(Clockwise from top left) Brian Martinotti, Vince Chhabria, Kentanji Brown Jackson, Paul Engelmayer, Indira Talwani, Gary Feinerman, Andre Birotte, and Lorna Schofield.
(Clockwise from top left) Brian Martinotti, Vince Chhabria, Kentanji Brown Jackson, Paul Engelmayer, Indira Talwani, Gary Feinerman, Andre Birotte, and Lorna Schofield. (Credit: Courtesy photos/ALM)

Multidistrict litigation is a significant part of the federal court system—both in its financial stakes and in the burden it places on judges who are called on to handle vast, tentacled cases that often drag on for years.

It’s a job that requires skillful case management, and the panel that doles out the massive cases has tended to return to repeat players on the bench. That model, while logical, has a problem: Eventually, the judges with the greatest experience handling MDLs will retire, leaving a competence gap.

SEE ALSO: Rookie Judges Start to Wrangle MDL Dockets

With that in mind, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has looked to broaden its pool of judges. Last year, according to a review by The National Law Journal, it consolidated cases before 15 MDL rookies, a diverse group that includes many women and minorities.

Click on the links below for the inside scoop on key MDL newbies and why they’re worth watching.