Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein was appointed to the federal bench in 1980. She was chief judge of the Western District of Washington from 1987-1994. She was appointed Director of the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. in 2003.
Before her appointment to the federal bench, she served as a King County Superior Court judge. Prior to that she practiced law with a private firm in Boston, Massachusetts, and with the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division of the State of Washington’s Attorney General’s office. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University and attended Harvard Law School.
Judge Rothstein has taught trial practice at the University of Washington Law School. She has served on a variety of committees including the Federal-State Relations Committee of the United States Judicial Conference and the Ninth Circuit Standing Committee on Gender, Race, Religious and Ethnic Fairness. She is a frequent lecturer and is a member of the American Law Institute. She is currently on the Board of the Institute of Judicial Administration at New York University Law School and on the Board of the American Law Institute-American Bar Association. She also serves as member of the National Academy of Science's Committee on Science, Technology and Law.
She is a Commissioner on the American Judicature Society’s Commission on Forensic Science and Public Policy as well as a member of the Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy Justice Education Advisory Committee. She has also served on the Board of EINSHAC, an educational affiliate of the Human Genome Project dedicated to instructing judges on scientific issues connected with the role of genetics in litigation. She is a member of the National Historical Publications and Record Commission; the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Judicial Advisory Board; the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ District 4); the Rule of Law Initiative(ABA); the Advisory Committee for Georgetown University Law Center "Our Courts" project.