News

D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Washington to Step Down in March

December 16, 2016

Chief Judge Eric T. WashingtonChief Judge Eric T. Washington announced that he would be stepping down in March 2017.  

Chief Judge Washington has led the Court of Appeals, and consequently the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration, the D.C. Courts’ policy-making body, for 11 years. He has served on the D.C. Court of Appeals for 17 years and, prior to joining the Appellate Court, Chief Judge Washington served as a judge on the D.C. Superior Court for four years. When he steps down in 2017, he will have been the longest serving chief judge in the history of the D.C. Courts.

“The decision to step down was not an easy one. I have tremendously enjoyed my time with the D.C. Courts, both the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals. I have worked with and have had appear before me some of the most brilliant legal minds in the country. My colleagues on the bench, the attorneys who practice before us, and the D.C. Court employees, with whom I have shared this journey over the past 22 years, have inspired me with their dedication and commitment to excellence. It is, however, time for me to embrace new challenges,” said Chief Judge Washington.

A native of New Jersey, Chief Judge Washington has made Washington, D.C., his home since 1983. Prior to being appointed to the D.C. Superior Court by President William J. Clinton, he served as the legislative director and counsel for a U.S. Congressman and as the principal deputy corporation counsel for the District of Columbia. Chief Judge Washington had also engaged in the private practice of law, first with Fulbright and Jaworski, now Norton Rose Fulbright, and later as a partner with the law firm of Hogan and Hartson, now Hogan Lovells.

As chief judge of the Court of Appeals, Chief Judge Washington reduced the median time of cases on appeal by 30 percent from 2005 to 2012, initiated the audio and video-streaming of oral arguments, oversaw the implementation of a new digital case management system that allows remote access to appellate case dockets, instituted e-filing in the Court of Appeals, and established an appellate mediation program.

He has been a strong proponent of expanding access to justice for all, including being a strong supporter of the efforts of the chief judges of the Superior Court and the D.C. Bar to establish resource centers in most of the high volume courtrooms in the District of Columbia. In addition, he worked with the D.C. Access to Justice Commission to expand access to attorneys for low- and middle-income D.C. residents and worked tirelessly, both locally and nationally, for increased access to interpreter services for those with limited English proficiency. 

Chief Judge Washington was a charter member of the D.C. Courts’ Strategic Planning Leadership Council and has authored articles on the use of strategic management in courts as a disciplined governance structure. He is a past president of the Conference of Chief Justice of the U.S. and served as chair of the board of directors of the National Center for State Courts. 

Chief Judge Washington is married to Sheryl Webber Washington, a former UPS vice-president for public affairs. They have three grown children.