Paul J. Watford, a 44-year-old civil litigator in Los Angeles, may end up joining his former boss Chief Judge Alex Kozinski on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Watford was nominated to a seat on the court by President Barack Obama this week. Watford clerked for Kozinski for 1994-1995 and followed that stint with another as clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Watford has been a litigation partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson since 2001 where he practices primarily appellate litigation in state and federal court.
His experience also includes criminal work. From 1997 to 2000 he was a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles working in the major frauds section of the criminal division.
He also currently serves on the board of Los Angeles Neighborhood Legal Services.
He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989 and received his law degree from UCLA, where he was also editor of the UCLA Law Review and Order of the Coif.
Watford, if confirmed by the Senate, would fill the vacancy created by the death of Judge Pamela Rymer, who died Sept. 21, 2011. Rymer was a conservative appointee of President George H.W. Bush in 1989.
The 9th Circuit is the largest of all the federal circuit courts, covering nine western states. There are 29 judgeships on the appellate court, with four current vacancies.