Jefferson Circuit Court

Chief Judge Audra J. Eckerle
Division 7

Hall of Justice
600 W. Jefferson Street
Louisville, KY  40202
Work (502) 595-4990


            Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley                   May 1991
            Juris Doctor

            University of California, Davis                                                                      June 1988
            Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, summa cum laude

            Unviersite de Pau, France                                                       August – December 1986
            Universite de Paris, France                                                              January – June 1987

            Sacred Heart Academy                                                                               May 1984


Chief Judge, Jefferson County District Court                     January 2006 – Present
Voted in by colleagues on the Jefferson District Court bench, the Chief Judge’s primary role is to supervise the administrative business of the Court and give general direction to and supervise the non-judicial personnel; represent and speak for the entire District Court bench in dealings with the public and the media, serve on numerous boards and commissions, including the Louisville Bar Association Board of Directors, the Planning and Coordinating Council of the Court and the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee; and perform regular duties of District Court Judge.

Judge, Jefferson County District Court                                 January 2004 – Present                    
Preside as judge over jury and bench trials, hearings, motions and conferences; prepare oral and written findings of fact and conclusions of law; prepare jury instructions; issue rulings and orders; set bonds; review emergency petitions and protective orders, temporary custody requests, mental inquest warrants, search warrants, arrest warrants and summonses; analyze proposed probate and disability/guardianship settlements; swear witnesses; and perform marriage ceremonies.

Assistant County Attorney                                            November 2003 – January 2004
Prosecuted criminal actions in Warrant Court; extensive contact with victims and defendants; argue motions and probable cause hearings for felonies and misdemeanors; attend and argue at trials.

Attorney, Thompson, Miller & Simpson                     January 2001 - December 2003
Defended hospitals against professional negligence, medical malpractice and dumping claims; defended pharmaceutical companies and health care corporations against such claims and claims of product liability; and litigated various business, civil and criminal matters.

Attended trials, court and arbitration hearings and depositions in both state and federal proceedings; drafted appellate briefs and pleadings; interviewed witnesses and clients; researched and drafted trial briefs, discovery pleadings, documents and memoranda; supervised other attorneys, paralegals and secretaries; performed research with Lexis; and used WordPerfect and Windows software.

Judicial Candidate, 30th Judicial District                  February 1999 – December 2000
Campaigned extensively throughout Jefferson County for election to, and then for gubernatorial appointment as, a Jefferson County District Court Judge.  Created finance committee to raise funds; organized multiple fund raisers, gaining nearly $40,000.00; coordinated numerous mass-mailings; created advertisements; attended extraordinary number of meetings of civil groups, volunteer organizations, school functions, charitable events, etc.; distributed yard signs; and walked precincts.

General Counsel, Atria Communities, Inc.                April 1997 – January 1999
Acted as sole in-house counsel to a then publicly-traded, national assisted living corporation serving the needs of the elderly.  Atria had over 5,000 employees and consisted of approximately 100 assisted and independent living facilities with 45 others under development.  Areas of responsibility included:  real estate; securities; mergers and acquisitions; general corporate and transactional; litigation; banking; tax; labor and employment; employee benefits; lobbying; licensure; trademark and healthcare.

Responsible for all securities work of the corporation, including sale process resulting in a $750 million merger (and successful defense of a suit by a competitor to stop the merger) in 1998 and eleven securities filings in 1997, two offerings of which raised over $234 million; performed integral role in annual shareholders’ meetings and all Board of Directors’ meetings; responsible for development and implementation of stock option program for employees and directors; drafted and implemented policy against insider trading; monitored all corporate entities; drafted corporate resolutions; maintained all corporate minute books; and maintained annual reports for subsidiaries.

Participated in all developments and acquisitions from negotiation of terms of contract through operation; research and drafted form contract for all land purchases; researched and developed form Residence & Services Agreement for all facilities; rendered substantial assistance in drafting Policies & Procedures Manual; reviewed, negotiated and provided advice regarding contracts entered into at the corporate and facility levels; served as point person for all operational legal problems of company; and responsible for obtaining trademarks for company and operational programs.

