Hon. Geraldine Soat Brown See Rating Details
Magistrate Judge See Comments
N.D.Ill.  
Average Rating:5.5 - 30 rating(s)
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Ratings

*Temperament:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Scholarship:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Industriousness:   (1=Not at all industrious,10=Highly industrious)
*Ability to Handle Complex Litigation:    (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Punctuality:    (1=Chronic`y Late,10=Always on Time)
*Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation:    (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
*Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation:   (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Flexibility In Scheduling   (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Pre-Trial:   (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Civil Settlement Discussions:   (1=Least Involved,10=Most Involved)
  Items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating
Comments



What others have said about Hon. Geraldine Soat Brown


Comments


Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 20897
Rating:9.2
Comments:
Judge Brown will follow the rules. For many civil litigants that can be a shock. She is thoughtful in making her decisions. She can be rattled a bit, but is a very solid judge and an asset to the bench. Lucky to get her.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 20780
Rating:9.7
Comments:
Finest magistrate judge in the district. No question about it.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 19825
Rating:9.8
Comments:
Smart, careful, fair, and diligent. Tough on incompetents, but good lawyers love her. Everything you could want in a judge.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 19385
Rating:2.3
Comments:
A horrible, horrible judge in civil matters. One of the worst I've ever appeared in front of, and that includes the Circus Court of Cook County.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 19160
Rating:9.8
Comments:
People who think this judge is rigid or cold are mistaking rigidity and coldness for high standards. She knows how to practice law, and so she expects lawyers to know and follow the rules. Lawyers who aren't adequately prepared often find judges who know what they're doing "rigid" or "cold" -- or "elitist," for that matter, although there's nothing particularly elitist about preferring capable lawyers to lawyers who aren't. Keep up the good work, Judge Brown.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 18943
Rating:5.8
Comments:
Rigid, cold, elitist fish who LOVES all the trappings of being a judge.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 18934
Rating:10.0
Comments:
Outstanding in every way. I'm a big fan and have been for years.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 18898
Rating:4.8
Comments:
Not strong. Should not become an Article lll judge. Corporate defendant biased. Prejudges and sticks with her initial view.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 13062
Rating:9.7
Comments:
Perhaps the best magistrate judge in the district, certainly one of the hardest-working, and the criticisms here are incomprehensible. If there is a judge at any level who takes the job more seriously, I haven't met him.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 12962
Rating:1.5
Comments:
She nearly began to cry at a settlement conference involving a case that resolved in the $10k-$20k range. Simply put, she does not exhibit the skill required to be a judge.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 11517
Rating:8.0
Comments:
I only know her from settlement negotiations, and highly regard her. She spent vast amounts of time, and pushed for a fair and appropriate settlement, really. My biggest complaint about magistrate mediators generally is that they have little power, clout or influence in getting anything accomplished other than wearing down the plaintiff to accept a terribly small amount. she actually tries to understand the claim substantively, and get to a just result, and even if it takes a long time and a lot of work. I like her very much.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 8579
Rating:8.8
Comments:
It is a sad abuse of what should be an objective and useful rating/evaluation system when a disappointed lawyer instead spills bile on a fine judge. I will disclose up front that I am the opposing counsel in 7592’s case. Without litigating the merits of that case here, I can offer that the manner of Judge Brown’s decisions is presented incompletely and unfairly. First, Judge Brown made a number of rulings against my client and in favor of 7592, including a ruling that they must produce sensitive information on their profit structure – thus, the statement that she ruled for defendants in “all” discovery matters is simply not true. Second, the statement that Judge Brown “did not issue rulings until the eve of trial” is also untrue. The rulings were issued in the Fall of 2008; trial is scheduled for late April 2009. Third, Judge Brown was dealing with motions of a highly personal and indeed venomous nature: the attacks made by 7592 on opposing counsel were as extreme as is his likening here of Judge Brown to Julius Hoffman. In one instance, 7592 asked that the entire case be dismissed because of what he alleged to be discovery “abuses.” In another motion, 7592 sought to invoke the “crime/fraud” exception to the attorney-client privilege on the basis that my co-counsel and I had sought to destroy and conceal evidence. In two extensive opinions, Judge Brown denied the motions and found that they were without any evidence at all. So extreme were the attacks that Judge Brown inserted a cautionary note into her opinion warning that counsel who practice in the Seventh Circuit have a duty not to make “unfounded accusations of impropriety” about opposing counsel. The district court upheld both decisions. There are two sides to any litigation and I am likely biased here toward that of my client, but for readers of this site, I can state only that having both won and lost motions before Judge Brown, I thought her to be balanced, fair, and most of all careful in consideration of every argument made. This is a jurist who reads the briefs, thinks hard, and tries to strike the correct balance.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 8360
Rating:8.8
Comments:
Wow. Some of these comments are illustrative of why people with agendas should not post about judges.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Brown is hardly a shill for either the plaintiff's bar or the defense bar. I primarily do defense work. There have been times when she had ordered me to turn over the documents, and other times where she has denied motions to compel.

