Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte to Retire from the Court

Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte has informed Chief Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of her intention to retire from the Court in late October of 2019. Judge Laporte has served as a United States Magistrate Judge since 1998, including terms as the Court's Chief Magistrate Judge and its Alternative Dispute Resolution Magistrate Judge. 

Judge Laporte graduated from Princeton University and Yale Law School and is a Marshall Scholar, with an M.A. from Oxford University. Prior to her appointment, she was a partner at a litigation firm and an Administrative Law Judge for the California Department of Insurance. Judge Laporte also served as Chief of Special Litigation for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and was a law clerk to the Honorable Marilyn Hall Patel and a policy planner/economist at the Federal Trade Commission. 

Reflecting on her years of service as a magistrate judge, Judge Laporte notes: 

I have been privileged to serve for twenty-one years on this Court, where I could not have asked for better colleagues. The judges have generously mentored me and modeled their dedication to serving justice throughout my time on the bench. This Court is the national leader in its use of magistrate judges, who carry the highest civil caseload in the federal system with consent of the parties. I cannot thank the judges and the staff enough. I am also honored to be part of the outstanding legal community that practices before our Court.

Judge Laporte has pursued a wide variety of judicial and law-related interests and activities while on the bench, including: serving as a member of the Board of Governors for the Northern California Chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers; serving on the editorial board of the Federal Courts Law Review; serving as a Judicial Advisor to the Sedona Conference and Judicial Observer to its Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Production; serving as Magistrate Judge Observer Member for the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council; chairing the Northern District of California Local Rules Committee Subcommittee on E-Discovery, which published the Court’s Guidelines and Checklist for Rule 26(f) Meet and Confer; chairing the Executive Board of the Ninth Circuit Magistrate Judges; serving as a member of the Jury Trial Improvement Committee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; and serving as the Judicial Co-Chair of the 2018 Federal Judicial Center and Electronic Discovery Institute’s Judicial Training Program, for which she was also on the faculty.

Judge Laporte is especially noted for her contributions in the fields of patent law and e-discovery. Judge Laporte was a contributor to the Federal Judicial Center's Patent Mediation Guide, published in January 2019. She received the 2015 Electronic Discovery Institute Judicial Leadership Award and co-authored a 2015 article, A Practical Guide to Achieving Proportionality Under New Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, published in the Federal Courts Law Review. In 2003, Judge Laporte authored Managing the Runaway Patent Case for the Association of Business Trial Litigators of Northern California. 

To address gender inequality in the legal profession, Judge Laporte launched the Northern District of California’s Women Attorneys Advocacy Project in 2015, which has put on numerous programs on overcoming obstacles to success in the careers of female attorneys. 

Regarding Judge Laporte's departure from the bench, Chief Judge Hamilton notes: 

Magistrate Judge Laporte will leave big shoes to fill after 21 years of excellent service to this district. Among other things, she has provided a huge contribution in her handling of patent and other IP cases and has led the court in its development of our ESI (e-discovery) procedures. Magistrate Judge Laporte, moreover, is one of the reasons that magistrate judges in our District perform such a wide variety of judicial work and handle so many consent cases. She will be missed, but she leaves the Court in a better place because of her commitment to our mission and to the overall goal of excellence in the administration of justice.

Update May 2, 2019: The application period to fill the vacancy is now open through June 17, 2019. View more information about the application process.