Judge Marilyn Litzenberger

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Marilyn Litzenberger

"Judges always talk about how much they love their jobs," she said. "Well, I love it."

Judge Litzenberger says she is enjoying the challenge of learning the in's and out's of the heavy criminal docket in Multnomah County. Her prior exposure to criminal law was limited to what she learned in law school and her brief participation in the "DA for a Day" program more than a decade ago. She credits her colleagues on the bench with shortening her learning curve. "The other judges," she says, "are very generous with their time." When a case unexpectedly resolves and she has a minute to spare, Judge Litzenberger can be found in the back of a courtroom observing how other judges do their jobs or reading search and seizure cases.

For 14 years at Bullivant Houser Bailey, Judge Litzenberger handled a variety of cases, but most of her legal career there involved catastrophic injury and complex products liability cases, including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and tobacco. She credits the attorneys at her former firm with teaching her the skills she needed to be a successful lawyer and encouraging her personal goal of becoming a judge.

Cases involving pharmaceuticals were a natural fit. Judge Litzenberger earned a degree in pharmacology from OSU, which caused more than a bit of conflict for a life-long Duck fan raised in Springfield. She moved to Portland with her husband, a CPA, and spent six years filling prescription orders before applying to Lewis & Clark Law School. Judge Litzenberger has two children that attend Portland public schools.

When Judge Litzenberger first took the bench she was the most mobile judge, daily tucking her black robe under her arm and eagerly heading to the Justice Center to conduct arraignments, or moving from courtroom to courtroom to preside over a misdemeanor trial or sentencing. She now has her own courtroom and handles both civil and criminal cases off the court's general trial docket.

Originally authored by Michael Dwyer and printed in the November 2003 Multnomah Lawyer
Updated for the Internet in 2012