thanks to CRF member and attorney Alan Mirman for arranging for this
interview with Judge Beckloff. Alan was away and unable to attend the
interview, but we acknowledge his efforts that have paid a nice dividend
in the following article.
Judge Mitchell Beckloff is with the Los Angeles Superior Court
assigned to the Civil Division. He currently presides over a Writs and
Receivers Department. Over the course of his judicial career, Judge
Beckloff has heard matters in the juvenile, family, probate and civil
courts. He was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger twelve years
ago. Prior to his appointment, Judge Beckloff served as a judicial officer
(Juvenile Court Referee and later Commissioner) since 1999 or roughly
twenty years in our judicial system. His law school training: he graduated
magna cum laude from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (a law school
familiar to nearly all California Receivers). He received numerous
academic awards, was Order of Coif, member of Alpha Sigma Nu and an Editor
of the Law Review. His undergraduate degree is from UCLA. Other
judicial assignments include Supervising Judge of the Probate Division
from 2009 to 2013, and Supervising Judge for the Western District of the
Court from 2016 to 2018 and now Writs and Receivers.
Judge Beckloff’s biggest case during this nineteen-year tenure as a
judicial officer: there are two; he was and is the Judge for all purposes
in the Michael Jackson’s probate estate including the alleged sexual
harassment claims. It is his “institutional knowledge” that prevents the
case being reassigned, despite his current assignment Writs and Receivers.
The second largest case also involves a probate matter – the estate of
Mark Hughes, founder of Herbalife, died at a relatively early age leaving
a $350 million fortune to Hughes’ eight-year-old son. Judge Beckloff adds
that it was a 56-day court trial!
Judge Beckloff is quite active in the judicial community. He has taught
new and experienced judges through the Center for Judicial Education and
Research and through the court. He also has frequently spoken on a number
of panels for continuing legal education of the bar.
Where did it all start? Judge Beckloff might be considered an early
globetrotter. He was born in Hawaii where his father was a physician, but
he grew up and was educated in Kansas City, Mo. It was UCLA that brought
him west and the rest is history.
After law school, then counsel Beckloff joined Pillsbury, Madison &
Sutro. Later, he was one of the founding partners of Groman & Beckloff
that, quite interestingly, practiced child custody litigation including
appeals. Both Groman & Beckloff are now Superior Courts Judges and recall
that Judge Beckloff started as a Referee in Juvenile Court hearing child
custody litigation cases.
With regard to receivers, Judge Beckloff reports that he has had
roughly twelve applications and has granted the appointment in six of the
matters. A common thread among many applications for the appointment is
cannabis. Judge Beckloff notes that he finds many proposed orders
overreaching and is frequently required to resize the order to fit the
circumstances. The author told war stories of Judge Bob O’Brien who would
typically have 60 to 70 matters on calendar every morning in the early to
mid-1990s following the real estate crash back then. Ah, the good old
Personally, Judge Beckloff can be described as spirited. When not
wearing the black robe, he can be seen sporting suspenders and reports to
have a large collection. For recreation, he is likely to be found in NYC
at his apartment on the upper east side where he and his husband, Clay
Williams, enjoy all that NYC has to offer including theatre, music in all
forms and unending arts and museums. They travel frequently, including
such lands as Africa and Japan just to mention a couple. The world is
Judge Beckloff is smart, personable, presumably hard working and
dedicated. The Writs and Receivers department could not ask for more.
*Robert P. Mosier is a Southern California receiver and trustee and principal of Mosier & Company, Inc., a firm that has specialized in managing and turning around troubled companies
and real estate projects for more than 35 years