Upcoming Events


Berkeley Boosts, Rural Judging
October 22
10:00 – 10:30 A.M.

As part of an ongoing 30-minute series, part of Berkeley Boosts, the CJRI is hosting a selection of webinars on civil legal issues during Covid-19. This program will focus on rural judging and will feature a discussion of Dr. Michele Statz’s recent research on rural access to justice considerations, with comments from Judge Gwen Topping of the Red Cliff Tribal Court. This program is supported by a generous gift from AAJ’s Robert L. Habush Endowment.

More information

Her Honor: My Life on the Bench…What Works, What’s Broken, and How to Change It

November 3
4:00 – 6:00 P.M. PT
International House, Chevron Auditorium (Across the street from Berkeley Law)

Note that capacity is limited—if you would like to cancel your registration, please email so that a spot is opened up for your neighbor.

*In order to enter International House, attendees must show proof of vaccination (physical vaccine card, photo of front and back of vaccine card, or virtual vaccine verification), along with a state-issued ID. As per the (current) City of Berkeley mandate, if one cannot prove vaccination status, entrance will be denied.

Berkeley Judicial Institute Executive Director Judge Jeremy Fogel interviews Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell. The event will be in person at the Berkeley Law School, and is open to all Berkeley Law students.  

The former state judicial colleagues will talk about ALL of the issues in the title of Judge Cordell’s book; audience questions welcome. We anticipate a lively discussion!

Judge Cordell’s book, HER HONOR, will be published in October. Early program registrants will receive a copy of the book, and will get so much more value from the discussion by reading the book prior to the program. Thinking about service in the judiciary as part of your legal career? Interested in the court’s role in solving the pressing problems of our day? This is a program you won’t want to miss.

The publisher’s description:

In Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a rare and thought-provoking insider account of our legal system, sharing vivid stories of the cases that came through her courtroom and revealing the strengths, flaws, and much-needed changes within our courts.

Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firsthand how prejudice has permeated our legal system. And yet, she believes in the system. From ending school segregation to legalizing same-sex marriage, its progress relies on legal professionals and jurors who strive to make the imperfect system as fair as possible.

Her Honor is an entertaining and provocative look into the hearts and minds of judges. Cordell takes you into her chambers where she haggles with prosecutors and defense attorneys and into the courtroom during jury selection and sentencing hearings. She uses real cases to highlight how judges make difficult decisions, all the while facing outside pressures from the media, law enforcement, lobbyists, and the friends and families of the people involved.

Cordell’s candid account of her years on the bench shines light on all areas of the legal system, from juvenile delinquency and the shift from rehabilitation to punishment, along with the racial biases therein, to the thousands of plea bargains that allow our overburdened courts to stay afloat—as long as innocent people are willing to plead guilty. There are tales of marriages and divorces, adoptions, and contested wills—some humorous, others heartwarming, still others deeply troubling.

Her Honor is for anyone who’s had the good or bad fortune to stand before a judge or sit on a jury. It is for true-crime junkies and people who vote in judicial elections. Most importantly, this is a book for anyone who wants to know what our legal system, for better or worse, means to the everyday lives of all Americans.

Berkeley Judicial Institute Law and Literature programs

6 Sessions, individual registration for each
3:00 P.M. Eastern | 2:00 P.M. Central | 12:00 P.M. Pacific
90 minutes

Professor Julie Empric, Eckerd College

The registration links, program dates and the background readings are listed below.  (As these are intended as discussion sessions, the events will NOT be recorded.)

  • Session 3| Friday, November 5, 2021 | Mann’s Judgment at Nuremberg (play) | REGISTER
    Suggested Text: Mann’s Judgment at Nuremberg, New Directions, ISBN 978-0811215268
  • Session 4 | Friday, January 14, 2022 | Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (novel) | REGISTER
    Suggested Text: Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Penguin, ISBN 978-0385474542
  • Session 5 | Friday, March 11, 2022 |  Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (play) | REGISTER
    Suggested Text: Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, Signet Classic, ISBN 04515268
  • Session 6 | Friday, May 13, 2022 | Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars (novel) | REGISTER
    Suggested Text: Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars, Vintage, ISBN 978-0679764021

Join Berkeley Judicial Institute as we introduce a virtual law and literature series.  

Using great works as text, these programs provide participants the opportunity to reflect on how literature provides insight into contemporary issues. All are welcome to register to participate; we ask those participating to be prepared to discuss the readings.  

No promises, but we anticipate a lively, honest, and respectful exchange of views!

Professor Julie Empric of Eckerd College, whose facilitation of similar programs has been met with rave reviews, will lead the sessions.

Think of a smart book club discussion, and you will have a sense of what we are trying to achieve. 

Registration for each session is limited, and you must register separately for each session of interest.  Should your plans change, please cancel your registration to provide an opportunity for someone else.

We hope you will join us.

Past Sessions

Twitter and the #Judge: To Tweet or Not to Tweet?
December 3
12:00 PT
75 minutes
Virtual event

Professor Beth Thornburg is (among a laundry list of accomplishments) a student and a teacher of judges and social media.  What do her research and her conversations with judges reveal? Whether you are Twitter Curious, a prolific judicial Tweeter, or somewhere in between, join Berkelely Judicial Institute and Professor Thornburg as we discuss pros and cons of judicial tweeting.  

•How are judges using Twitter?
•What professional and personal communities have they discovered online?
•How can Twitter educate the public about courts?
•What are the ethical constraints that judges using social media should keep in mind?


Twitter and the #So-CalledJudge

Happy New Year Happy Hour!
December 15
4:00 P.M. PT
90 minutes

Join Berkeley Judicial Institute on December 15, 2021, for a toast to the upcoming year.

(Illustration shows Father Time ringing bells proclaiming “The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number”, while a crowd in the street celebrates the New Year by using noisemakers, horns, drums, and cymbols to sound their personal causes, such as “Partisanship” and “Partisan Politics”, “Ring Politics”, “Spoils System”, “Women’s Rights”, and “Calamity Howling”.)

Created / Published
N.Y. : Published by Keppler & Schwarzmann, Puck Building, 1910 December 28.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) to fully participate in this event, please contact Nathalie Coletta at or 510-643-5518 with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7-10 business days in advance of the event.