I have found that she is at her best when she is dealing with attorneys who actually know what they are doing and not looking to churn files over stupid issues that require no briefing or argument. For example, just because you don't agree about the meaning of a document, doesn't mean it is not relevant and, therefore, exempt from production. Read Rule 26 again, preferably with your eyes open.

She has no discernable bias, prejudice or whatever other colorful euphemism one would use to describe a judge as being "unfair." Of course, she is human and has faults, as do we all.

For instance, I could do without her patronizing comments that she sometimes makes to practitioners (mostly toward younger lawyers) about practicing in "federal court." For example, "in federal court, you must file an appearance." "In federal court, summary judgment is a big deal." Really? Thanks for sharing, judge. I suspect that such comments are attributable to her elitist pride in being a "federal" judge.

Judge Brown is clearly bright and can do the job when she doesn't let her ego get in the way. Her biggest problem appears to stem from her lack of confidence in handling a courtroom, possibly due to the fact that she had little, if any, lead chair trial experience. That she used to work for the same law firm in which Judge Shadur was a partner is no substitute for trial experience. Conversely, she has far more experience in complex litigation than many of the lawyers who appear before her. No judge ever has the complete package. Don't rant about Judge Brown just because she doesn't fit your paradigm of a "judge." Neither do most of the others in that courthouse.

There are two components to her job: (1) conduct settlement conferences; and (2) referee discovery disputes. She is a seasoned mediator and able to get cases that should settle, settled. You don't have to be Perry Mason to settle a case. I dare say, nobody is ever entirely happy with a discovery ruling, so if 90% of the litigants who appear before her say that she splits the baby on discovery, the response should be "yawn."

Give the lady a break. Some of you need get a clue, a better hobby or both. If you insist on slamming judges, or anybody else for that matter, man up and sign your posts.

Sincerely,

Wouldn't you like to know . . .

Court Staff

Comment #: 8330
Rating:2.4
Comments:
Judge Brown is the most stubborn judge in federal court. She is the kind of person who hates being wrong. She will stick with a decision or opinion even if you present her with law or policy that clearly shows that she is mistaken.

Other

Comment #: 7701
Rating:10.0
Comments:
Judge Brown (not "Soat-Brown") is neither "mean-spirited" nor "arrogant." She isn't boastful in the least, and, in my experience, never mentions the article that seems to be the preoccupation of some other reviewers.

Judge Brown is instead an intelligent, fair-minded, even-handed judge, unquestionably one of the finest in the district. She does have high standards, and she does expect lawyers to abide by them. That tends to rankle inept and ill-tempered lawyers (see comment No. 7592 below).

