Judge Marsha S. Berzon is a graduate of Radcliffe College and the law school at the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall), where she was Articles Editor of the California Law Review. She served as a law clerk to Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., of the United States Supreme Court and for Judge James R. Browning of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Before joining the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Berzon worked as an appellate and Supreme Court advocate at Altshuler, Berzon, Nussbaum, Rubin & Demain, a San Francisco law firm. She presented cases in most of the federal circuit courts and the appellate courts of California and several other states.
She filed briefs in dozens of cases in the United States Supreme Court, appearing four times as an oral advocate before the Court. Among the cases in which she participated were many setting important precedents in the fields of labor and employment law, environmental, women’s rights, and free speech. While in practice, Judge Berzon served as Associate General Counsel of the AFL-CIO; as a member of the Executive Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Labor and Employment Law Section; as co-chair of the Appellate Courts Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco; as Treasurer of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California; as a member of the Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee; as a member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco; as Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Northern California; and as a member of the California Commission on the Future of the Legal Profession and the State Bar.
In the Fall of 1994, Judge Berzon was practitioner in residence at Cornell Law School, where she taught Supreme Court litigation; in the Fall of 1998, she was a practitioner in residence at Indiana University Law School; in the Fall of 2003, she was the Alvin B. and Janice Rubin Lecturer at the Paul F. Hebert Law Center of Louisiana State University. She has received the Faye Stender Award from the California Women Lawyers’ Association for her contribution to establishing the legal rights of women; the Alumna of the Year award from the California Law Review; the American Jewish Committee’s Learned Hand Award; and the American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Award. Judge Berzon gave the Madison Lecture at New York University Law School in 2008.
Judge Berzon was confirmed as a judge of the Ninth Circuit on March 9, 2000. Judge Berzon is currently a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the American Law Institute, and an Advisor to the American Law Institute Restatement of Employment Law.