It can be said that the Judicial Family Institute mission grew "out of the mouths of babes" that summer of 1987 when Arkansas' Alistair Newbern and other judges' children got acquainted with each other and with judges and their spouses from all over America. Their judicial parents attended or taught in the New York University School of Law's Institute for Judicial Administration. Alistair's Dad Arkansas Justice David Newbern, a former legal ethics professor, taught in the program for new judges as a fairly new judge himself. Her Mother Carolyn Lewis Newbern planned tours of New York City sites for judges' spouses, guests, and children.
As they toured New York City Alistair and other judges' offspring informally compared and contrasted the changes in their lives since one of their parents had become a judge. Busier public appearance schedules, questions about how their part-time jobs and activities might be affected by judicial codes of conduct, high family visibility, and differences in relationships with peers and teachers characterized the children's first year as members of "public families." Some of the children were also from states where moving to the capitol city was traditional for new appellate judges' families, so they benefited from learning how others were adjusting to new homes, neighbors, and classmates.
Apparently Alistair made the necessary adjustments just fine. Indeed, they have strengthened her. Adaptability, a welcoming community in Little Rock, and the positive attitude of her parents contributed to her well being. A 2000 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), she has decided to dedicate her life to the law as well
The American Bar Association in 2001 recognized Alistair with the Ross Student Writing Contest Award. Her article for the October 2000 California Law Review was considered the best of 72 ABA entries. Mom and Dad were on hand in Chicago to celebrate their daughter's achievement.
After law school Alistair enjoyed living in Nashville, Tennessee, where she clerked for 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey and worked for the Nashville branch of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann, and Bernstein, LLP. She later served in a judicial clerkship with Judge Aleta Trauger of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Nashville also made it easy for her to "fiddle around" with her beloved bluegrass music. From there Alistair went on to teach as a fellow in the Georgetown Law School Appellate Litigation Clinic.
Alistair's Mother Carolyn Lewis Newbern served as the first Secretary of the Judicial Family Institute. Her major interests included dedicating many years to helping Little Rock schoolchildren learn English as a second language and traveling to Russia on a Peace Links women's exchange program, she now devotes time to Master Gardener and historic preservation programs. Her spouse David has retired, and continues to play folk music and also tuba in a professional brass quintet. He reads for pleasure, and delights in his daughter's dedication to serving the public through the practice of law.