A little bit of espionage unfolded in the courtroom at the Paul Brown Federal Courthouse last week as the Chief Judge for the Eastern District of Texas Ron Clark honored two local attorneys for their service.


Clark said one of the privileges of being the chief judge is getting to recognize people for work that might otherwise go unnoticed.


“There are a lot of people in the background who do things and never get the recognition they deserve,” he said before introducing two attorneys who have certainly done a lot of work behind the scenes to help improve the federal district court system in the Eastern District of Texas.


Democrat Roger Sanders and Republican Clyde Siebman put politics behind them many years ago to work together to see that empty federal benches in the district were not only filled, but filled with local people when possible.


Clark gave those assembled a run down of each man’s credentials as an attorney and the list of things that they have both done for the eastern district of Texas, including serving on the selection committee for the magistrate judges. He said they work with a committee to get the list of 20 to 30 possible candidates down to a list of around five that the judges can use to make a selection.


“That helps us get the best of the best for our magistrates positions,” he said.


The two are still working, he said, to try to get an additional judge for the Eastern District of Texas. To thank them for that effort, he presented them with portraits of them that will hang in the attorney conference rooms at the Paul Brown Federal Courthouse.


Siebman said he was very surprised at the gift and the presentation. Siebman, who clerked for Paul Brown, teased that he should have known something was up when he was encouraged to walk through the judge’s door into the courtroom.


“Words are inadequate to thank you for all that you have done for the Eastern District of Texas,” Siebman said to Clark.


Siebman said that the judges that practice in the district make it a great place to practice law.


“It all starts at the top with the Chief Justice,” Siebman said thanking Clark.


Sanders warned his office staff that someone there was going to pay because he was really surprised to find himself getting such an honor.


“I am sure what words carry four decades of gratitude for being allowed to practice,” Sanders said.


He said he has been honored to have been given great partners and been allowed to practice in front of great judges like Clark and Judge Amos Mazzant. Sanders said the judges of the Eastern District work hard. He pointed out that Mazzant has three times the national average of civil cases in his court. Sanders said the Dallas Division has 3.1 million cases with 8 judges, the Sherman Division has 2.1 million cases with just one practicing judge, Mazzant.