Alaska Chapter Adds New Members

 

Alaska Chapter Adds New Members

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Ralph Beistline, Judge Sharon Gleason, Judge Timothy Burgess, iPad winner Brittany Goodnight, and FBA Chapter President Darrel Gardner.

 

With the addition of eight new members since the end of 2012, the Alaska Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (FBA) has grown substantially. Five of the new members are also newly admitted attorneys to the Alaska Bar. At the swearing-in ceremony in November, FBA-Alaska President Darrel Gardner announced a drawing for a new iPad that he had donated on behalf of the Chapter; the recipient would be chosen from among those who applied for new membership to the FBA. The drawing was held on January 22, 2013, at the association’s first meeting of 2013: “A Year on the Federal Bench” with District Judge Sharon Gleason. In attendance was the lucky winner, Brittany Goodnight. Three of the five new members were present, and Judge Gleason drew the winning name. Brittany said she grew up in Chugiak, attended UCLA, clerked for Judge Volland in Alaska Superior Court, and is applying to work as a public defender. At the meeting, Chief Judge Beistline called for self-introductions among some 25 judges, attorneys, and federal law clerks present.  The other judges attending were Judge Morgan Christen of the Ninth Circuit, Senior Judge H. Russel Holland, and Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith. The Alaska Chapter has only about 50 members. The meeting generated terrific attendance, likely due in no small part to the free pizza and soft drinks that were generously donated by District Judges Ralph Beistline, Timothy Burgess, and Sharon Gleason.


Judge Gleason is the newest judicial member of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska.  During her presentation, she recalled her years of practice in family law and her 11 years on the bench in Alaska State Superior Court, where she had almost no criminal case experience.  Judge Gleason described the rigors of going through the application and background-check process for her federal judgeship.  This required her trying to identify every speech she had ever given, every opinion that had been reversed, and every time she was mentioned in the news. She was required to undergo a complete physical examination, including a hearing test, and the FBI’s background investigation even involved contacting people who knew her from her college days. In her first year on the federal bench, Judge Gleason has grown to embrace the electronic filing system. Initially she was assigned only civil cases, but she is now handling many criminal cases as well.  Judge Gleason is also overseeing some cases in Arizona, and has sat with one panel on the Ninth Circuit.

 

The Alaska Chapter is extremely fortunate to have such strong support from the Judges and Magistrates of the Alaska District.