What Makes a Great Trial Judge? Podcast #5 – Judge Lee H. Rosenthal

Published on Oct 26, 2023
Welcome to the “What Makes a Great Trial Judge” podcast, part of the Lawyer Minds ecosystem. We’ve paired up with Lisa Blue, a practicing psychologist of 46 years and trial attorney of 44 years, to discuss some of the ways trial judges—especially those dealing with trauma-intensive cases—can improve their techniques and social practices, making the litigation experience more meaningful for jurors and litigants alike. So, how do you tell the difference between a great trial judge and one who needs to work on their social intelligence skills? Let's find out.

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Lisa Blue, a lawyer with the Dallas firm Baron and Blue PLLC, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and two master’s degrees from the University of Virginia in Counseling Psychology. After a brief teaching career, she returne …

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In the fifth episode of “What Makes a Great Trial Judge?”, Lisa Blue interviews Judge Lee. H. Rosenthal, a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Rosenthal practiced law at a Houston law firm from 1978 to 1992 and became a partner of the firm in 1985. In 1992, she was nominated to become judge and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In 2016, she became chief judge.

During the pod, the honorable Judge Lee H. Rosenthal talks about the skillsets of the judges she admired and learned from early in her career and how she learned to develop those same skillsets over her years as a district judge. She considers open-mindedness, intuition, the ability to determine what’s really important, and the ability to rule fairly by the court of law among the top qualities that are vital to a great judge. Many of these qualities, she feels, are similar to the qualities that great lawyers possess.

Lisa Blue and Judge Rosenthal discuss how judges must take the time to work through their feelings of uncertainty and become comfortable with the fact that they often walk into a courtroom knowing less than everyone else about a particular case. Becoming comfortable with uncertainty can be a skillset and is utilized as a strength when deciding on a ruling. Rosenthal breaks down the process of learning to develop the necessary skillsets in an approachable way that makes this episode a must-listen for any judge or attorney.