find the latest legal job
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
In-House Legal Counsel (Mid to Senior)| Regulated Markets (Energy and Gas)
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Full PD on Request · Exciting High Impact Role
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
103-year-old judge will sleep when he's dead

103-year-old judge will sleep when he's dead

A 103-year-old American judge who was appointed to the bench of the US Federal Court by John F. Kennedy has said the only way he'll give up his post is by going "feet first".The Associated Press…

A 103-year-old American judge who was appointed to the bench of the US Federal Court by John F. Kennedy has said the only way he'll give up his post is by going "feet first".

The Associated Press reports that District Judge Wesley Brown, who gets around in an electric wheelchair and is permanently attached to an oxygen tank via nasal tubes, is the oldest working federal judge in the nation.

Federal judgeships are lifetime appointments, and it seems that Brown is taking this literally.

"As a federal judge, I was appointed for life or good behaviour, whichever I lose first," Brown said.

David Sellers, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the US Courts, said that of the 1,294 sitting federal judges, Brown is one of 516 judges with "senior status", which is a form of semi-retirement which allows a judge to continue being paid when working reduced case level.

All in all, the "senior status" judges handle almost one quarter of all federal district trials.

Brown, who took "senior status" in 1979 but continued to work fulltime until recently, still takes his full quota of new civil cases.

"I do it to be a public service," he said. "You got to have a reason to live. As long as you perform a public service, you have a reason to live."

Every morning at 8:30 am, Brown gets a lift from the retirement home where he lives. He works until about 3 pm, presiding over hearings, reading court filings and discussing cases with his clerks who handle legal research.

Brown also has a computer on his desk which he uses to keep up to speed with current events and trends.

Despite Brown's lingering acuity, some parties have voiced concerns about a centenarian hearing their cases.

"I don't care how good a guy he is," said a recent litigant in a matter over which Brown presided.

"Your mental and physical attributes diminish with age and I think there should be a cut-off date for federal judges. This is ridiculous to have him in there at that age."

Brown was born on 22 June 1907 and is six years older than the next oldest sitting federal judge. At least eight other federal judges are in their 90s, according to a statistics in the federal court database.

Brown began his career in private practice in 1933 and was appointed a US district judge in 1962.

He has outlived two wives, moved into a retirement home four years ago, and was able to play golf with his staff until 2006.

Brown has, however, asked his colleagues to let him know if they feel that he is no longer able to do his job.

"I will quit this job when I think it is time," Brown said. "And I hope I do so and leave the country in better shape because I have been a part of it."

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

103-year-old judge will sleep when he's dead
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 22 2017
Reduced investment protections will make robust commercial arbitration mechanisms all the more critical for investors
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the current trend away from investor protect...
Nov 22 2017
‘Document tsunami’ driving lawyers to upskill in TAR
A prominent Victorian judge has highlighted the growing need for lawyers to expand their knowledge o...
Defamation expert appointed to lead Victorian Bar
Nov 22 2017
Defamation expert appointed to lead Victorian Bar
The Victorian Bar has named Dr Matt Collins QC as its new president, with an additional eight member...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...