University of Baltimore Law Review


Below is a transcription of the keynote speech from the University of Baltimore School of Law Center on Applied Feminism’s 9th Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference: Applied Feminism Today. Judge Nancy Gertner, former United States Federal Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, gave the keynote speech on March 4, 2016.

I was on the bench for seventeen years, and I intend to write about that experience. The problem is that while my memoir was funny, this book—on judging—is not. In my memoir, I describe the fact that the only way I could face the discrimination I was facing was to crack jokes about it, to find the humor in horrific situations. I started writing about judging literally the minute I joined the federal bench. I recorded everything I did and why—the palpable change from who I had been on April 26, 1994, when I was an employment discrimination, civil rights, and criminal defense lawyer, and who I was supposed to be on April 27, 1994, when I was sworn in as a judge.