The Role That Shaped My Legal Career and My Life

Following graduation from law school, I served as a law clerk for Judge Beverly B. Martin, then on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and now on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. This role shaped my legal career and my life in countless ways.

Judge Martin displayed boundless energy, admirable self-discipline, and a strong work ethic. Approaching each matter before her with gravity, she ingrained in her law clerks a great respect for the judicial system.  For the system to work effectively, Judge Martin believed that each litigant deserved to be heard and each issue required careful analysis under the law. We read every brief submitted to the court and conducted careful legal research.

Judge Martin took a similarly focused approach to training law clerks. While I like to think that we law clerks were able to provide some help to Judge Martin in managing her heavy case load, I imagine it was the other way around, considering the amount of attention she gave to the matters we were handling. We explored all angles, discussed complexities in the cases and applicable law, and revised our writing until we were satisfied that we had given each matter our most careful analysis.

Not only was Judge Martin committed to her law clerks’ professional development, but she also took a keen interest in our personal lives. I got married and lost a grandparent during my clerkship, and Judge Martin celebrated and mourned those life milestones alongside me. She stood behind me and cheered as I received my bar exam results. Much has changed since my clerkship nearly two decades ago, but my admiration for Judge Martin remains. If I can approach the practice of law with a fraction of the precision, discipline, and compassion she has displayed throughout her career, I will consider it a successful professional journey indeed. To this day, she remains a mentor, trusted advisor, and friend.

Picture of Rita Bolt Barker

Rita Bolt Barker

Rita Bolt Barker is an experienced litigator and counselor, focusing primarily on environmental, commercial litigation, and insurance coverage matters.

Stay in Touch

Join one our mailing lists and receive regular updates!

Contact Us