Vaino Hassan Spencer served as the first black female judge in Los Angeles. Spencer was born on July 22, 1920. After graduating high school in 1938, she attended the Los Angeles City College where she earned an associate of arts degree. She later attended Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles where she obtained a bachelor degree in law. In 1952, she passed the California Bar.
In 1961, she was appointed Municipal Court judge by Democrat Governor Edmund G. ”Pat” Brown for the Los Angeles Judicial District. Spencer was the first African American woman to serve on the bench in California and the third black female judge in the history of the United States.
While serving in office, Judge Spencer devoted time to legal and civil rights activities during the 1960s. She also spent time serving on the California Attorney General’s Committee on Constitutional Rights and the NAACP.
In 1976, California Democratic Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown appointed Judge Spencer to Los Angeles County Superior Court. She was assigned to civil and criminal cases and juvenile and family law matters.