Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James received her B.A. (1975) from University of California, Irvine, and her J.D. (1978) from University of San Francisco. Judge James has been in public service for over 25 years. She was appointed Magistrate Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in October 1994, after six years of service as a San Francisco Superior Court Commissioner. Prior to her judicial assignments, she served as a deputy public defender in San Francisco, as well as the Director of the San Francisco Small Claims Court Education Project, in San Francisco District Attorney's Office. She also served as a supervising deputy city attorney for the City of San Francisco in the Juvenile Litigation Department. Judge James served as a seminar leader at the California Judicial Education and Research College and co-created and taught the course, The Roles of Referees and Commissioners, and taught Judicial Fairness. Currently, Judge James is an adjunct professor of law at the University of San Francisco and Golden Gate University School.