May 21, 2020 From the Bench

Reflections on 21 Years Behind the Bench: An Interview with Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier

Magistrate judges are a critical part in the efficient administration of justice.

Hon. Sunil R. Harjani

Download a printable PDF of this article.

Admittedly biased, I believe that U.S. magistrate judges serve a vital role in our federal judicial system. Among their many roles and responsibilities, magistrate judges are frequently tasked to manage the civil discovery process and serve as mediators to help the parties resolve the litigation (often saving the parties, and the court, substantial time and expense). Magistrate judges review and sign search and arrest warrants, preside over initial appearance hearings, and decide whether to detain or release individuals on bond pending trial. Indeed, when all parties consent, magistrate judges step into the shoes of the district court judge and manage the entire litigation. Magistrate judges are a critical part in the efficient administration of justice.

At the young age of 43 (yes, 43 is still young), Sidney I. Schenkier became a magistrate judge for the Northern District of Illinois. Spending more than two decades behind the bench, Judge Schenkier has become one of the most widely respected judges in the Northern District of Illinois, the third-largest federal judicial district, based in Chicago. After he announced his intent to retire in April, it seemed the right time to pay a visit to my former boss and mentor for one last conversation before he hangs up his robes.

Illustration by Bradley Clark

Illustration by Bradley Clark

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now