A Conversation With California Supreme Court Associate Justice Leondra Kruger
By: Andrea Schoor
On December 6, 2016, five local and state women’s bar associations, including WLALA, hosted an event featuring California Supreme Court Associate Justice Leondra Kruger. Justice Kruger was sworn in on January 5, 2015, after a career serving in many of the nation’s most prestigious legal posts, including as clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court (2003-2004) and to Judge David S. Tatel of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (2002-2003). Justice Kruger was introduced by United States District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall. The event was held at the LA Law Library, which had on display a special exhibition dedicated to the history of women in the law.
The event was well-attended, with an active audience who asked questions ranging from how many years out of law school Justice Kruger was when she first argued before the United States Supreme Court (six years!) to Justice Kruger’s interview with Governor Jerry Brown (she was offered the nomination within 24 hours!). Among other things, Justice Kruger spoke about her time serving in the United States Department of Justice as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, during which she argued twelve cases before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the federal government. She emphasized her thorough preparation before argument.
In response to a thought-provoking question asked by one of the attendees regarding how attorneys can make themselves most helpful to California’s Supreme Court Justices at oral argument, Justice Kruger discussed her own focus on how the Court’s decisions will impact the greater rule of law, in addition to how they can serve justice in any particular case. With that in mind, she advised advocates to consider the larger implications of their cases.
It was an honor to hear Justice Kruger speak, and an inspiring event. We can look forward to watching Justice Kruger continue to excel on the bench and in her career.
Andrea Schoor is senior counsel in the Los Angeles office of Allen Matkins and part of the Litigation Department. She is a Co-Chair of WLALA's Appointive Office Committee.