November 01, 2012 WAYMAKER

An Interview with Judge Norma Shapiro

By Judge Stephanie Domitrovich

Judge Norma Shapiro was the first woman to be appointed to the federal district court in the federal Third Circuit, the eighth female judge in the United States in 1978, and only the 12th female judge in the history of the United States. Although her gender initially made her an outsider among her fellow federal judges, Judge Shapiro, through her endeavors both inside and outside the courtroom, became a person who her colleagues on the bench are proud to call, simply, “their Norma,” and legions of her law clerks call “our Judge.” As a presiding federal judge for over 30 years, Judge Shapiro has seen and heard it all from admiralty and antitrust to civil rights cases. Judge Shapiro’s numerous contributions to the law and society have not gone unnoticed, signified by her receiving such accolades as the American Bar Association John Marshall Award, which recognizes those dedicated to the improvement of the administration of justice; the Meador-Rosenberg Award for her outstanding work in support of the judiciary and judicial independence; the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award; the Philadelphia Bar Association Sandra Day O’Connor Award; and the University of Pennsylvania Law Alumni Society James Wilson Award for Service to the Profession.

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