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November 2018 MCLE: The Metamorphosis of an Advocate to a Judicial Officer with Commissioner Erin Childs, Judge Tana Coates and Judge Matthew Guerrero

  • Upper Crust Trattoria 11560 Los Osos Valley Road San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401 United States (map)

Women Lawyers Association

The Metamorphosis of an Advocate to a Judicial Officer with Commissioner Erin Childs, Judge Tana Coates and Judge Matthew Guerrero

This presentation will discuss the challenges that these judicial officers have recently gone through as they transitioned from legal advocates to bench officers. In addition to providing insight into the ethical challenges they confronted during this transition, they will also discuss areas that impact your practice including:

  • Effective advocacy

  • Effective writing

  • Challenges of surprise in advocacy (Example: I don’t want to show you my cards but I want you to rule for me on this motion.) 

Please join us!


Judge Tana Coates After practicing law for 25 years in this County, Judge Coates was appointed by Governor Brown to fill the opening created by Justice Tangeman’s elevation to the Court of Appeal on May 22, 2017. She started work as a bench officer June 12, 2017.  Her first assignment was a misdemeanor calendar.

On January 1, 2018, Judge Coates took over the civil and probate calendars, and is the presiding judge of the Appellate Division. Although she misses practicing law with her husband and former law partner Greg, Judge Coates enjoys her new job immensely.

Judge Tana Coates

Judge Tana Coates

Commissioner Erin Childs

Commissioner Erin Childs

Commissioner Erin M. Childs has been the Family Law Commissioner for the Superior Court of San Luis Obispo County since January 2017, and was an AB 1058 Commissioner for the Fresno County Superior Court for 10 months prior to that.  For nearly 14 years, Commissioner Childs ran her own family law firm.  As an attorney, she was a judge pro tem in small claims and family law, court-appointed minor’s counsel, and a court-appointed attorney representing parties whose parental rights were subject to termination.

Commissioner Childs enjoys serving on various committees and boards. Despite all of the fun stuff she gets to do through work, her favorite job by far is raising Conor, Lauren, and her faithful chocolate lab with her very patient husband Joe.

Judge Matthew Guerrero Judge Matthew Guerrero is the newest Judicial officer of the San Luis Obispo Superior Court, where he presides over a felony and misdemeanor calendar.  Prior to being appointed, he spent 16 years at the public defender's office and also practiced civil litigation.  A resident of the central coast since January 1, 2000, these 18 years have been transformative for him.

Cynthia and Matt married in 2003 after meeting in the last year of law school and started a family two years later.  They have two children, Amelie (13) and Christian (11).  Both are amazing and unique in their own ways and while some have joked that they created clones, each has grown and learned a lot about raising children and about themselves as people and parents.  For Judge Guerrero, with a boy who is similar to him in nearly every way, the lessons haven’t always been positive and he sometimes feels the need to call his mother and apologize!  Not ever expecting to have children, he cried the day his daughter was born.  Beautiful inside and out, she has amazed him every day since. Judge Guerrero considers sitting on the bench the highest level of public and community service and is honored to serve the San Luis Obispo community.

Judge Matthew Guerrero

Judge Matthew Guerrero



1 Hour MCLE Credit Offered

Payment Information:

Students - $16.50*
Members - $26.50*
Non-Members - $36.50*

*Discounted pricing is available for cash or checks mailed to WLASLO, P.O. Box 3918, San Luis Obispo, CA 93403-3918: Students: $15, Members: $25, Non-Members: $35

** If you are paying by mail, please email Kara Stein-Conaway at stating that you've mailed your check and the names of those who will be attending. 


Walk-ins are welcome on a first come/first served basis, however, it really helps us to plan and Upper Crust to set up properly if you reserve ahead of time.  

We look forward to your participation!
Sorry, but we cannot accommodate refund requests.

This program qualifies for:
1 Hour of MCLE credit total, which includes .5 hours of ethics credit.