Kopf’s top ten lessons a young federal trial judge should take away from the Scheindlin/Second Circuit debacle

In descending order, here is my top ten list of lessons to be learned by a young federal trial judge regarding the Scheindlin/Second Circuit fiasco.

10. Remember the first law of physics: crap flows down hill.

9. Even otherwise brilliant and perfectly decent federal Circuit judges can beĀ megalomaniacs. Far removed from your hearing, lawyers say the same thing about you. They are indisputably correct.

8. It’s not your job to save the world. Do law, leave justice to Clint Eastwood.

7. A good journalist’s job is to get you to say something you will regret.

6. If you can’t take a sucker punch, quit.

5. If you care more about a case than anyone else, ask your Chief to reassign it.

4. Get mad, but don’t get even.

3. For good or for ill, one case will define you. You won’t ever know which one it will be, so stop worrying.

2. Remember the joy you felt the day you learned that the President of the United States wagered a little of his prestige on you. Everything that follows is gravy.

1. Whether it be an accolade or an accusation, you probably don’t deserve it.


PS If you are a young federal trial judge, here is the 11th commandment: Never rely on advice from an old federal trial judge.

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