The Honorable Joseph C. Spero

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Department G


The Hon. Joseph C. Spero is the Chief Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He was appointed to the bench on March 13, 1999, and he assumed the role of Chief Magistrate in 2015.

Spero earned a B.A. from Grinnell College in 1977. He then completed a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1981.

He began his legal career as a law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1981. The following year, he joined Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom as an associate, where he was assigned corporate takeover, securities, and antitrust cases. However, his time there would be brief, as he soon moved to Coblentz, Cahen, McCabe & Breyer in 1984. He entered the firm as an associate, eventually rising to partner in 1989. During his tenure there, he handled securities, general commercial litigation, and white-collar defense matters.

Spero has served in the Magistrate Judges Advisory Group of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Magistrate Judge Executive Board of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as well as the Capital Case Committee of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

He is a recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Award from the Bar Association of the City of New York.

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