In 1991, after 15 years as a prosecutor and private practitioner, Judge Irwin was appointed by former Senator Ben Nelson, then Governor Nelson, as one of the original six members of the Nebraska Court of Appeals; serving as Chief Judge from 1998 through 2004; and, being elected President of the Council Of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal in 2004. His interest and activity are in the areas of court reform, access to the courts, judicial education, and the study of implicit bias and its effects on judicial ethics, judicial decision making and the law.
Creighton University School of Law, 1977
University of Nebraska-Omaha, 1974
Bachelor of Arts
Supreme Court of the United States
American Bar Association
Nebraska Bar Association
Omaha Bar Association
Sarpy County Bar Association (1st President)
The Illusion of Objectivity; Hon. John F. Irwin, The Nebraska Lawyer (September 2010)
2012-Present, Nebraska Supreme Court Liaison to the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts, National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, VA.
2012-Present, Co-Chair of the Nebraska Minority Justice Committee. MJC is a unique statewide collaboration that works to develop and implement just and sustainable policy reforms that will not only improve the system of justice but will also strengthen public trust and confidence in our laws and court system. The Committee is a joint effort of the Nebraska State Bar Association and the Nebraska Supreme Court. From 2000-2012, served as Co-Chair of the Criminal and Juvenile Subcommittee of the Nebraska Supreme Court Minority Justice Committee.
2011-Present, Chair of the Nebraska Supreme Court and Nebraska State Bar Association Joint Committee on Standards for Court Appointed Counsel. The goal is to develop proposed rules establishing a transparent and systematic process of court appointments and minimum qualifications for attorneys providing legal representation to all eligible persons entitled to court-appointed counsel by state or federal constitution or by statute.
2012-National Chair of the 24th Annual Meeting of the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.
2011 –Present, Nebraska State Chair of the iCivics Project (National Chair Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor).
2005-2006, Co-Chair of the Council of Chief Judges National Campaign to Establish Affiliation with the National Center for State Courts, with Co-Chair, Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland California 3rd District Court of Appeal.
Strategic Planning Facilitation
2008-Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness. Pittsburgh, PA, (Phase One)
2008-Executive Committee of the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. Seattle, WA
2008-NSBA House of Delegates Strategic Planning Project.
2008 -2012, Chair of theCouncil of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal Long Range Planning Committee.
2007-2008, Chair of the Nebraska Appellate Courts’ Long Range Planning Steering Committee.
2011-Nebraska State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education: Workers Compensation Section Seminar.
2011-Keynote Speaker for the Omaha Bar Association’s Memorial Service, Omaha City/County Legislative Chambers.
2011-University of Nebraska Law and Psychology Visiting Scholar Program, Evolving Issues in Discrimination: Social Science and Legal Perspectives.
2011-Creighton University School of Law, Complex Issues in Juvenile Court Law III.
2011-Nebraska State Bar Association Annual Meeting, Nebraska Judicial Branch Education, New Technology: Training More with Less.
2011-Nebraska State Bar Association Annual Meeting, Practice and Procedure Committee, Practice & Procedure Essentials for Trial & Appeal.
2010-University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Capital Center for Public Law & Policy, Judicial Ethics and Accountability: At Home and Abroad: The Ethical Judge and Implicit Bias.
2009-ABA 14th Annual Appellate Practice Institute. Chicago, IL
2007-Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal; Leading Beyond Theory. New Orleans, LA
2007-National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, E-Discovery and Spoliation on Appeal: The Convergence of Law and Technology, Chicago, IL
2007-Robert Spire Inns of Court, Oral Advocacy, co-presentation with Judge William Riley, 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Omaha, NE
2006-Fordham Law School, New York City; Rethinking Judicial Selection: A Critical Appraisal of Appointive Selection for State Court Judges, New York, NY
2006-Silencing the Court: Judicial Impartiality v. Free Speech, a Mock Supreme Court Argument, American Bar Association, Annual Meeting, Honolulu, HI
2006-Judicial Ethics, Chataqua, Iowa Bench/Bar Conference, Okoboji, IA
2004-Advanced Issues in Domestic Relations Law, University of Nebraska School of Law, Lincoln, NE
2013-2017, Nebraska State Bar Association Executive Council Representative for the Fourth Supreme Court District.
2001-2012, Chair of the Nebraska Supreme Court Judicial Branch Education Committee.
2001-2012, Chair/Officer/Director of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal.
2000-2012, Co-Chair of the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Subcommittee of the Nebraska Supreme Court Minority Justice Committee.
2007-2009, Steering Committee Member of the 14th ABA Appellate Practice Institute. Chicago, IL
2005-2012, Co-Chair of the Nebraska Appellate Judges’ Spring Education Meetings.
2005-2007, Secretary of the American Bar Association Appellate Judge’s Conference.
2005–2007, Chair of the American Bar Association Appellate Judge’s Conference (AJC) Bylaws Committee.
2004-2005, President of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal.
1998-2006 & 2012, Member of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.
1999-2004, Co-Chair of the Nebraska Supreme Court Technology Committee.
2000-2004, Judicial Member of the Robert Spire Inns of Court.