Ms. Zelon serves as an associate justice of the California Court of Appeal. She was born in Durham, North Carolina. She received her B.A. degree in 1974 from Cornell University with distinction in all subjects, and her J.D. degree in 1977 from Harvard Law School. She was admitted to the California Bar in 1977. Ms. Zelon joined Morrison & Foerster as a partner in 1991 where, prior to her appointment to the Superior Court in 2000, she had an active litigation practice. Prior to joining Morrison & Foerster she was a partner at Hufstedler, Kaus & Ettinger.
Ms. Zelon is past President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She is a past member of its Board of Trustees, and chaired numerous committees. She is past Chair of the Lawyer Representatives from the Central District of California to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. In the American Bar Association, she served as Chair of the Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Public Service Responsibility, the national Law Firm Pro Bono Project, and the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, and as a member of the Consortium on Law and the Public and the Ethics 2000 Commission. She was the California State Delegate to the House of Delegates, and a member of the Board of Governors. She is past Chair of the California Commission on Access to Justice.
She has spoken widely concerning pro bono, public services, and legal and judicial education. She received the William Reece Smith, Jr. Special Services To Pro Bono Award (1993), the Charles Dorsey Award (National Legal Aid & Defenders Association)(1999), the Loren Miller Legal Services Award (State Bar of California)(2000), the Benjamin Aranda Award(2010), and the Maynard Toll Award (2014). She was the first recipient, in February 2000, of the Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award, given by the Pro Bono Institute of Washington, D.C.