Reflections from the Bench
Personal essays by your fellow judges (active or retired) talking about their experiences in the judiciary. Have an idea for an essay? Email it to email@example.com.
By Hon. Jess Clanton Jr. (Ret.)
Changes in laws and in everyday practices seem to crawl along in our court system, usually brought about by absolute necessity and occurring every decade or so. I discovered changes that I hadn’t known about when I returned to the bench for the last 10 months of 2018.
Photo: The author, far right, with staff and team leaders of the
group monitoring a peace agreement in South Sudan
By Hon. Larry G. Sage (Ret.)
My first entry into the cafeteria at a U.N. mission in South Sudan reminded me of the cantina scene in the original Star Wars movie.
By Hon. T. W. Small (Ret.)
Note: The following excerpts are from You Are Not a Lawyer Anymore: A Primer for Those Who Want to Be a Good Judge (2018). They appear here with the permission of the author. The book’s foreword states that Judge Small hopes that by sharing what he learned in his many years on the bench “it
By Hon. David J. Dreyer
“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.”
― T.S. Eliot
Great poets are able to discover great truths – as long as they use language wisely. For example, Mr. Eliot’s observation does not indicate that our wishes will ever come to be, only that they can be made “possible.”
By Hon. Karen S. Adam (Ret.)
I reread cases I hadn’t looked at since law school. I reviewed law review articles and blog posts. I honed my PowerPoint and teaching notes to perfection.
By Hon. David Certo
As a judge, I have a lot of authority but no magic powers. I cannot change the past, make people fall in love, or turn unhappy people into happy people. What I can – and must – do is help defendants develop and follow plans to overcome their problems and prevent havoc from spreading in our community.