Two NDLS Grads Join the Federal Bench

Author: Charles Williams

jack_blakey_crop Jack Blakey

121128jerry_pappert024_1_1_ Jerry Pappert

December saw two Notre Dame Law School grads confirmed to the federal bench. Double Domer Jack Blakey, ’88 B.A., ’92 J.D., was confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by the U.S. Senate December 16. Earlier this month Jerry Pappert, ’88 J.D., was confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Blakey and Pappert join a strong corps of NDLS grads who are already serving on the federal bench, including judges on the 4th, 7th, 9th, and 11th U.S. circuit court of appeals, two bankruptcy court judges, a magistrate judge, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and 11 other U.S. district court judges around the country. Last year the Law School was ranked 8th in the nation for the percentage of graduates securing prestigious federal court clerkships.

Most recently, Jack Blakey was the head of special prosecutions at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. Previously he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida and the Northern District of Illinois. He also served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, practiced law with Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kammholz, P.C., and served as a law clerk for Judge William J. Zloch of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Jack’s Notre Dame roots run deep. His father, G. Robert Blakey, is a professor emeritus at NDLS, and his sister, Marie Blakey, is Executive Director of Academic Communications at Notre Dame. Jack was previously profiled by the College of Arts and Sciences regarding his experiences as a Notre Dame undergrad: “Theatre Background Gives Top Prosecutor an Edge.”

Meanwhile, another outstanding NDLS grad, Jerry Pappert, was confirmed to the federal bench on December 3. Pappert was a partner at the Cozen O’Connor law firm in Philadelphia and a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Department. He was chair of the Pennsylvania Banking & Securities Commission and previously served as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of the biopharmaceutical company Cephalon. Before that he was a partner at Ballard Spahr, which he joined in 2005 after wrapping up a two-year stint as Attorney General of Pennsylvania and six years as deputy attorney general. Before his time with the Attorney General’s Office, Jerry practiced law at Duane Morris and earned his B.A. cum laude from Villanova University.

When nominating Jerry for the judgeship, Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey jointly endorsed him as “of the highest caliber in integrity and commitment to service.”