Stephanie Hulsey is the most recent MCL graduate to be elected as a judge of the Monterey County Superior Court. She is the ninth MCL graduate to be selected to serve as a judicial officer. Prior to being elected judge, Stephanie served for 16 years with the Monterey District Attorney’s Office, most recently as the Assistant District Attorney.
Stephanie’s life journey reflects a common theme for MCL law students who frequently have unique and accomplished careers prior to attending law school. In Stephanie’s case, you could say that her journey has taken her from one stage (Opera) to another (Judicial Bench). A native of the central coast, Stephanie moved from Scotts Valley to Manhattan to pursue her musical career. She earned her Bachelors and Masters from the Manhattan School of Music and found success in opera, off-Broadway musicals, and national musical tours. After 13 years in New York, Stephanie returned to the central coast for what she thought was a temporary stay to be with her father who was facing several serious medical conditions.
“That was one of the best life decisions that I ever made, because I had 10 wonderful years with my father before he passed away. I also got married and realized that the Monterey Peninsula was the best place in the world to live.” Having decided to stay in California, she realized that she would need to make a career change. “I went to a Monterey College of Law informational session and found the idea of studying law intriguing. I took the LSAT, applied, was accepted to MCL, and I loved it from the very first day.”
She discovered that she liked criminal law and particularly the role of the prosecutor. “In my professional responsibility class, I learned that the role of the prosecutor is to seek justice on behalf of the public. That really resonated with me and it directed me towards the District Attorney’s office as a career choice.”
As a measure of the respect that Stephanie has earned in her years in the DA’s office, when she was convinced by her peers to run for an open judicial position, she was unopposed in the election. Her campaign received broad support from judges and lawyers throughout the community and from voters across the entire political spectrum. At her recent judicial swearing-in ceremony, Stephanie recognized the role that MCL has played in her professional life. “None of this would have been possible without the opportunity that MCL provided. I am both honored and grateful to be part of the MCL community.”
Stephanie has been active on many non-profit boards within the community, including the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center, Leadership Monterey Peninsula, and Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula. Stephanie has also served as a member and former Chair of the MCL Board of Trustees.