Today’s DJ profiles 2/1’s PJ in Advancing the Law: 2d District Justice Frances Rothschild treats each case and party with care. The article provides insights from 4/2’s Justice Frank Menetrez “who worked for Rothschild for 10 years.”

  • She has been known to give extra time during arguments and to issue tentative opinions in advance when she feels doing so will help lawyers respond more meaningfully to the justices’ view of a case. Perhaps more importantly, they say, Rothschild continues to respectfully address every issue and person appearing before her even after nearly half a century on the trial court and appellate bench.
  • Rothschild traced her respect for the rule of law to her own life experiences. “I feel like it’s a privilege to give back and to continue to create a history of law in this country that accepted my family as immigrants from the ashes of World War II,” she said. “Every day, I am thankful I have this opportunity.” Born in Poland in 1941, Rothschild was smuggled out of a Jewish work camp as an infant, entrusted to the care of a Catholic woman who pretended Rothschild was her child. Rothschild’s parents managed to survive until the end of the war, but when they returned for their daughter, “there was a standoff,” Rothschild said.
  • Rothschild and her husband, Loren Rothschild, are rare book collectors.
  • Her first job [after UCLA Law School] was as a research attorney for 2nd District Court of Appeal Justice Shirley Hufstedler, who went on to become the second woman on the federal appellate bench and eventually the first Cabinet-level secretary of education.
  • No matter the issue, Rothschild is known for her even-handed approach and thorough consideration of the issues.
  • “She’s brilliant and practical at the same time,” [said Justice Helen Bendix]. “She has a wealth of knowledge, and her instincts are good too. She isn’t afraid to look at an opinion and not be wooden in how she approaches a legal issue.”

Today’s DJ also has Justice Hoffstadt in Pants on fire: In two cases this term, the U.S. Supreme Court will provide guidance on how appellate courts are to review the credibility of witnesses who appear before a lower tribunal.