If there is such a thing as a “pipeline” between a law school and a nationally respected court, the Columbus School of Law has enjoyed and benefitted from an active one that has for years led to the chambers of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
More than 100 alumni of Catholic University’s law school have served as law clerks for the court. Fifteen current sitting judges on the 61-judge court are also graduates of CUA Law. Other jurists presently serving on the court have taught as adjunct instructors at the law school.
The strong and varied connections between the two institutions was celebrated at a Jan. 28 Alumni and Judges Reception held at the downtown D.C. offices of Venable LLP.
The first-of-its-kind event was intended to honor the many ways the court and the law school have mutually benefitted from such longstanding professional connections.
The reception was hosted by the Columbus School of Law’s Alumni Association, Dean Daniel F. Attridge, and The Hon. Fred B. Ugast, who was appointed to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by President Richard Nixon in 1973. Ugast served as chief judge from 1986 to 1993 and took senior status in 1993. Although not an alumnus of Catholic University’s law school (he did earn his undergraduate degree from CUA), Ugast held the honorary position of Judge-in-Residence with the law school for a number of years.
Also in attendance was the Hon. Lee Satterfield, who has served as chief judge of the D.C. Superior Court since 2008. Satterfield taught at Catholic University’s law school as an adjunct instructor for nearly 30 years and his wife, Pamela, is a graduate of the Class of 1989.
It was a very special evening with Judges Ugast and Satterfield sharing their stories about the court and the law school with attendees of the reception.
The Superior Court of the District of Columbia is the local trial court for the District of Columbia. It hears cases involving criminal and civil law. The court also handles specialized cases in family court, landlord and tenant, probate, tax, and traffic offenses. Judges are appointed to the court by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate for 15-year terms.