Arthur G. Scotland, who led the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento as its presiding justice for a dozen years, has ventured into private practice for the first time in his long and distinguished career.
It was announced today that Scotland, who retired in 2010 after 23 years on the appellate court, has joined the Sacramento firm of Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP.
Scotland, 65, will be "of counsel," meaning he will work only part time.
"I found that I'm not the type of person who can simply ride off into the sunset," Scotland said Wednesday. "I will still have the time to do the family things I want to do, yet be able to continue to be involved in government and public policy issues."
The politically well-connected firm specializes in government, political and initiative law, tax policy, constitutional and voting rights, and redistricting and regulatory law. It is one of the top lobbying firms in California.
Scotland will be a member of the firm's government section, but will be available to assist the litigation and political sections, according to senior government law partner Steve Merksamer. "Justice Scotland is highly regarded for his political expertise and exemplary work as a judge presiding over many complex and landmark civil and criminal cases," said Merksamer. "He will be a tremendous addition to our firm."
Scotland, a University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law graduate, served as a deputy district attorney in Sacramento, a state deputy attorney general, and Cabinet secretary to Gov. George Deukmejian, who appointed him to the Sacramento Superior Court in 1987, and then to the 3rd District two years later.
In 2010, the state Judicial Council presented Scotland with the Ronald M. George Award, which honors a member of the judiciary for "extraordinary dedication to the highest principles of the administration of justice." He was named Judge of the Year by the Sacramento County Bar Association in 2004.
Since stepping down from the bench, Scotland has most recently completed an assignment for the State Bar. Before that, he undertook an evaluation of the Administrative Office of the Courts for California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a friend from their days together on the 3rd District, who has referred to Scotland as "a mentor."
Also since his retirement, Scotland represented legislative leaders in a lawsuit against the state controller over who has the authority to decide whether a budget bill meets constitutional standards. His clients prevailed, and the matter is on appeal to the 3rd District. He will not continue his representation before his old court.
The suit "got my juices flowing again," he said. "I was ready for a little more action, and I'm looking forward to the breadth of issues Nielsen Merksamer handles."