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Judge Curtis Karnow, San Francisco Superior Court (Jason Doiy/ The Recorder) Judge Curtis Karnow, San Francisco Superior Court (Jason Doiy/ The Recorder)

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow has an autographed picture of Raymond Burr, the actor who portrayed Perry Mason, sitting on a shelf in his chambers. Growing up, Karnow watched the eponymous television show with his mother and he says that Mason still stands as a model in his mind for the kind of trial lawyer who is at home in the courtroom.

Karnow’s new book, “Litigation in Practice,” features an image of Burr as Mason on the cover. But when recently discussing the book, Karnow was quick to admit that he was anything but comfortable as a new lawyer fresh out of University of Pennsylvania Law School. Karnow says he graduated with virtually zero practical experience. When his first boss at the Philadelphia U.S. Attorney’s Office handed him a file and asked him to go indict a case, Karnow says he turned to his secretary and asked, “ What’s an indictment?”

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