News Detail

News

Meet Judge Maame Frimpong ’93

After serving on the Los Angeles County Superior Court for nearly two years, Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong ’93 is seeking reelection. Judge Frimpong graduated from Vivian Webb School as Valedictorian of her class. She later graduated from Harvard University and went on to earn her law degree from Yale. After Frimpong started her legal career in a clerkship with a judge on the federal court of appeals, she worked at an international law firm, and then served in the Justice Department where she took on roles under Attorney General Eric Holder and Associate Attorney General Tony West during President Obama's administration. She has practiced in numerous areas of the law, including white-collar crime, immigration, civil rights, environmental protection, and consumer protection. But serving on the Los Angeles County Superior Court has been the highlight of Frimpong's illustrious career. She was appointed to the bench in 2015 and hopes to be reelected later this year. Below, she reflects on her campaign, career and hopes for the future.

Q. What made you want to become a judge?

What may be surprising to some is that although I have wanted to be an attorney since I was a child, for most of my career, I had no interest in becoming a judge. For a long time, I thought the judge simply decided between the positions presented by the attorneys before her, and so the real power was held by those who crafted those arguments and presented them in court. I had wanted to become a lawyer to make society work better and fairer, so being an attorney seemed the best role for me. And I truly loved advocating for my clients. Over time, however, I came to see that the judge is also an advocate—for justice and the rule of law. The more I considered it, the more I felt drawn to the role. And ultimately, the opportunity to grapple with complex legal questions, make difficult decisions, demystify the justice system for the public, and protect the rights of all who come before me was too intriguing not to try.

Q. Your website notes that serving in the court has been the highlight of your career. Why is that?

I have always loved the law and loved being an advocate for my client during my years as a practicing attorney. I feel that now I am an advocate for justice and the rule of law and our system of democracy, which is extremely gratifying. Serving as a judge is also extremely challenging as you are presented with new scenarios every day and the law is constantly changing. I love anything with a steep learning curve. As a judge on the Los Angeles Superior Court, my work is challenging, meaningful, and interesting, and my colleagues are smart, collegial, ethical, and committed to doing the right thing. That is my definition of a dream job!

Q. What do you want to achieve during a second term?

I want to build on what I had the opportunity to do during my first term—advocate for justice and the rule of law, demystify the justice system for the general public, and ensure that every individual in my courtroom is treated with dignity and respect.

It is very important for me to always stay abreast of changes in the law, always be prepared for every hearing, and always make thoughtful, considered, and deliberate decisions. In addition, every judge is responsible for the “tone” set in her courtroom. For me, I hope to continue to set a tone that is warm, but recognizes the importance and formality of the proceedings, and, above all, ensures that every individual—every juror, every witness, every defendant, every attorney—is treated with dignity and respect. Even if someone is accused of or convicted of a crime, he is still entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.

Finally, one of the best parts of my job is helping the general public understand the justice system. I get to do this with prospective jurors, but I also take every opportunity outside of my courtroom to do this, especially with young people. For example, I am one of three judges handling the Teen Court program at a local high school where minors charged for the first time with relatively low-level offenses get a “trial” by a jury of their peers—other high school students. The program is a great way to introduce the accused minor as well as the jurors and other participants at the high school to the principles of our justice system that we are so proud of. I am excited to continue the Teen Court program and other community outreach initiatives.

Q. Are you focusing on anything specific in your campaign?

Yes. For me, the campaign has given me an opportunity and a platform to discuss why it is important to have judges that are competent, fair, and compassionate. It is my sincere hope that everyone I speak with as I campaign walks away with greater confidence in our justice system and a greater understanding of the role that judges play in making our Constitutional rights a reality.

Most of us understand that we have certain rights based upon our Constitution, and many of us understand that the Supreme Court plays a role in interpreting those rights, but I think few people understand that it is ordinary judges like me who protect those rights every time you are in a courtroom. For example, the Supreme Court has determined that our Constitution protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures by the police. It is judges like me, however, that determine, in any given case, if the police action was unreasonable, according to the law.

Q. You have worked in a variety of roles during your legal career. Is there one in particular that prepared you for this role the most? Or is there an important lesson you learned during one of those jobs?

I really draw on skills developed in all of my roles nearly every day. But if there is one lesson that I learned from my earliest days as a judicial law clerk until my most recent role as a general counsel, it was to never compromise on doing justice and getting the answer right. In my years at the Justice Department under President Obama and Attorney General Holder, this was emphasized in everything that we did. I was often inspired by a quote over the door to the Attorney General’s Office in the Department of Justice in Washington, DC: the United States wins its case whenever justice is done one of its citizens in the courts. The emphasis was on doing justice, not winning cases. And this has translated seamlessly for me to my role as a judge: My North Star should always be doing justice, not ensuring that a particular side wins.

