J Clifford Wallace

The Honorable J. Clifford Wallace is currently a Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He has served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, since 1972, including as Chief Justice from 1991 to 1996. Prior to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Wallace was a Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California (1970-1972).

Judge Wallace was influential in developing the idea of the American Inns of Court. He had accompanied Chief Justice Warren Burger on the 1977 Anglo-American Legal Exchange which was the impetus for the first Inn of Court in Provo, Utah, where Judge Wallace served as keynote speaker at the organizational dinner. The American Inns of Court, now has nearly 400 chapters and more than 130,000 active and alumni members across the nation, and is dedicated to excellence, civility, professionalism, and ethics in the practice of law.

In 2016, Judge Wallace received the American Inns of Court A. Sherman Christensen Award, which is ” bestowed upon a member of an American Inn of Court who, at the local, state or national level has provided distinguished, exceptional, and significant leadership to the American Inns of Court movement.” The award was presented at the 2016 American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence held at the U.S. Supreme Court on November 5, 2016. Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., hosted the event.

In 2006, the American Judicature Society honored Judge Wallace with its 24th Annual Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award. The award is one recognizing “significant contributions to the administration of justice, the advancement of the rule of law, and the improvement of society as a whole”, and was formally presented to Judge Wallace by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy in ceremonies at San Diego’s Spreckles Theater on October 19, 2006.

Born in San Diego, Judge Wallace obtained his undergraduate degree at San Diego State University in 1952 and his law degree from University of California Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1955, where he was an editor of the California Law Review. He served in the United States Navy from 1946 to 1949, then entered private practice in San Diego from 1955 to 1970 at the law firm of Gray Carey Ames & Frye.

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