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May 17, 2011


Mark D Olson

I disagree with Public Lawyer - many appeals turn on evidentiary issues and how the trial court managed a case. Trial lawyers learn their trade via (forgive me for this) trial and error - with much of the latter when you first start.

In-house counsel simply do not have the exposure to trial court decision making - it is something you can learn a little about by watching, but when you have your first big case with tough issues, you learn very quickly the level of effort and concentration and speed on feet required to manage a hotly contested case first chair at trial. It is difficult to understand how someone with Zero trial work can be placed on a federal appellate bench. My vote would have been No.

public lawyer

The senators are carefully or strategically ignoring the difference between district court judgeships, which of course require trial courtroom experience, and appellate court judgeships, which require chiefly legal reasoning and excellent writing skills. One may gain appropriate experience to become a wonderful appellate judge in many ways. Having tried a case to a jury can be helpful and good, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient for being a great appellate judge.

Lynn Hecht Schafran

How fortunate for Judge Harvie Wilkerson that when he was nominated to the 4th Circuit many years ago no Senators were concerned about the fact that he had never written a brief, argued a case, etc., etc. He had, however, clerked on the Supreme Court and worked in the Justice Department, and apparently that was enough.

Lynn Hecht Schafran


I'm just glad you didn't report that Chatigny withdrew his nomination, an unsupported claim the Connecticut press, even its senior, supposedly best reporters, won't stop reporting as if it is fact.

Jill Smith

Wasn't Jose Cabranes also Yale's in-house counsel before becoming a judge?

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