*Dubbed as a “Southern California Super Lawyer,” 2010 through 2013 and a “Southern California Super Lawyer Rising Star” from 2005 to 2008, local attorney Rupert A. Byrdsong was among eight people appointed to a judgeship in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on June 18 by California Governor Jerry Brown. Byrdsong, 44, of Los Angeles has been an associate at law firm, Ivie McNeill and Wyatt since 1995. He is a Democrat and specializes in employment discrimination and civil rights.
“I’m very, very excited about my appointment,” Byrdsong told the Sentinel in a recent interview. “It is an honor to be selected by the governor to serve on the bench. I’m looking forward to using my 20 years experience to do a very good job.”
Born in 1969, in Mississippi, Byrdsong was raised in Nashville, Tennessee. He attended Morehouse College where he received an undergraduate degree in political science in 1991. He graduated Magna Cum Laude, made the National Dean’s List and earned membership into Phi Beta Kappa.
“My best friend’s father was a trial attorney in Nashville and also a Morehouse college graduate. He was responsible for picking us up from school after basketball practice, track practice [etc.]. Riding home with him through junior high school and high school… this was back in the day when kids actually talked to adults before iphones, ipads… Mr. Basheer would talk endlessly about his experiences at Morehouse College and his experiences as a lawyer,” Byrdsong recalled. “Over the years, listening to all those wonderful stories, I became inspired and wanted to do that as well. I ended up going to Morehouse College for my undergrad.”
Byrdsong received his Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville, Tennessee in 1994, starting at Ivie McNeill and Wyatt as a law clerk that same year.
“When I got to California, I didn’t have any basis as far as contacts so it was really divine intervention that Ivie, McNeill and Wyatt [at the time I happened to come in town and was introduced to the firm] had a need for an entry level law clerk and they were trying to establish an employment law practice,” he said. “They hired me because I had the experience from law school being a research assistant [for one of my professors who handled employment discrimination cases].”
Byrdsong also handled civil rights cases representing the county of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department involving claims for police misconduct, excessive force, false arrest and imprisonment, warrantless searches, and trespass. He also handled general liability matters, including premises liability cases.
Byrdsong is frequently sought as a speaker on employment issues throughout the state. From 2003 to 2007, he sat on and also served as an advisor for the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Section for the State Bar of California.
In 2006, he was listed in the Daily Journal as “Ones to Watch” describing the top employment lawyers in the greater Los Angeles area. In addition to his trial work, Byrdsong is involved in his community, conducts a monthly free legal clinic at Normandie Church of Christ, is a past president of the John M. Langston Bar Association, and has served on the Board of the California Association of Black Lawyers.
“All of the judges worked very, very hard,” Byrdsong said. “I’m just proud to be a part of that special group of people who are going to make sure that justice is being served.”
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