If newly confirmed U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is smiling when she steps onto the bench, lawyers shouldn't let their guard down. Past and present colleagues described Jackson as cheerful and easy to work with, but warned that attorneys should expect pointed questions that speak to her understanding of the law and breadth of expertise.
"Because she is a person that comes across as very friendly, people should not take that for granted. She is really deeply thinking about the issues before her," said Brian Matsui, a partner at Morrison & Foerster who worked with Jackson when she was of counsel at the firm.
The U.S. Senate confirmed Jackson, 42, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 22. A member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission since 2010, Jackson is expected to keep her position on the commission, serving with two other members who are also judges – U.S. District Chief Judge Patti Saris of Massachusetts and U.S. District Chief Judge Ricardo Hinojosa of the Southern District of Texas.