How Judges Decide: January 12 Evening CLE Seminar

Learn about the factors that go into a judge’s decision making

judges-decide-regAlmost 100 years ago, our great jurist, Benjamin N. Cardozo, declared:  “The great tides and currents which engulf the rest of men, do not turn aside in their course, and pass judges by.”

This panel will explore what informs a judge. Why is one judge perhaps more sympathetic (even empathetic) than another? Is it gender, race, maybe the social class the judge was born to?  Will judges recognize and admit their priors, as Judge Richard Posner calls those extrajudicial beliefs and influences?   As a litigator, is it helpful to know what influences a judge?  Do you want to use a judge’s extrajudicial writings (even blog posts) as a basis for recusal?

This program is based, in part, on moderator Joel Cohen’s book, Blindfolds Off: Judges on How They Decide in which he interviewed 13 federal judges about controversial decisions, settlements and rulings and asked about what personal bias and experience the judges brought to the courtroom.  The book includes interviews with panelists Judge Alex Kozinski (who spoke about his colleagues’ “unselfconscious cultural elitism”) and retired Judge Vaughn Walker (who spoke about his decision in the Proposition 8 case and the post-decision challenge based on his acknowledgement that he is gay).”

Seminar Speakers

Judge Alex Kozinski
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Senior District Judge Susan Illston
United States District Court
Northern District of California

Retired Judge Vaughn R. Walker

Joel Cohen 
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan
Author of Blindfolds Off: Judges on How They Decide

Nanci Clarence 
Clarence Dyer & Cohen


blindfolds-offRead the book reviews




Register for this January 12 seminar that takes place from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at The Bar Association of San Francisco.