Behind the Curtain

By , September 20, 2012 2:52 pm

by Emily Smith

Being my first blog post for LLOPS, I thought I’d start out on a (somewhat) personal note. In my now seemingly long-past life as a practicing attorney, I spent a year clerking for Judge Block of the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn and Long Island to those of you from NYC). The year was not without its challenges, but I’d do it over again in a heartbeat. From the outside a federal court can seem like something of a black box, and my experience from that year has helped to give me a leg up as a new law librarian, whenever I need to deal with docket questions, or pester court clerks or judges’ secretaries or case managers. So I was particularly interested to hear that Judge Block recently published a book about his experiences on the bench (Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge, Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2012), providing some insight into the inner workings of a federal court and the mind of a federal judge.

From Thomson Reuters’ blog:

Appointed to the federal bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, Judge Block provides commentary throughout DISROBED on some of the most prominent and sensational cases that he has presided over during his nearly 20 years as a federal judge. DISROBED takes you into the courtroom and chambers of a federal judge, offering a rare and real look at some of the least-talked-about aspects of the bench, including the difficulties of sentencing and the mental toll it takes knowing you have the power to drastically alter someone’s life and liberty.

I haven’t read the book (yet) but it’s garnered a fair amount of good press and might be of interest to anyone interested in getting a better sense of what goes on behind those docket sheets we’re always pulling from PACER. And if your reading list is already too long, tune in to the Colbert Report on October 2 at 11:30 — the Judge has apparently landed himself a guest spot on the show, as I learned recently from one of my former co-clerks.  Wonder if the Judge will wear his robe?


One Response to “Behind the Curtain”

  1. Brenna says:

    As someone who spends a part of each day searching Pacer, and other docket dimensions, I appreciate your posting. Sounds like an interesting read. Thank you.

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