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Gloria Golmohammadi

From the Bench

By Joy Y. Wang

Spring 2014

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Before arriving at Columbia Law School in 2013, Gloria Golmohammadi ’14 LL.M. spent six months as an associate judge for the Administrative Court of Stockholm. While serving on that bench, she ruled on the involuntary institutionalization of mentally ill defendants, calmly explained to parents why they were being denied custody of their children, and issued more than 150 rulings on a wide variety of cases that included everything from immigration matters to appeals by financial firms.

“There are some cases that are more difficult to adjudicate from an emotional perspective, and some that are more difficult from a legal perspective,” she explains. “As a young judge, I really had to reflect about that balance between being empathetic and also being credible.”

Golmohammadi, who previously worked as a legal attaché for the Swedish Mission to the United Nations, spent two years serving as a law clerk at the administrative court and gained a reputation for offering unexpected, creative perspectives on complex legal issues.

“There was a huge, complicated tax case, and I set up the argument as a three-course meal, with an appetizer, main dish, and dessert,” she says. Her mentor at the court appreciated the fresh approach and encouraged Golmohammadi to apply for the associate judge training program.

On a leave of absence from the court to obtain her LL.M., she worked with the Center for Public Research and Leadership to study public sector reform efforts in education. Golmohammadi also analyzed how normative values define human rights issues. “The year at Columbia gave me a platform to take what I’ve learned and explore the issues that interest me in more of an international framework,” she says.

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Photographed by David Yellen