Hon. Michael F. Urbanski See Rating Details
District Judge See Comments
Average Rating:8.5 - 7 rating(s)
Please send me alerts on this judge
E-mail Address:

Add your own rating

E-Mail Address (will not be displayed)
Confirm E-mail Address      
Add a comment only


*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)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Trial:    (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Sentencing:    (1=Most Lenient,10=Most Harsh)
Typical Discount Off Guidelines for Cooperators:    (1=10%,10=100%)
  Items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating

What others have said about Hon. Michael F. Urbanski


Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 23490
Judge Urbanski is a credit to the federal bench. He employs a scholarly approach to the civil cases on his docket, often performing his own research if he believes the litigants have missed something. His opinions are thoroughly researched, meticulously organized and beautifully written. He is a gentleman off the bench. In fact, he has a tradition of coming down to shake hands and converse with lawyers at the conclusion of proceedings. I have also witnessed him handle criminal proceedings while waiting for my case to be called. His approach is the same -- thoughtful and fair but firm. He will sit on the Court of Appeals one day.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 23423
Judge Urbanski is a credit to the federal bench. He comes to every issue prepared. He is a tireless worker - when he is away from his chambers in Roanoke handling cases in the outposts of W.D. Va., I have seen him going over the day's issues with his clerks in the hotel lobby at 5:30 a.m. He gives each side the opportunity for a full and fair hearing, but unlike so many judges, he gives full weight to the burdens the government is required to carry in criminal cases. He does not pre-judge evidence, and has been known to be persuaded to change his mind in oral arguments on motions. The only downside of this is that, in giving his full consideration to issues, proceedings sometimes drag out quite a bit longer than they would with other judges. He has no patience for abusive prosecutions, so AUSAs in front of Judge Urbanski know they have to come prepared, because he isn't a rubber stamp - the laws and the rules of evidence and procedure mean something to him. I personally wrote to Senator Kaine to commend him for recommending Judge Urbanski for appointment, and to urge him to recommend him again when a seat comes open on the 4th Circuit. W.D. Va. will miss him, but he is well-suited for the appellate bench.


Comment #: 23103
I do not know what he is like in civil cases, but he is the definition of an activist judge in criminal ones. He is one of the most pro-defendant federal judges in the country, and is well known to look hard for reasons to let even guilty defendants go free. He openly says he wants to do what he sees as justice, and his notion of Justice often conflicts with the precedent before him. Those are the times he works the hardest, to try to find some legitimate way around the law he doesn't like. And if he cannot find one he just rules his way anyway and dares the government to appeal. For sentencings he typically starts at half of the guidelines and works down from there. Although his bias is clearly pro-defendant, his judicial temperament is pretty evenly awful to both sides. It's not uncommon for him to yell at attorneys until he is red in the face. He is also known to tell them to shut up and sit down when they try to speak. He paces around during hearings and trials and frequently interrupts the attorneys and starts questioning witnessss himself. It is no secret that those that helped him get on the bench now regret it.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 18115
One of the best judges I've ever practiced in front of. You won't find a judge more knowledgeable on the issues and facts of a case. He has a firm but fair hand on court matters, always with an eye towards a full and fair hearing of issues. You will rarely find a jurist of his intelligence and work ethic. I appreciate his habit of shaking hands of the parties who appear before him. Judge Urbanski merits Circuit promotion at the next available offering.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 13304
Great judge. Hard working, fair, pays attention to the issues. I practiced before him while he was a magistrate and am excited to see that he received a well-deserved promotion. Sometimes things work out like they're supposed to.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 3717
Judge Urbanski handled the litigators extremely well, I don't think if we'd had another judge that a settlement would have been reached. He was enthusiastic, fair, extremely plesant to deal with.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 1784
excellent judge.