Paul Watford and Mary Murguia
The two new Ninth Circuit judges, among four Obama picks seated this year, have already showed up on SCOTUS shortlists.
Alliance of California Judges
The rebels take a little too much joy from the many branch missteps.
As Dewey went bust and a bidding war for his group broke out, the M&A guru stayed busy on a $2 billion deal for the Dodgers, then signed with Weil Gotshal.
The chief justice has spent her first two years in a defensive crouch. If she can't spell out a vision for the branch beyond each day's budget battle, that's all the job will be.
Thanks to the Apple trial, the San Jose-based federal judge is practically a household name.
His histrionics at the Apple-Samsung trial didn't go over well with Judge Koh. Maybe it pays off on appeal?
Court officials managed to spend $550 million on what everyone seems to agree is a very much needed 21st century computer system, and then had to pull the plug before there was any payoff.
The new AOC director is taking over an organization that, depending on who you talk to, is bloated and incompetent or usurping and dictatorial. Or maybe all those things!
Robert Van Nest
He led Google to victory in the "World Series of IP cases" and had the press corps debating who would play him in Googacle: The Movie (John Slattery or Steve Martin).
It got bragging rights for bagging the Facebook IPO, yet seemed to draw almost no blame for botched disclosures and the long, slow swoon in share price.
State Bar prosecutors
They've gotten more aggressive, as evidenced by the crackdown on MCLE cheats. Maybe too aggressive, as evidenced by the stretch to bring down Jon Alexander, the meth addict turned Del Norte DA.
With no clear winner in Brinker, the year's most closely watched employment case, employment lawyers are likely to be busy with subsequent litigation.
After laying waste to tobacco, insurance and banks, the plaintiffs shop is increasingly making enemies in the tech sector.
The exits this year by Keith Wetmore and Ralph Baxter, the long-time leaders of MoFo and Orrick, are the latest steps away from an S.F. identity.