Young Federal Judge Leaves The Bench, Joins Biglaw Firm

Young Federal Judge Leaves The Bench, Joins Biglaw Firm
Biglaw, Courts
Mar 2023

Young Federal Judge Leaves The Bench, Joins Biglaw Firm
Young federal judges are pulling the plugs on their lifetime appointments left and right -- and the latest to do so is heading to greener pastures, at least money wise, at one of the most successful Biglaw firms in the business.

Back in December, Judge George Hazel of the District of Maryland announced that he would be resigning from the bench to return to private practice. The 47-year-old Obama appointee officially called it quits on February 24, 2023, and said it was "the highest honor and privilege to serve the public as a United States District Judge," and that he'd "always cherish [his] time on the Bench."

So, where is Hazel headed? Gibson Dunn recently announced that the judge would be joining the firm as a partner in Washington, D.C., where he'll work in the litigation and white collar defense and investigations practices.

Hazel is the latest in a series of young judges to leave the federal bench. Reuters has the details:

In January, Gary Feinerman joined Latham & Watkins from the federal bench in Chicago at age 57. Last April, Alabama federal judge Abdul Kallon resigned at 53 and later joined Perkins Coie, and in September Gibson Dunn hired Gregg Costa after he left the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Houston at age 50.

And let's not forget about about 55-year-old Judge Paul Watford of the Ninth Circuit, whose time on the bench will come to an end in May. He, too, is headed back to private practice.

Are all of these jurists leaving to give Biden a leg up when it comes to announcing judicial nominees? Or is the lure of Biglaw and its golden handcuffs just that strong? Best of luck at the firm, Your Honor!

Maryland federal judge joins Gibson Dunn after leaving bench at 47 [Reuters]

Young Federal Judge Leaves The Bench, Joins Biglaw Firm
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she's worked since 2011. She'd love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.