Q. Do you think Webb had any impact on your values, work ethic or career path?

Absolutely! All three! Webb certainly cultivated in me a drive for excellence, and at Webb I learned that to do well, I needed to work very hard. Ultimately, I believe my work ethic came from my parents, but it was further developed at Webb. And, although I am not sure I realized it at the time, the Honor Code system greatly impacted me. I probably already came into Webb as a young person who valued honesty and integrity, but at Webb, I was placed in a community of young people who were also striving to make the principles of honesty and integrity reality on a day-to-day basis. As a lawyer, and now as a judge, my integrity is sacrosanct. I never want to compromise it. And Webb certainly influenced my career path—those hours spent poring over the Federalist Papers and the other great documents of our history impressed upon me the beauty and brilliance of our legal system, and made me excited to be a part of it.

Q. Is there anything you think differentiates the Vivian Webb School alumni network from other alumni networks?

There is something special about a girls school, even a girls school within a coordinate environment such as Webb. In my most formative years, I was taught that there was nothing second-class about a women-only environment; to the contrary, there was much to be celebrated. I work in a male-dominated field, and have worked in male-dominated environments for much of my career. I distinctly recall numerous meetings, negotiations, or court proceedings where I was the only female lawyer; now I am one of a minority of female judges. This has been challenging at times, but I never let anyone make me feel as though I did not belong. And the ladies I met at Webb continue to inspire me because they are phenomenal women who support other phenomenal women.

Q. What would you want alumni who haven't met you to know about you?

That what motivates me now, and what has motivated me throughout my career is the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. My career has been the product of hard work, wonderful relationships, and serendipity. I feel so blessed that my parents, through their hard work and sacrifices, were able to give me such a great start at Webb, which has led me to where I am today.

Learn more about Frimpong’s campaign for reelection on her website.
Back

Read More News

Alumni News

List of 4 news stories.

  • Alumni and Friends Peccary Trip 2019


    The Peccary Society met for its annual Alumni & Friends Peccary Trip in Barstow, Calif. May 3-5, 2019. Over 75 alumni, parents, trustees, faculty, staff and their friends were in attendance with alumni representing 5 decades of Webb (1954-2007).
    Read More
  • Webb in Asia: Spring 2019


    In April, Head of Schools Taylor Stockdale, Mrs. Anne Stockdale, Director of College Guidance Hector Martinez and Director of Institutional Advancement Dutch Barhydt headed to Asia for five major receptions and many individual meetings and appointments.
    Read More
  • Senior Dinner 2019


    In the first of many graduation traditions, seniors gathered in Hooper Student Center on April 17 for The Webb Schools' annual Senior Dinner.
    Read More
  • Rose (Roll) Shattuck ’99: The Foggy Dog


    Are you looking for the perfect collar for your pooch? How about a bow tie for that special occasion? Or a “Modern Mud Cloth Dog Bandana?” Something so unique, you might find it at retail boutiques such as Anthropologie, DOG & CO., Fideaux, CB2, or White's Mercantile? Well, look no further because VWS alumna Rose (Roll) Shattuck ’99 has set her sights on disrupting the pet industry by combining great design with essential dog products to produce an exciting new line of accessories for pet owners wanting to splurge on high-quality, made-in-America beds, toys, collars, leashes, and more. 
    Read More
Archive

Webb News

List of 4 news stories.

  • Commencement Live Streams

    The Webb Schools is pleased to live stream the Vivian Webb School and Webb School of California Commencement Ceremonies live for those who cannot be here in person. Please use the embedded viewers below to watch, or tune into Webb's Facebook page for a simulcast.
    Read More
  • WEBB Magazine

    A new edition of WEBB magazine arrives to you just after Memorial Day Weekend. Spring/Summer 2019 includes an inspiring letter from Head of Schools Taylor Stockdale on moral clarity, as well as two thought-provoking features on honor and moral courage at Webb and beyond. We highlight alumni thought leaders in a variety of interesting professions throughout.
     
    Our Webb Today section revisits Revisit Day 2019, explores our paleontology research program and museum, profiles faculty, philanthropy and the successes of spring athletics. Nearly 25 pages of alumni news rounds out the issue.
    Read More
  • Class of 2019

    Members of the Class of 2019 faced tremendous competition this year as they applied to colleges and universities across the country and around the world. While each felt the stress of the selective admission process, our seniors proved once again that good character coupled with a dedication to your studies really pays off.
     
    In 2019 we saw 100 percent of the graduating class admitted to a selective four-year college or university—90 percent will attend a college ranked in the top 10 percent in the nation. On average each of our students applied to eight colleges and was admitted to four or more of them.
     
