It would be an understatement to say that Chief Judge Joel Dubina of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has a unique understanding of the federal court system. He has served as a federal judge since 1983, at four different levels: magistrate, district judge, appellate judge, and now, chief appellate judge. Among other points of interest, Chief Judge Dubina was on the Elian Gonzalez panel and has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. More below:
Born 1947 in Elkhart, Indiana.
Graduated from Alabama institutions: the University of Alabama and Samford University's Cumberland Law School.
Clerked for Judge Robert Varner of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, where Dubina later served as a magistrate (1983-1986) and district judge (1986-1990; appointed to fill Varner's seat).
Practiced in Alabama for nine years with a private firm, developing an expertise in federal court litigation.
Volunteered one night a month, while in private practice, advising indigent persons. Joel F. Dubina, The Characteristics of a Good Lawyer, 35 Cumb. L. Rev. 1, 2 (2005).
Nominated in 1990 by George H.W. Bush to the Eleventh Circuit; chief judge since 2009.
Praised by one of his opponents and later, judicial colleagues, as "the classic respectful yet forceful adversary" and "the perfect judge—fair, efficient and respectful of the parties and their lawyers."
Wrote an article about his adventure climbing Mount Kilimanjaro; also climbed Mount Rainier and enjoys hunting and fishing.
Served on the Eleventh Circuit panel that upheld INS' rejection of asylum for Elian Gonzalez and wrote an article about the case. Joel F. Dubina, A Synopsis of Gonzalez v. Reno, 24 Am. J. Trial Advoc. 483 (2001).
Shared advice with appellate advocates, as well as attorneys in general. Joel F. Dubina, Effective Appellate Advocacy, Litigation, Winter 1994, at 3; How to Litigate Successfully in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 29 Cumb. L. Rev. 1 (1998); The Characteristics of a Good Lawyer, supra, at 1-4; see also here, comments on a Dubina speech about work-life balance.