It's a shame that such a careful and meticulous jurist is defamed this way. For contrary views more representative of the Chicago bar as a whole, see her entry in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 7655
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
The worst magistrate I have ever appeared before. She is arrogant and heavy-handed in settlement discussion. She clearly favors defendants in civil litigation. Judge Soat-Brown kept telling both sides in settlement that we should read her published article, which I did. I now understand why she is a terrible judge. Her article is her personal biased opinion.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 7592
Rating:3.5
Comments:
Judge Brown is the most biased and mean-spirited judge in federal court that I have dealt with since I tried a case before Julius Hoffman in 1973 (that I won). She failed to recognize, or recognized and chose to reward the defense counsel's obstructionist tactics in all discovery matters. Despite that we voluntarily gave up any discoverable materials and they withheld, redacted and/or declared confidential almost every document they produced, she repeatedly granted them more relief than the rules allowed and almost never gave us any relief - going so far as to strip the attorney-client privilege of one plaintiff because he was to offer expert opinions. On the other hand, she extended their attorney-client privilege to cover a meeting among all of the defendants that a first-year associate listened in on, based on his attendance and a joint defense agreement that the defendants did not enter into until months later. When we established that they had withheld hundreds of documents, including some core documents that were in a category she ordered them to produce, she refused to issue any sanction at all. She denied another important motion made and briefed at the same time, but did not issue rulings until the eve of trial, thus preventing us from getting a meaningful review by the district court. If defendants could not come up with a rationale for her to deny a motion, she would raise an issue sua sponte to do so. I don't know anything about her mediation skills - I refused the district court's suggestion that the case be referred back to her for mediation.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5888
Rating:1.8
Comments:
One of the worse judges that I have ever appeared before. She is arrogant and unfair. She becomes red-faced and agitated when she feels she is being challenged. Whatever her background is, she is a terrible magistrate.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5882
Rating:9.3
Comments:
Have been before Judge Soat Brown on both the plaintiff and defendant side. Find her to be even-handed, scholarly and methodical. In my opinion, she displays balance and appropriate judicial temperament.

Other

Comment #: 5864
Rating:10.0
Comments:
The other comments here paint a completely inaccurate picture of Judge Brown. Judge Brown serves in the 7th Circuit, not the 7th "District." And she did not come from a "transactional practice" but was a litigator with a well-established Chicago law firm for 25 years before her appointment.

Several of the commenters complain about Judge Brown's article and her use of it in settlement conferences. The article, "What Happens to Cases that Don't Settle," published in the Spring 2005 edition of Dispute Resolution Magazine, is an empirical study of all cases that didn't settle within 6 months of a settlement conference. The data showed the non-settling plaintiffs fared badly at trial, and Judge Brown hypothesizes simply that plaintiffs do a poorer job than defendants in evaluating cases.

Judge Brown is one of the fairest, most honorable, most conscientious, and hardest-working federal judges in Chicago.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5637
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Probably the worse Magistrate in the 7th District.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5615
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Judge Soat Brown is impressed with herself. The comments below are right on the money - if you don't agree with her you may regret it later. She clearly has a predisposition in favor of defendants in civil cases. Her published paper that plaintiffs cannot prevail in civil litigation contains her personal opinions, not facts. Judge Brown uses a small number of cases to come to her biased conclusion.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 5502
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Judge Soat Brown is arrogant and predisposed in favor of defendants in civil cases. Her published paper, which she boasts about constantly, is flawed. Judge Soat Brown brings her personal biases to the bench. She doesn't know the meaning of the words "impartiality" and "even-handed." She has forgotten that civil litigation is difficult for all involved and that people's lives are seriously affected by her biases.

Court Staff

Comment #: 5487
Rating:3.0
Comments:
Judge Brown has an inflated sense of self. She came to the bench from a strict transactional background and thought she "deserved" the appointment. Unfortunately, that attitude has colored the way she deals with people. She is not even-handed, and certainly not compassionate. In addition, she becomes upset and red-faced if she feels she is being questioned.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 4729
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Comment #3330 is right on. She is predisposed in favor of defendants. If you don't go along with her "suggestions" you just might regret it later.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 3330
Rating:1.0
Comments:
A terrible Judge; After reading her published article about her experience that plantiffs cannot prevail in civil litigation, I now understand why she is such a terrible Judge. She has a predisposition in favor of defendants in civil litigation. Not a model jurist.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 3087
Rating:3.2
Comments:
Judge Soat Brown was very biased in my case, she was supposed to be a neutral party in Settlement conference, I felt as if she was an advocate/attorney for the defense. Her handling of my settlement conference makes me believe that the legal system is a joke.