Judith Berkan

San Juan, PR

Judith Berkan is a partner in the San Juan law firm of Berkan/Mendez. She specializes in government misconduct litigation and employment discrimination cases. Berkan worked as an attorney in New Haven, Connecticut before going to Puerto Rico as the staff attorney for the Puerto Rico Legal Project of the National Lawyers Guild, now the Puerto Rico Civil Rights Institute. For twenty-seven years, she has been teaching, primarily in the Constitutional Law area, at the Inter American University Law School (IAU) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. For the past seven years, she has directed a civil rights practice clinic at IAU.

A frequent speaker and author of many articles on civil rights issues, Judith was the President of the Human Rights Commission of the Puerto Rico Bar Association in the mid-1990's and a member of the Commonwealth Supreme Court's task force on gender discrimination. Berkan has won many significant jury awards in civil rights cases and has argued several leading First Circuit cases including Gutierrez Rodriguez v. Cartagena (standards for supervisory liability of high-level officers, including the island-wide superintendent of police); Camilo Robles v. Hoyos (supervisory liability and qualified immunity issues); Zambrana v. Suarez (color of law and off-duty officers); and the Lipsett v. Blanco and Rodriguez-Hernandez v. Miranda decisions (dealing with attorneys fees in civil rights cases).