After 21 Years on the Federal Bench, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte to Retire

Hon. Elizabeth D. Laporte, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte is set to retire in October 2019. Laporte, who first took the bench in 1998 and served as the Northern District of California's chief magistrate judge from 2013 to 2015, helped shape patent and IP case law and advanced the court’s e-discovery procedures.

“I have been privileged to serve for 21 years on this Court, where I could not have asked for better colleagues,” Laporte said in a statement on the court's website announcing her retirement plans. “The judges have generously mentored me and modeled their dedication to serving justice throughout my time on the bench." 

Laporte called the Northern District the "national leader in its use of magistrate judges, who carry the highest civil caseload in the federal system with consent of the parties."

"I cannot thank the judges and the staff enough. I am also honored to be part of the outstanding legal community that practices before our Court,” she said.

Laporte, a Princeton University and Yale Law School alumna, served as an administrative law judge for the California Department of Insurance and chief of special litigation for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office prior to taking the federal bench. Laporte also clerked for U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the Northern District and was a policy planner and economist at the Federal Trade Commission.

Laporte is among the leading legal thinkers on e-discovery issues in the district and nationwide. The judge served as a judicial observer for the Sedona Conference Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and was a member of the Federal Circuit’s Bench & Bar E-Discovery Committee. Last year, she co-chaired the Federal Judicial Center and Electronic Discovery Institute’s Judicial Training Program. For her efforts, she earned the Judicial Leadership Award from the Electronic Discovery Institute in 2015.

Four years ago, she launched the Northern District’s Women Attorneys Advocacy Project, which seeks to promote gender equity in the legal community.

Laporte will leave big shoes to fill, said Northern District Chief Judge Phyllis. Hamilton in a statement. “Among other things, she has provided a huge contribution in her handling of patent and other IP cases and has led the court in its development of our ESI (e-discovery) procedures,” she said. “Magistrate Judge Laporte, moreover, is one of the reasons that magistrate judges in our District perform such a wide variety of judicial work and handle so many consent cases. She will be missed, but she leaves the Court in a better place because of her commitment to our mission and to the overall goal of excellence in the administration of justice.”

To fill her vacancy, the court will request appointment approval from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.