Two Empire Law School Alumni Join California Judiciary in 2020

January 27, 2020

Two Empire Law School Alumni Join California Judiciary in 2020



SANTA ROSA, CA—Victoria Shanahan, a 2001 graduate of Empire College School of Law, and Paul Lozada, Class of 2007, have recently been appointed to the California judiciary. This marks 16 Empire College School of Law alumni who are members of the judiciary in California (15) and Arizona (1).



Lozada Paul - Empire Alumni Join California Judiciary Victoria Shanahan - Empire Alumni Joins California Judiciary

Paul Lozada and Victoria Shanahan


            Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of criminal defense attorney Victoria Shanahan to fill a vacancy in the Mendocino Superior Court. Shanahan earned her BA in Environmental Studies from Sonoma State University and worked as an environmental chemist before starting a family and beginning her legal studies. While attending Empire Law School, she interned at the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office as a law clerk and served as chief deputy district attorney at the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office after graduating and passing the bar exam.  In 2007, she was hired by the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office where she prosecuted a broad range of cases including domestic violence, sexual assault, vehicular homicide, and gang cases. She has been a sole practitioner since 2015.

            Paul Lozada has been appointed a Sonoma County Superior Court Commissioner to oversee a new pretrial release program. Lozada has had a 30-year career with the law. In 1984, after completing his enlistment as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps, he commenced a 20-year career in law enforcement, beginning his career as a deputy sheriff, detective and criminal investigator for the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office. He retired from law enforcement in 2004, attended and graduated cum laude from Empire College School of Law in 2007, and practices family law. He has successfully represented clients with dissolutions, child custody, spousal support, and child support. In 2010 Lozada became an adjunct faculty member of Empire Law School, teaching Legal Research and Writing to incoming law students.

            Founded in 1973, Empire College School of Law has small sections and class sizes that encourage a strong sense of community, accomplished faculty who are practicing attorneys or judges, and an array of clinical education opportunities for students to acquire practical experience applying the law and working with clients. Its alumni comprise approximately 25 percent of the Sonoma County Bar.

For additional information on Empire College or the School of Law, call (707) 546-4000 or visit

Diane Aqui, Esq.

(Class of 2001)
Empire College gave me the opportunity to earn a Juris Doctorate while still working full time in my “first” career as an engineer. The professors are all practicing attorneys and judges and it is clear that they love what they do---guiding, teaching and mentoring a new group of potential lawyers, who one day will be their peers and practice alongside them in the legal community. I think one of my favorite cases since I graduated in 2001 was against a former Empire professor and I walked away with a win!

Andrew Conway, Esq.

(Class of 2014)
I decided to go to law school after interning for the Diversion program for the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office while I was in college. Empire provided me with friends who became colleagues, and Professors who became the Judges I appear in front of today. I have always wanted to work with the law and youth and I now manage a Dependency contract for Mendocino County, which has become my dream career as I get to do the exact job I wanted when I decided to go to law school. I definitely have my dream job thanks to Empire and their exceptional professors.

James V. Sansone, Esq.

(Class of 2006)
I picked Empire College because I had to juggle between family obligations and a fulltime job. Empire was the only option that allowed me to effectively manage my work and family obligations and still pursue a law degree. Thanks to Empire, I was able to pass the bar exam on my first try and begin a new, exciting, and lucrative legal career that I love.