Here Come the Judges

Federal Judicial Training Program to Debut


A new seminar will offer mid-career federal judges an opportunity to reflect on their years on the bench and learn from their own experiences and those of their peers. The Mid-Career Seminar for U.S. District Judges is the product of a new partnership between the Federal Judicial Center (FJC), which provides training programs and resources for federal judges, and Vanderbilt Law School.

The first seminar will be offered this fall at Vanderbilt Law School, led by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, director of the FJC, and Terry Maroney, a professor of law and a professor of medicine, health and society at Vanderbilt.

“This seminar will provide a training opportunity for federal district court judges who have been on the job between five and 10 years,” Maroney says. “These judges have been on the bench long enough to know their strengths and weaknesses, and to have developed their own judicial philosophies and personalities. This is a perfect time for them to re-engage with their aspirations in becoming judges.”

The seminar adds a third phase to the training the FJC currently provides federal judges. All newly appointed federal judges receive FJC training that addresses the job basics. That entry-level training is followed within months by a second training session that addresses the knowledge, skills and attributes judges need at the beginning of their careers.

In 2012, Maroney and Fogel, along with Appellate Judge David Hamilton of the Seventh Circuit, worked together to develop and lead a session offering recently appointed judges insights on ways to cope with the emotional challenges of the job, particularly when it comes to criminal sentencing. This session is now offered in the second training phase for judges serving on the U.S. district courts.

Building on that collaboration Maroney and Fogel developed the new Mid-Career Seminar. Approximately 30 judges each year will be accepted for the Mid-Career Seminar through an application process.

Vanderbilt Law School is home to the Branstetter Program in Litigation and Dispute Resolution; the American Judicature Society, a 100-year-old organization dedicated to protecting judicial integrity, which moved its headquarters to Nashville this past summer; and a unique law and neuroscience program that is partnering with the judiciary to provide training on law and the brain. The latter program is headed by Owen Jones, who is the New York Alumni Chancellor’s Professor of Law and a professor of biological sciences.

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