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'A Seat at the Bench: How and Why to Become a Judge'

Monday, April 14, 2014,

  • Location: Vanderbilt University Law School, Room Covington Room

This panel, moderated by Professor Tracey George, features three judges who will discuss their personal paths to the bench and the lessons they learned along the way.


The panel is co-sponsored by the Branstetter Litigation Dispute Resolution Program, the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society

Free and open to the VU community. Lunch will be served.

Speakers include:

- Judge Andy D. Bennett '82 (BA'79) - Judge Bennett was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals in 2007. He had previously served as chief deputy attorney general for Tennessee from 1997 to 2007. He joined the Tennessee Attorney General's office in 1986, serving as a deputy attorney general until 1993 and as an associate chief deputy attorney general from 1993 to 1997. He was honored by the Tennessee Attorney General's Office in 1998 with the William M. Leech Jr. Award for outstanding service, and he received the National Association of Attorneys General Marvin Award for "outstanding leadership, expertise and achievement" in 2004. He was named a fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation in 1991.

- Judge Russell Caparelli - Judge Carparelli is executive director of the American Judicature Society, a non-profit advocacy organization now headquartered at Vanderbilt Law School. Before joining the AJS staff in January 2014, Judge Carparelli served on the Colorado Court of Appeals from 2003 to 2013. Judge Carparelli earned his B.S. degree at the U.S. Air Force Academy and his J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law. Judge Carparelli served in the Air Force JAG Corps from 1970 to 1990 in a number of capacities, including as a prosecutor, defender, military trial court judge and appellate court judge, civil litigator and litigation advisor. After retiring from the Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Judge Carparelli practiced in the Denver area as a commercial litigator for 12 years before his appointment to Colorado Court of Appeals in 2003. During his tenure as a judge, he co-founded the ABA-awad-winning "Our Courts" adult public education program, had a leadership role on the Chief Justice's Commission on the Legal Profession, and served on the Colorado Judicial Institute's board of directors.

- Justice Elena Duarte - Judge Duarte serves on California's Third District Court of Appeal. Before her appointment to a seat on California's appellate court, Justice Duarte was a judge in the California Superior Courts for Los Angeles and Sacremento counties. Before becoming a judge in 2007, she was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California from 1994 to 2007. After earning her J.D. at Stanford Law School, she was one of 12 graduating law students nationwide selected to serve in the Attorney General's Honor Program, Criminal Division, at the Department of Justice. There, she served as a special assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting criminal cases in the D.C. Superior Court from 1992 to 1994. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California. She has been an instructor of judicial education and has taught on the adjunct faculty of Pacific McGeorge Law School. She is a member of the Judicial Council Advisor Committee on Civil Jury Instructions and the Center for Judicial Education and Research, where she serves on the criminal curriculum committee.