All Rise: Daniel Flores sets own path to judgeship

Being an accomplished professional isn’t for everyone, but it is in reach to all. At least that is what judicial candidate Daniel Flores tries to exemplify in the community.

It is hard work to become a doctor, an engineer or in Flores’ case a lawyer, but Flores’ doesn’t believe that background, race and economic status should be the defining factors in somebody’s future. Born to Salvadorian parents, he is the first in his family to graduate college, and after 13 years as a practicing lawyer, Flores is running for judge of the California Superior Court. If he wins he’ll be the fourth judge out of 50 with Latino roots.

DAF - Remit Photo“The concept that I am a fan of is that things should be normal,” said Flores about being a Latino lawyer. “I like to break down this prestige that’s in the system…It’s hard work (to become a lawyer) but it’s not something that’s impossible. The more Latinos there are in law the more normal it will become for those five and seven year-olds looking at it.”

Born and raised in San Francisco, Flores has stayed within the community practicing both civil litigation as well as criminal defense. Beginning his own practice in 2005, he has received numerous accolades including, Super Lawyer 2013 and Rising Star 2009-2011 among others.

Flores originally started out in the Marines. “I left for the Marine Corp two days after I graduated high school because that was the best option for me at the time. I wasn’t ready for college yet,” he said. Flores wound up going to a California State University and immersing himself completely in school, finishing in just two and a half years with a B.S in Criminal Justice.  While considering a position in law enforcement he serendipitously found a flyer for a law seminar at UC Berkeley, and, after attending, decided to pursue a Juris Doctor in Law at University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

Throughout his studies and professional life Flores has made a point of being a strong and positive force in the community. He has worked on cases pro bono, donated time as as a tutor and mentor, served on various boards and associations to help and inspire others in his field and instituted a local scholarship for students with “less than perfect” academic records to support and encourage hard work and recognize that turning a 180 is a different challenge. Overcoming his own early academic and personal challenges, Flores puts great value on the need for positive reinforcement and encouragement.

feature_endorsements“I myself owe a lot to the people who mentored me. I am eternally grateful to people who put their hand out to me, and I put a high premium on me doing that as well,” Flores said.

For this reason Daniel Flores is LAM’s latest Member of the Month, presented by Ford.

Flores is in his fourth term as a board member of the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association — the largest Latino Bar in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, and he has served as membership director for two terms.

Now running for California Superior Court Judge, Flores believes that he can take his motivation and community involvement and use it at a higher level if elected. “I want to be the most visible judge of San Francisco,” Flores said. He wants to spend time with lawyers and still be involved. Besides being a rarity at lawyer events, judges aren’t often seen out in the community in non-legal arenas either. Flores notes that because judges aren’t allowed to endorse political agendas that it can get tricky to be out at certain events, but he mentions his involvement with Help Mclaren Park, a project designed to rejuvenate San Francisco’s second largest park, and explains that would be involved in neutral matters important for the community as well as continue to be a “go-to resource, much like I’ve been as a lawyer,” he said.

Explaining the role of a judge in the courts, he emphasizes the importance and need for the “human aspect”.

Flores has spent the last seven years in courts every day getting a broad scope of judges’ positions and an understanding of how pivotal it is for judges to be interested and show that they care about the case, the people and the attorney’s work.

“It’s important for the judge to understand how people’s lives are affected by the cases. It can go a long way to achieving justice,” Flores said. “I want to take my perspective of fairness and be able to really care about what’s happening.”

feature_volunteerAs a judge he would also be part of the judicial team; which discusses policy and procedures that affect the court. With his professional background, Flores has confidence that his creativity and tenacity will support the efficiency and effectiveness of the system.

Flores’ words and actions have already resonated with those around him. Endorsed by a long list of attorneys, civic leaders, organizations and California judges, he has shown himself to be an admirable lawyer and valued member of the community. Awaiting the election, Flores looks forward to the opportunity to have the ability to help expand and continue serving San Francisco inside and outside of the court.

The California elections will be held on June 3, 2014. To read more about Daniel Flores and his qualifications visit his website at