San Diego Superior Court Judge Kenneth K. So Retires

Mar 29, 2023
Judge Kenneth K. So

The Honorable Kenneth K. So recently retired from the San Diego Superior Court, capping 25 years on this bench, along with another nearly four years as a municipal court judge.

Appointed as a judge in San Diego County in 1994, Judge So served as presiding judge from September 2007 to December 2009 and as assistant presiding judge from January 2006 to September 2007.

Judge So’s tenure as presiding judge brought a steady hand during some of the most difficult years of budget challenges for courts throughout the state. Another career highlight includes chairing the advisory committee for the construction of the new Central Courthouse that opened in 2017.

“I have been extremely fortunate to have had one of the most rewarding jobs in the world,” said Judge So.

Prior to taking the bench, Judge So had a career in public service at the City of San Diego’s Attorney’s Office from 1977 to 1994 aside from a short stint as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan in 1979. Upon his return to the City Attorney’s Office in 1980, he handled the defense and prosecution of civil lawsuits involving the City of San Diego. From 1991 to 1994, Judge So was the Chief Deputy City Attorney supervising the division providing legal guidance and support to the Mayor, City Council, Civil Service Commission, Retirement Board, Police Department, and Personnel Department Employment Committee.

“You would be hard-pressed to find a judge as well-liked and respected as Judge So, not only by his fellow judges, but also by litigants, attorneys, and court staff,” said Judge Michael T. Smyth, San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge. “Personally, I have turned to Judge So for thoughtful guidance from when I first interned for him as a law student over 30 years ago, to now as presiding judge where I have relied on his sage advice in dealing with all manner of issues. We will all miss him terribly.”

Judge So was appointed by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to serve on the California Judicial Council, a role he held for over 10 years.

Judge So served on several Judicial Council committees, including the Policy Coordination and Liaison Committee, the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions, Executive and Planning Committee, Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, and Enterprise-wide Infrastructure Governance Committee as well as the Trial Court Budget Working Group and Presiding Judge/Court Executive Officer Rules and Roles Analysis Working Group.