Judge Teri L. Jackson ‘Zealous Woman’

You might not expect a candid, insightful interview with a California Superior Court judge from a website affiliated with a lawfirm, but that’s what you get with a profile of Judge Teri L. Jackson at the “Zealous Women” site.terijackson-1

Judge Jackson is the first African-American woman to sit on the state’s Superior Court Bench, the interview notes, and that offers a different perspective.

You know,” Judge Jackson says in the interview, “I never looked at it as being a pioneer. I looked at it as a lot of people who had come before me who should have achieved what I have. I might have been the first to accomplish it, but there were many people who laid the path for me to walk, and they carried and dragged me along the way and still do. So I guess yes, you’re right, I’m the first to achieve this, but I’m not the first to go after this. And I am the beneficiary of a lot of people and a lot of sacrifices.”

She also tells about her father’s plan that his OTHER daughter would be the lawyer, about live-work balance with her “posse” and other issues. That includes this chilling advice for lawyers in her court: “Please understand we do read your briefs… reading verbatim your brief is not well-prepared.”

You have been warned.

And speaking of perspective, the judge opens up a bit about sitting on the bench.

From the article: “Judge Jackson, who has been on the bench for approximately a decade now, noticed a significant transition from lawyer to judge. ‘When you’re an advocate-and I’ve been on both sides of the aisle; I’ve done prosecution and also defense-your back is to the audience and you’re zealously advocating for your side. But, you don’t see the impact it has on your clients, or the victims, or the families, and so forth. As a judge, you sit as a neutral. You don’t look at it as a case, you look at it as a decision that you’re going to make that will have an impact on people.’”

“It has been a rude awakening,” Judge Jackson continues. “My back is no longer to the person whom whatever I’m doing is going to affect. And it makes me realize that they’re not cases, they’re individuals and even antitrust has impact on someone and now I see it, because I see them in the audience.”

A very human report in an area where we don’t get much beyond the headlines. Worth a look. Credits are that the piece was written by Heather T. Rankie; interview conducted by Heather T. Rankie and Qianwei Fu, Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP. The website is obviously connected with the firm, but has a voice distinct from the “official” site.

You can find the story here.