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Roadways to the Bench: Who Me? A Bankruptcy or Magistrate Judge?

The federal Judiciary, led by the Judicial Conference Committees on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System and the Magistrate Judges System, held the second iteration of the national diversity event for law students and attorneys, "Roadways to the Bench: Who Me? A Bankruptcy or Magistrate Judge?" on April 3, 2023 at 38 locations across the United States.

The event began with a national panel discussion, then moved into local roundtable sessions at which participants had the opportunity to interact with federal judges. More than 600 federal judges and 2,000 current law students and attorneys attended.

National Panel Presentation

Four federal judges engaged in a panel discussion, live-streamed from Washington, D.C. to the other 37 event locations, about their respective roadways to the federal bench. Judge Carl E. Stewart (Fifth Circuit) moderated the panel. The panelists were:

  • Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis (Sixth Circuit), who previously served as a district judge from 2019 to 2022 and as a magistrate judge from 2016 to 2019
  • Chief Judge Laura Taylor Swain (New York-Southern), who previously served as a bankruptcy judge from 1996 to 2000
  • Bankruptcy Judge Kesha Lynn Tanabe (Minnesota)
  • Magistrate Judge Mustafa T. Kasubhai (Oregon)

Local Roundtable Sessions

After the national presentation, the program proceeded to in-person local roundtable sessions among law students, attorneys, and federal judges from the surrounding area. Many locations also held receptions following the roundtables.

Event Locations and Contacts

Albuquerque, NM Las Vegas, NV Phoenix, AZ
Atlanta, GA Los Angeles, CA Pittsburgh, PA
Austin, TX Miami, FL Portland, OR
Boston, MA Milwaukee, WI Raleigh, NC
Chicago, IL Minneapolis, MN Salt Lake City, UT
Cincinnati, OH Morgantown, WV San Juan, PR
Cleveland, OH Nashville, TN St. Louis, MO
Columbia, SC New Orleans, LA Seattle, WA
Dallas, TX New York City, NY Syracuse, NY
Denver, CO Oakland, CA Tampa, FL
Eugene, OR Oklahoma City, OK Tucson, AZ
Houston, TX Orlando, FL Washington, DC
Kansas City, MO Philadelphia, PA  

Diversity Matters

The “Roadways” event aims to further the judiciary’s goal of casting a wide net to attract the broadest possible pool of qualified applicants from which to select new bankruptcy and magistrate judges. This goal aligns with the Strategic Plan for the Federal Judiciary and specifically Issue 4, Strategy 4.1, and the Core Value of Diversity and Respect, which highlight diversity because it promotes public confidence that the judicial system is fair and objective.

2019 Event Information

Panelists speak during a diversity symposium for law students and lawyers.

The panelists talk during the 2019 event. 

The 2019 program informed law students and attorneys about federal judgeships with a spotlight on bankruptcy judgeships. The event featured a live broadcasted national panel discussion from Washington, DC, followed by local roundtable discussions in 19 cities around the United States with the federal bench, bar association members, and law students.

The panel discussion was moderated by Retired U.S. Appeals Judge Andre Davis, Fourth Circuit, and included:

  • U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, District of Columbia
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Bailey, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert A. Gordon, District of Maryland

The panel discussed a wide range of topics, including bankruptcy practice, how to succeed as a bankruptcy judge, diversity statistics, why diversity is important, how to improve diversity, and what students and attorneys should do to enhance their chances of one day becoming a bankruptcy judge.

Please contact 202-502-1800 for more information.