Hanlon takes oath as Southern District judge

Faegre Baker Daniels partner James Patrick Hanlon was officially sworn in as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana Tuesday morning, bringing the court to a full bench for the first time since 2014.

Chief Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson administered the oath to Hanlon at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, fulfilling the final step in Hanlon’s ascent to the bench to fill the open seat left by Judge William Lawrence, who assumed senior status in July 2018. A 1996 magna cum laude graduate of Valparaiso University Law School, Hanlon was nominated to the bench in April and received the support of senators Todd Young, a Republican, and Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, before being confirmed by a voice vote on Oct. 11.  

“The court is delighted to have Judge Hanlon on the bench,” Magnus-Stinson said in a statement. “He is an immensely talented attorney and his experience and success in private practice, with the United States Attorney’s Office, and as a law clerk make him the perfect person to fill the latest vacancy on the court. The addition of Judge Hanlon brings the Southern District of Indiana back to its full complement of five district judges and we are grateful to be at full strength once more.”

The Southern District Court has long been considered in a judicial emergency, with a weighted caseload of 821 cases per judge, according the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The court has been short at least one judge since June 2014, when Judge Sarah Evans Barker took senior status. Hanlon’s caseload will pull from the Indianapolis and Terre Haute divisions, including newly assigned cases as well as reassigned cases from other judges.

Prior to his appointment as district judge, Hanlon served as co-chair of Faegre’s white collar defense and investigations practice. Before that, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Indiana, as a clerk for Northern District Judge Robert L. Miller and in private practice in Chicago in his native Illinois. His work has included 12 jury and two bench trials and multiple cases before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.  

To learn more about Hanlon, read the Nov. 14 issue of Indiana Lawyer. 

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