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Sep 25th
Home Sections Education & Technology “Filipina Super Lawyer” Nominated As U.S. Federal Judge
“Filipina Super Lawyer” Nominated As U.S. Federal Judge PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 25 January 2012 16:31




(© 2012 Journal Group Link International)


C HICAGO (jGLi) – A Filipina American top trial lawyer has been nominated by United States Sen. Charles Schumer (Dem.-NY) to President Obama to serve as a federal judge in the Southern District of New York.


In recommending Lorna G. Schofield to serve “as a judge on the prestigious United States District Court for the Southern District of New York,” Senator Schumer said Schofield, 56, “would make a great addition to the bench.”


If President Obama will endorse Schofield’s nomination to the U.S. Senate and her nomination is confirmed, Schofield will be the first American of Filipino descent ever to serve on the federal bench.


According to a press statement posted on Senator Schumer’s website, “As a top-flight lawyer and former Assistant US Attorney, Schofield has had a distinguished legal career and would make a fantastic judge,” said Schumer. “When I select judges, I always look for three things – excellence, diversity, and moderation – and Schofield exemplifies all of these qualities. I’m pleased to recommend her to President Obama for the Southern District Bench.”

Schofield graduated from Indiana University magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and from NYU Law School, where she served as staff editor and note-and-comment editor of the NYU Law Review. Schofield then went to work at the law firm of Clearly, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton.

She then left to work as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she worked as a prosecutor on cases involving domestic terrorism, arms smuggling and tax fraud.

After four years, Schofield left to work at Debevoise & Plimpton, where she was made partner in 1991. At the firm, she worked on civil cases as well as white-collar crime.


According to New York-based online outlet, Philippine Daily Mirror, “[t] there are five openings on the Southern District bench, and the White House has advanced nominations for two of them: Jesse Furman, the deputy chief appellate attorney in the Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office, and Ronnie Abrams, special counsel for pro bono at Davis Polk & Wardwell. If nominated by the White House and confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Schofield would fill the seat held by Judge Shira Scheindlin, who took senior status last August.”




A ccording to a profile in the “The College Magazine” of the Arts and Sciences at Indiana University (her alma mater) in Spring 2011 edition, Schofield (BA, 1977) has been named a “Super Lawyer for five years in a row by Super Lawyers magazine.”


According to the Super Lawyers’s website, “Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations


Schofield was also recently named one of the 50 most influential minority lawyers in the US by the National Law Journal. Schofield says of the honor, “It’s important for people who are involved in the justice system – lawyers, litigants and judges – to see lawyers of every type leading the profession.  The message is that our legal system is open and accessible to all, whether they come as advocates or litigants.  Because the world we live in is diverse, and becoming increasingly so.  We can learn from each other.  Every unique perspective brings something valuable to the table. “


The College profile said Schofield lists “her most memorable – and most fun – case” when she represented Hollywood comic Rosie O’Donnell in the lawsuit filed against O’Donnell by the publisher of (O’Donnell’s) magazine.”


In 2003, O’Donnell’s publishers sued her for $300-million over her decision to terminate her interest in Rosie magazine after the company attempted to seize editorial control from her. 

By the end of the contentious litigation, the presiding judge, not content with merely stopping the case, admonished lawyers for the publishing group, saying their case was “ill-conceived.” Following the O’Donnell trial, Schofield was interviewed by many news programs, including the Today Show.  Dan Rather on Sixty Minutes II interviewed her on corporate confidentiality agreements and sealing orders. 




S he is the first Asian American to chair the 70,000-member litigation section of the American Bar Association. 

Schofield said, “My father (a U.S. serviceman) left us when I was 3. My mother came to the United States because of her idealism about the country that had saved hers during World War II, and remained here, I believe, because of the stigma and shame she would have suffered had she returned to the Philippines as a divorced woman.  She was a pharmacist and stressed achievement, independence and self-sufficiency as essential values.”

Schofield double-majored in German and English, graduated with honors, and considered pursuing an academic career.  She soon settled on law school, however, and a stint as a prosecuting attorney sealed the deal: she was going to be a litigator. 


The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian-American Justice Center (AAJC) welcomed the news that Senator Schumer has sent the name of Lorna Schofield to the White House to serve as a federal district court judge for the Southern District of New York.


"Lorna Schofield is exceptionally well-qualified to serve as a federal district court judge," said Tina Matsuoka, executive director of NAPABA.

The Philippine American Bar Association in Southern California also offered its congratulations to Schofield.

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) National Chair Ed Navarra said, “As a second-generation Filipino American, Ms. Schofield’s nomination and confirmation by the Senate would make her the first in the history of the United States to serve as a federal judge. Given that Asian Americans are significantly underrepresented in the federal judiciary, Ms. Schofield’s addition will greatly enhance the judiciary’s diversity.”

As of January 2008, federal district judges were paid $169,300 a year. They serve “during good behavior” (or are appointed for life). # # #


Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at: (



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