of various civil departments when judges were out. As a result, he presided over hundreds of motions, case management, status and mandatory settlement conferences, trial settings, and probate and family law matters.
“I served in a somewhat specialized capacity,” Weissman says, explaining that the program included only a handful of lawyers the judges “supremely trusted” to substitute in their civil departments. “I covered anything that walked in the door short of a full-blown trial. I was the one wearing the robe and, subject to the approval of the litigants and attorneys, I would hear it.
“That’s what got my juices flowing for being a judge. I was doing the work and I loved it.”
In addition, for approximately 20 years – the entire life of the Los Angeles Superior Court alternative dispute resolution program – Weissman was honored to serve as a volunteer mediator and arbitrator. He arbitrated and mediated hundreds of cases, many to settlement.
“ADR has given me an invaluable perspective as to when and how to approach settlement in litigation matters,” he says. “And it brought to light my passion for finding solutions that leave both parties satisfied.”
Weissman is not the only one who thinks it’s time for him to take the bench on a regular basis. His endorsements read like a Los Angeles community’s list of Who’s Who, with retired Second Appellate District Court of Appeal Justice Richard Schauer, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Judge Robert H. O’Brien, retired State Bar Court Judge Michael D. Marcus and prolific trial attorney and former California State Bar President Tom Stolpman among the many supporting his candidacy.
A devoted family man to wife, Debby, a director of accreditation and licensing at Kaiser, and their two grown daughters, Robyn and Karleigh, this lifelong Los Angeles County resident and selfdescribed California wine geek is ready to raise a toast to this new and exciting chapter in the story of his exemplary legal career.
“I feel called back to the court,” Weissman says, “and I’m confident my decades of experience on both sides of the bench will serve me and the public well.”
“ADR has given me an invaluable perspective as to when and how to approach settlement in litigation matters. And it brought to light my passion for finding solutions that leave both parties satisfied.”