    We congratulate members of the Class of 2019 for their amazing college choices and wish them well on the adventures ahead! 

    Class of 2019 Matriculation

    American University
    Arizona State University
    Babson College - 3
    Boston College
    Boston University - 2
    Brown University - 2
    Chaminade University of Honolulu
    Chapman University
    Colgate University
    Columbia University
    Davidson College
    Emory University
    Harvard University
    Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico
    Johns Hopkins University - 2
    Lake Forest College
    Lewis & Clark College - 2
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Middlebury College
    Mount Saint Mary's University
    New York University - 3
    Northeastern University - 2
    Northwestern University - 2
    Occidental College - 4
    Parsons School of Design
    Pitzer College - 4
    Pomona College
    Queen's University, Canada
    Rice University
    San Francisco State University
    Santa Clara University
    Sarah Lawrence College
    Scripps College - 2
    Skidmore College
    Swarthmore College
    The American University of Paris
    Trinity University
    Tufts University
    Tulane University
    United States Coast Guard Academy
    University of California, Berkeley - 3
    University of California, Davis
    University of California, Los Angeles - 5
    University of California, Riverside - 3
    University of California, Santa Cruz
    University of Chicago
    University of Colorado Boulder - 2
    University of La Verne
    University of Michigan
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of Richmond
    University of San Diego - 2
    University of Southern California -3
    Vanderbilt University
    Vassar College
    Washington University St. Louis - 2
    Wellesley College - 3
    Western Washington University
    Whitman College - 2
    Yale University
    Read More
  • 2019 LA County Science Fair Winners


    VWS Students Finish in Top Rankings at Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair, Qualify for State Finals
     
    Two teams of VWS students received top place awards at the annual Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair, with the opportunity to advance to the state finals.
     
    Rebeca Castro ’20, working solo, finished in second place in the physics category with an experiment studying the biomechanics of a step in flamenco dancing. It was entitled “The Biomechanics of the Golpe.”
     
    Giselle Alrachid ’20 and Caitlin Pender ’20 received third place honors in the plant biology and physiology category for their project – “What is the Closest Relative to the Catasetum Tenebrosum Using DNA Barcoding?”
     
    Read More
Archive

Sports Blog

List of 4 news stories.

  • The Webb Schools of Moral Clarity

    Taylor Stockdale

    Like many of you, I have to admit, I have scandal fatigue. The daily headlines continue to shock and disturb, and recently hit very close to home. The college admissions debacle that rocked the world of higher education last month, also shook the world of secondary prep schools. Several editions ago, in the WEBB magazine, I referenced the selective college admission process in America as a game of sorts. Not a fun game or in any way positive, but rather as an insidious game of rankings, superficial bolstering, all with high-minded applicants hanging in the balance. Many people responded to me that they agreed: there must be a better way.
     
    Read More
  • Our Radically Traditional Webb

    Taylor Stockdale

    As we begin to plan our final push toward The Centennial in 2022, I’ve become increasingly intrigued by the idea of permanence, particularly organizational permanence. What makes some institutions stand the test of time and others simply vanish?
    Read More
  • Honor, Civility and Community

    Taylor Stockdale

    Now that regular classes are officially underway and we are beginning to settle into our regular routines, I am sending out my annual reminder of some of the small but important rules which relate to deportment, respect for one another, and overall civility. Webb prides itself on honor, trust and community. As such, please keep the following in mind as we set out to build our community for the 2018-19 school year.
     
    Honor Each Other
     
    I understand that the use of electronic devices is everywhere. But please, let's say hello to one another when we pass each other on the quad or on a pathway, or wherever we see each other. Let's not forget the power of personal conversation. And let's respect each other enough to drop our phones—if even for a moment—to say hello, and to mean it. Let's also put phones away when in the chapel, and whenever we are an audience. 
    Read More
  • Opening Days -- Remarks

    Taylor Stockdale

    Good afternoon everyone, I’m Taylor Stockdale, Head of The Webb Schools, and it’s my privilege and pleasure to officially welcome you to Webb. I’m delighted to kick-off the school year with you today in this atmosphere of such palpable optimism, energy, and anticipation.
     
    From the time I arrived at Webb over 30 years ago, I have only deepened my admiration—and my love—for this extraordinary institution and this remarkably beautiful place. There’s always a distinctive flavor to any Webb gathering—whether it’s today’s new parent and new student orientation, or our Parents Weekend, or our Affiliates fundraiser and dinner party. I must tell you, too, that the same distinctive flavor is evident even on many of our most ordinary days here on campus. 
    Read More
Archive
The Webb Schools Boarding Preparatory School California Private School Financial Aid Paleontology College Placement Top Academics Faculty Ph.D Community Fun