The Post in Which I Break My Silence on My Former Boss…Judge Mike Maggio

Today, the JDDC has unanimously approved and released (courtesy of an agreed sanction against my former boss and current friend, Mike Maggio.

I will let Judge Maggio speak for himself here later (he’s agreed to an interview). He’s got a lot of thoughts on the matter and we’ve discussed them at length. Some I agree with, some I disagree with, and some that are just interesting for consideration. Today, I’ll simply offer some reflections outside of the substantive case.

Nothing prepares you for your daily reading of Gawker, only to see your former boss’s portrait splashed on the main page. And nothing prepares you for being so very disappointed by someone you otherwise admire.

I was Judge Maggio’s first law clerk. I was hired before I even passed the bar and I spent the first 18 months of my legal career working for him  in Faulkner, Van Buren, and Searcy counties. I started out an unmarried new grad; I got pregnant, then married, while I worked for him. I  finally left for private practice because the salary was a bit slim for my growing family. I would have stayed on as long as they let me, if the salary had been comparable to private practice, because I truly enjoyed working there.

The judge and I disagree about a lot of things: religion, politics, etc. That’s probably true of me and most of the 20th judicial circuit. But, Judge Maggio taught me the two legal practice rules that I still hold near and dear:

1. Never embarrass opposing counsel in front of their client, if you can help it.

2. Treat the legal process and the participants involved with dignity and respect, even if they are wrong.

Judge Maggio and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of political issues, but, for all his faults, he was willing to hire the outspoken VP of the law school Young Democrats. We have always had very congenial discussions about controversial topics. I’ve never been afraid to give him my honest opinion on everything and anything, including his case.

I still don’t know how to reconcile the person I know with some of the things he’s said, but here’s what I’ve learned:

I’ve learned that sometimes the people we love and admire can disappoint us. I’ve learned that it’s really easy to say terrible things on the internet, whether you are an anonymous blog commenter or someone calling out a judge. I’ve learned that some things shouldn’t be open to politics and that I should never, ever be a judge.

I’ll be interviewing Judge Maggio soon and I hope to see you back here for that.


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