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Court: 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Appointed: May 2000, by President Clinton Date of Birth: March 3, 1953 Previous Judicial Experience:None Law Degree: Northwestern School of Law Richard Tallman is hard to miss. He’s the one who towers over others at judicial functions, the one who seems to be leading small crowds in a chorus of laughter. He is also one of the only — if not the only — federal appellate judge to bring his laptop to oral arguments. The 48-year-old judge’s gregarious nature is evident, a demeanor he hopes — and which those that have been before him verify — carries over into the courtroom. “I tend to be very easygoing. That’s just my personality. It’s very important to me to maintain collegial relations [with other judges],” Tallman said. As for being in court: “I try to treat others the way that I would like to be treated.” Tallman appeared before the 9th Circuit 15 times as a lawyer, mostly with the U.S. attorney’s office in Seattle. He later would become the head of the white-collar criminal defense group at Bogle & Gates before starting his own two-lawyer outfit, Tallman and Severin. That firm was short-lived, however, after Tallman was selected to replace Washington State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Durham. She had been tapped as part of a deal President Clinton struck with former Sen. Slade Gorton, but withdrew her name from consideration after she was nominated. Good things come to those who wait. Tallman said he was on a short list for a U.S. District Court judgeship put together by a bipartisan selection committee before being tapped for the Ninth Circuit. Lawyers say good things about him. “You didn’t get any sense of ideology,” said J. Scott Smith, an appellate specialist at Sacramento’s Angelo, Kilday & Kilduff who argued an employment case before Tallman. Smith said when he challenged the validity of a case opposing counsel had cited, Tallman acknowledged: “We caught that, too.” “Judge Tallman asked pretty fair questions,” Smith said. “He did seem to have a pretty clear understanding of the record.” Tallman was born in Oakland and raised in Fort Bragg (“humble beginnings,” he said) but maintains his chambers in Seattle, where he’s spent his entire legal career after clerking there for U.S. District Judge Morell Sharp. He has written a dozen opinions since coming on the bench, and offered dissents in a handful of others. Among his more notable decisions is Mabe v. San Bernardino County, 01 C.D.O.S. 670, which held that a social worker is not necessarily entitled to qualified immunity for improperly removing a child from a home. He dissented in a decision over the Ninth Circuit’s rule barring citation of unpublished opinions. Sorchini v. City of Covina, 01 C.D.O.S. 3514, foreshadowed the 9th Circuit’s recent decision in Hart v. Massanari, 01 C.D.O.S. 8299, and warned — but did not sanction — an attorney for failing to follow the non-citation rule. Tallman dissented from Sorchini, but did not say why. He declined to elaborate. Tallman said one of his goals is to drag the court into the technological age: “I think we have a long way to go with technology on the court.” He noted, for example, that the court had recently held its first argument by teleconference. “We’ve since decided, in appropriate cases . . . we’ll make that option available to them,” he said. As for advice for lawyers, Tallman will tell you what any good appellate lawyer will — don’t come into the 9th Circuit expecting to make speeches. “You ought to be organized in your preparation along topical lines,” Tallman said. And then be ready to adjust with the flow of argument. “There are lawyers who are very facile and who can turn a question from a judge into one of their talking points,” he said. He said he was surprised by the crushing workload, but has no regrets. “I love this job,” Tallman said. “It’s a remarkable group of people. I have immense respect for all my colleagues.”

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