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APRIL 2014 - Women on the Bench
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Four Federal Judges Joined USC’s WLA and GLO for Women on the Bench: Part II

On March 12, WLALA Board Member Judge Sandra Klein (Bankruptcy) joined Judge Suzanne Segal (Magistrate), Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell (District Court), and Judge Jacqueline Nguyen (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) for the second part of USC’s two-part series featuring women judges in the area.

Speaking in a conversational-style panel, the judges answered questions from students about what life is like as a Federal judge.  In addition to sharing their backstories, the judges described their individual philosophies with regards to work-life balance and how best to mentor term- and career-clerks.

“This was an amazing way for our members to not only answer questions about what it takes to secure a clerkship, but also to get a glimpse at the careers and personalities of some truly inspiring women,” said Paige Smith, President of USC’s WLA.

When asked whether life has changed for women attorneys or judges since they began their career, several judges nodded.  Judge Reid O’Connell expressed that she was once mistaken for a court reporter, which she believed would not happen in 2014.


The Judges offered up several suggestions for how to allow one’s clerks to meet the demands of their position while still maintaining a family life, such as flexible schedules allowing for clerks to come in much earlier but in turn leave earlier, as well.  Though each judge had distinct philosophies about how to run chambers, they all expressed agreement over one issue: to maintain harmony amongst clerks during especially difficult work weeks, cookies and popcorn are a must!