Photo credit: Annie Shak
From a passionate and dedicated student at Yale Law School to working with the Supreme Court and President Clinton as an avid fighter for women and minorities, civil litigator, Tanya Acker, lends her legal mind on the fifth season of the Emmy nominated CBS Television Distribution’s syndicated court show “Hot Bench,” created by Judge Judy, which currently airs M-F at 9:00am & 9:30am ET / 1:00pm & 1:30pm PT. HOT BENCH adds a new twist to the court genre, with the first-ever three judge panel (Tanya Acker, Patricia DiMango and Michael Corriero), taking viewers inside the courtroom and into their chambers as they deliberate, making it one of the most popular daytime programs—delivering more than 3.2 million daily viewers.
You are featured as one of the first-ever three judge panel on the Emmy nominated CBS hit show HOT BENCH. Please share with us how that opportunity came about?
I got a call from CBS – come in and meet with us about a new show, they said. Ok, I said. We had tryouts – different combinations of people doing mock examinations. Judy picked me. It was a super happy day.
Your career background is fighting for under-served communities. Which community has affected you the most and why?
There are a lot of people who’ve spent much more time working with underserved communities than I but I do what I can. I’ve been impacted by a lot of things: by what I saw in Haiti (lovetakesroot.org) is the organization with which I work – they support a Haitian orphanage, clinic and school); by what I saw at East River Academy, (a school for incarcerated kids on Rikers Island where I first went at the invitation of my colleague, Judge Corriero (I later spoke at the graduation); and also by what I sometimes see just driving around Los Angeles, where I live. (Publiccounsel.org) has been critical in fighting for underserved communities both in Los Angeles and elsewhere). I think there is a lot of opportunity in the world and everyone should have a chance at it.
What are your thoughts on the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movement?
It has been an important platform for remedying the isolation of victims and also for pointing out how widespread are issues of discrimination and sexual assault. The movement has been a necessary part of an equally necessary national conversation.
Your commitment to help those dealing with homelessness and domestic violence shows strength and compassion toward others. Why are these causes so important to you, and what impact would you like to continue to make as a lawyer as it relates to this matter?
If you don’t have a home in which you feel safe, it’s hard to focus on anything else. I’m on the board of Rainbow Services (Rainbowservicesdv.org), which provides shelter services to victims of violence and their families. I’ve seen the impact that having a safe home can have on those who didn’t have one before.
What do you want your legacy to be as both a lawyer who deals with the law and as a person who has a passion for helping under-served communities?
I’m not quite sure on that one yet, I’ll tell you when I feel old enough to start thinking about things like “a legacy.”
When people think of courtroom television, Judge Judy comes to mind. She also happens to be the creator of HOT BENCH. What has been your experience working with television’s most popular no-nonsense judge?
She is a smart, warm, funny person who gave me an incredible job and who is a great example of how to do your business. I think she is pretty amazing.
What are the pros and cons of resolving legal matters on television?
Pros: People can learn a little something, here and there, and it makes the process more open and accessible.
Cons: Sometimes people won’t understand a verdict no matter how hard you try to explain it.
We all know that the law can deal with serious matters so before we end this interview, please tell our audience when was the last time you literally laughed out loud… LOL.
It was either a video of a dog riding in a motorcycle sidecar; or a video of a dog jumping up and down excitedly waiting for a tennis ball machine; or one of those many videos of some 4-year old kid acting like they’re 40. You get the picture. I’m an easy laugh.
Photo courtesy of Hot Bench TV
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