Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Federal Judge Barbara L. Major discusses legal and personal responsibility with SD High School of International Studies students

A frank discussion of the legal issues encountered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major provided a lively event recently for San Diego High School of International Studies students as Judge Major discussed her life on the federal bench and professional career.

Judge Major Part of the school's "Inside the Courtroom" series in cooperation with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, the program brings leaders of San Diego's judicial community to the downtown campus to give students an idea of how they reached their career goals, experiences along the way, and what as jurists they can share with today's teenagers.

Judge Major said it is an extremely bad idea to accept an offer to drive a vehicle over the border. She sees countless cases where the person had no idea what was actually in the car and was arrested for trafficking drugs. The law is clear on this issue and does involve time in jail. Judge Major has been on the federal bench since 2004, following a term as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. She earned her B.A. from Stanford University in 1983, and her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley in 1987.

While the focus of the event was current topics in civil law, Judge Major entertained the audience with stories of her career as a young lawyer at a large law firm, an Assistant U.S. Attorney and a federal magistrate judge. In addition, Judge Major provided students with her perspective on how the legal profession has become more accepting of women, as well as the challenges they still face. The Jan. 29 event closed with a lively question and answer session.

The “Inside the Courtroom” program is a collaboration between San Diego High School of International Studies and the U.S. District Court for the District of Southern California. Modeled after James Lipton’s television series Inside the Actors Studio, its speakers provide a unique opportunity for International Studies students to get a realistic perspective of the legal profession and the role of law in their lives. The series provides students in the school’s legal pathway an opportunity to enrich their understanding of the law via interaction with its professionals. Speakers cover topics specifically selected to augment content from the classroom while describing its real-world application in a vocational context.

The program continues on Feb. 26 with the Hon. Margaret Mann from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California. Previous speakers include the Hon. Jeffrey T. Miller from the U.S. District Court. For more information or guest speaker suggestions please contact Patrick Goddard at pgoddard@sandi.net.