Judicial Profile: Department 7
Honorable Barry Baskin
- Biographical Information
- Undergrad, grad, law school, degrees and years of degrees. University of the Witwatersrand, Bacclaureus Procurationis, National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA)
- Pre-bench Legal Experience:
From 1979, Judge Baskin was the managing partner of the family law firm, Baskin & Partners, South Africa. His practice consisted of business litigation and family law.
In 1987, he emigrated from South Africa to start a new life away from apartheid, settling in Walnut Creek. He was admitted to practice in California in 1986 joining Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro. He served in the firm’s antitrust and intellectual property group.
In 1989, he joined Farrow, Bramson, Baskin & Plutzik and became a partner in 1990. Until his appointment to the bench, he served as lead trial counsel in the area of complex civil litigation; representing both plaintiffs and defendants.
- Other Bar Admissions and Memberships - U.S. Supreme Court, 1991; Supreme Court, South Africa, 1979
- Political Affiliation:
- Registered Democrat
- Judicial Experience
- In August 2002 he was appointed to the bench by Governor Davis. Currently a Juvenile Law Judge doing dependency and delinquency matters. Served as Civil Fast Track Trial Judge for past 3 years. Supervisor of Family Law, 7/2005 to 1/2009. From 2002 to 2004 at the Richmond branch (2004 as Supervisor) doing felony PX's, felony and misdemeanor jury trials, and arraignments. Serving on the Appellate Division since 2011. Served as Justice Pro-tem in 2012 authoring 20 opinions, 4 of which were published.
- Civic & Professional Activities
1992-2002, served as President of the “Warren Eukel Teacher Trust.” The Trust recognizes and awards four outstanding teachers in the county. Each teacher receives a $10,000 award.
In 1996, the Contra Costa Legal Services Foundation recognized Judge Baskin for his pro-bono contributions to the community.
In 1999, Recipient of "Major Contributions" Award for Pro Bono Work.
2002 to present, Moot Court Judge for high school competitions.
2006 to present, serves as AOC Faculty for California New Judge orientation teaching Ethics and Trial.
2007, Panelist as the 2007 State Bar Conventions (Family Law Section); "The Future of Fmaily Law Courts and Trial Scheduling Orders.
2008-2011, served on California Judges Association Ethics Committee. In 2010 was appointed the CJA liason.
2010, awarded "Trial Judge of the Year" by ACCTLA
2010, panelist at National Business Institute Conference: "What Civil Court Judges Want You to Know".
2011, faculty teaching and designing the court "Ethics and the Art of Judging in Family Law" '
2011, served as Adjunct Professor at JFK University School of Law, teaching Criminal Procedure in the evenings.
2012, panelist, Ethics of Social Media for Judges.
Judge Baskin has been a member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association, American Bar Association, Consumer Lawyers of California, American Trial Lawyers Association, and Robert G. McGrath Inn of Court. He was a member of the California State Bar’s Local Rules and Procedures Committee. He was a probation officer for the State Bar Court, and acted as a panelist for the American Arbitration Association.
- "Summary Judgment After Matsushita" (Anti-Trust, ABA, Vol. 1, No. 3, 1987). Assisted in preparation of the article.
"To Discover or Not to Discover, that is the Contradiction,"South African Law Journal, 1981. An article on an anomaly in the discovery rules.
"Recognizing and Prosecuting Class Actions," an article published in the Contra Costa Lawyer in June, 1997.
"Reflections of a South African born Jurist," an article published in the Contra Costa Lawyer in April, 2005.
"How to Survive the Social Media Frenzy," an article published in the Spring 2011 edition of The Bench, the official journal of the California Judges Association.
- Courtroom Policies
- Generally rules from bench. Issues written instructions to attorneys on trials.
- Permitted after notice.
- Avoid boilerplate.
- Again, avoid boilerplate.
- Attorneys must comply fully with obligations.
- Settlement Conferences
- Judge Baskin is available for settlement conferences.
- Not applicable at this time in his current assignment. However, Judge Baskin supports most forms of ADR.
- In Limine Motions
- Comply with the local rules.
- Voir Dire
- If you discuss law, do not stray from instructions.
- Jury Instructions
- Required in advance from both sides.
- Witnesses need to be available so as not to waste valuable court time.
- Rarely, depends on circumstances.
- Court Reporters & Translators
- Court reporters are mandatory in all courts. Translators are provided in criminal cases. However, in civil cases, the parties need to arrange for a translator themselves.
- Computers in the Courtroom
- Laptops are allowed.
- There is no audio-visual equipment available in the courtroom, but all such technology is allowed.
- Cameras in the Courtroom
- Depends on the facts.
- Be prepared on the applicable law.