Justice Fybel was born and grew up in Southern California. He is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (A.B. 1968) and the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law (J.D. 1971; Law Review; Order of the Coif).
In February 2002, his appointment as an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three (Santa Ana) was confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. Justice Fybel was a judge of the Orange County Superior Court since April 2000. His assignments included criminal and civil cases.
Since 2004, Justice Fybel has been the Chair of the California Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Ethics. Effective January 1, 2013, the Supreme Court amended the Code in a comprehensive manner based on recommendations of its Advisory Committee. He was also the Chair of the California Supreme Court committee responsible for recommending the structure and rules for the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions.
Justice Fybel was the 2005 UCLA Law School Alumnus of the Year for Public and Community Service. Justice Fybel received the 2012 Award for Achievement in Public Service from the Public Interest Law Foundation of Chapman University School of Law. He is a member of the Ferguson American Inn of Court and he received the Inn’s President’s Award. Justice Fybel received the Lifetime Achievement Award from his undergraduate fraternity at UCLA.
Justice Fybel co-edited with Professor M. Katherine B. Darmer the book entitled National Security, Civil Liberties, and the War on Terror published in 2011 by Prometheus Books. He is the author of a chapter in the book entitled “The Absence of Judicial Ethics: The German Legal System, 1933-1945.” In 2012, an adaptation of the chapter was published in California Litigation (the Journal of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California). Justice Fybel spoke on this subject to the State Bar of California, UCI School of Law, law students organized by the Public Law Center, the Orange County Bar Association’s Jewish Lawyers Section, the American Jewish Committee, University Synagogue and the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals.
Justice Fybel is an Adjunct Professor at Chapman Law School, co-teaching a seminar on The Holocaust, Genocide and the Law. He is a founder of the Ruth and Ernest Fybel Endowed Fund for Literature on Children of the Holocaust, established at the Chapman University Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library. Justice Fybel spoke on “An Analysis of the German Legal System, 1933-1945, and the Nuremberg Trials” to the Cardozo Society, a symposium at Chapman University, and the Ferguson Inn of Court. He was a member of the 2010 Holocaust Program Planning Committee for “How the Courts Failed Germany,” cosponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the University of California and the Judicial Council, and was a panel member in the program at UCI.
He was the President of the Board of Directors of University Synagogue in Irvine from July 2010 through June 2012. Justice Fybel is a member of the Boards of Visitors of Chapman Law School and The Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education at Chapman University.
Justice Fybel was a member of the Judicial Candidate Conduct Task Force of the California Commission for Impartial Courts. He addressed the subject of judicial ethics in campaigns at a symposium on “Judicial Ethics and Accountability: At Home and Abroad” at McGeorge Law School and is a co‑author of an article on the subject published in volume 42 University of the Pacific McGeorge Law Review 135 (2010).
Justice Fybel is the author of Honest Lawyers Make Good Lawyers—Thoughts on Ethics and Civility in the Legal Profession (Nov./Dec. 2006) 19 Utah Bar J. 11. He was the commencement speaker at the graduation of the Class of 2010 at Chapman Law School. In 2011 and 2012, Justice Fybel addressed incoming law students at the University of California, Irvine School of Law on the subject of civility in the legal profession.
Justice Fybel was the President of the UCLA Law Alumni Association and an officer of the Board of Trustees of the Orange County Public Law Library. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the OCBA Masters Division. Justice Fybel has also served as a member of the Kleps Award Committee, honoring contributions made by California courts to the administration of justice; the UCLA Foundation Board of Councillors; a judge for the Constitutional Rights Foundation, UCLA School of Law, Chapman Law School, the statewide Traynor Moot Court Competition and the regional finals of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, and the New York City Bar Association National Moot Court Competition; and a speaker in school programs sponsored by the Orange County Education Department and the Orange County Bar Association.
Justice Fybel has taught classes and spoken at events sponsored by the Judicial College of the California Courts (“Making an Effective Record for Appeal”); the Center for Judicial Education and Research of the Administrative Office of the Courts (The 2013 Amendments to the Code of Judicial Ethics; “Legal Ethics for Appellate Court Employees and Attorneys”; “Recovery of Attorney Fees”; and “Use of Financial Documents in the Courtroom”); the California Judges Association; the State Bar of California (“Statements of Decision”); the State Bar of Utah; the American Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the Orange County and Los Angeles County Bar Associations; the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (including “Security & Privacy Actions: The Changing Landscape for Business Litigators”; “Practice Before the Court of Appeal”; and “Judicial Ethics”); the Los Angeles Superior Court (The 2013 Amendments); Pincus Professional Education (“State Appeals”); the Rutter Group (“Summary Judgment and Other Terminating Motions”); the Business Litigation, Appellate, and Labor and Employment Law Sections of the OCBA; the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association; the Ferguson Inn of Court; and the Constitutional Rights Foundation.
Prior to his judicial appointment, Justice Fybel was a partner in the law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP. Justice Fybel specialized in civil business litigation.