Indian-American confirmed as federal judge in Massachusetts

Indian-American Indira Talwani has been confirmed by the US Senate as a federal judge in Massachusetts, making her the first Asian Pacific American federal judge in this state.

PTI| Updated: Jun 12, 2014, 20:22 PM IST

Washington: Indian-American Indira Talwani has been confirmed by the US Senate as a federal judge in Massachusetts, making her the first Asian Pacific American federal judge in this state.

Talwani, in her 50s, was confirmed by the Senate by 94-0 votes.

She is the first person of Asian descent to serve a judge in Massachusetts and in the First Circuit, which includes Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island. Talwani is also only the second female judge of South Asian descent nationwide.

"Indira is a committed attorney with an exceptional record. She is admired by her peers. We are extremely excited that another deserving South Asian has been nominated to the judiciary," Nadeem Bezar, president of the South Asian Bar Association North America, said in a statement.

Daughter of immigrants from India and Germany, Talwani graduated with honors from Harvard University and was later named Order of the Coif at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California Berkeley.

Talwani is a partner at Segal Roitman LLP in Boston, where she focuses her practice on civil litigation at the state and federal trial court and appellate levels.

"Ms. Talwani has an impressive track record as a litigator, having represented clients in matters before the Massachusetts state trial courts and appeals courts as well as the district court to which she`s been nominated, the federal courts of appeals and the United States Supreme Court," Senator Elizabeth Warren said as she introduced Talwani during her Senate confirmation hearing.

The Senator said Talwani has broad credentials and wide litigation experience. She has developed particular expertise in legal issues that relate to employment.

"She is the associate editor of a treatise on the Family and Medical Leave Act compiled by the American Bar Association," the lawmaker said.

Prior to joining Segal Roitman LLP in 1999, Talwani was a partner at the San Francisco law firm now known as Altshuler Berzon LLP from 1996 to 1999 and an associate at that firm from 1989 to 1995.

She began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Stanley A Weigel of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California from 1988 to 1989.

Talwani received her J.D. In 1988 from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley and her B.A. cum laude in 1982 from Harvard College.

At Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, she served as Articles Editor for the Industrial Relations Law Journal and was selected for the Order of the Coif. Prior to law school, she worked as a union organiser.

Her practice has included both traditional labour law, including negotiations and arbitrations, and individual employment litigation, as well as class actions and collective actions on behalf of groups of workers.