Resolved all major employment disputes; rendered substantial assistance in drafting Employee Handbook; drafted and negotiated severance agreements and releases; handled employee benefits questions; monitored licensure regulations for each state; lobbied and worked with other lobbyists to ensure concerns of assisted living companies were met; ensured all facilities were appropriately licensed; handled numbers suits in active litigation; and drafted all press releases.

Supervised activities of outside counsel with budget of $1 million in 1998.  Supervised three paralegals and secretary, as well as all outside counsel activities.

Attorney, Hirn, Doheny & Harper                                        August 1996 – March 1997
Defended hospitals against professional negligence and medical malpractice claims; defended pharmaceutical and health care companies against such claims and claims of product liability; and prosecuted claims against builders for defective workmanship.

Attended trials, court and arbitration hearings and depositions in both state and federal proceedings; interviewed witnesses and clients; researched and drafted trial briefs, discovery pleadings, documents and memoranda; supervised other attorneys, paralegals and secretaries; performed research with Lexis and Westlaw; and used WordPerfect and Windows software.

Attorney, Greenebaum, Doll & McDonald                                   April 1994 – July 1996
Prosecuted federal copyright infringement actions on behalf of music licensing companies; prosecuted securities brokers who pirated clients from previous employers; defended commercial tenants and landlords in lease disputes; defended employers from sexual harassment, wrongful discharge and constructive termination suits; assisted in appeal of capital murder conviction (pro bono); prosecuted homebuilders for defective workmanship; represented large and small companies and individuals from plaintiffs’ and defendants’ perspectives in various areas of the law, including copyright, securities, labor, healthcare, construction defect, bankruptcy, criminal and contracts law; and involved extensively with alternative dispute resolution.

Attorney, Steefel, Levitt & Weiss                                  September 1992 – March 1994
San Francisco, California

Prepared for and aided in successful trial defense of a large bank charged with over three billion dollars in damages for alleged violations of the antitrust laws by conspiring with other banks to fix interest rates of credit cards; defended supply company in all phases of litigation, ranging from products liability to construction defect, negligence, breach of warranty and contract law; prosecuted breach of lease agreement by commercial tenants; and prosecuted breach of contract by another law firm.

Gained practical experience in all phases of pleading, discovery, law and motion, settlement, trial preparation and writs of appeal; prepared and argued numerous motions; took and defended substantial number of depositions of party and non-party witnesses; supervised other attorneys, paralegals and secretaries; carried over 70 cases; and responsible for own computer work on WordPerfect, Windows, Westlaw and Lexis.

Clerkship, Hon. Milton L. Schwartz,                    September 1991 – August 1992
United States District Court, Sacramento, California
Assisted in conducting several police corruption trials; researched and drafted memorandum opinions to Judge regarding legal and factual background of pending motions; published case in Federal Supplement; made recommendations for disposition of pending motions; drafted final orders and jury instructions and questionnaires; supervised several externs; and observed law and motion calendar and several trials.

Summer Associate, Steefel, Levitt & Weiss            June – August 1990
San Francisco, California
Researched and drafted jury instructions, appellate briefs, motions and legal memoranda for the litigation and bankruptcy departments.

Summer Associate, Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan            June – August 1989
Washington, D.C.
Researched and drafted legal memoranda in the areas of litigation, insurance, energy, criminal and legislative law; and assisted with pro bono representation of evicted tenants.

French Tutor, University of California, Davis            September 1987 – June 1988
Tutored several students on a volunteer basis upon returning from year abroad in France.

Court Liaison, Jefferson County Attorney’s Office            June – August 1984 & 1985
Assisted legal division in detecting, prosecuting and collecting from parents who failed to provide financial support for their children.


Member, Louisville Metro Criminal Justice Commission
Member, Planning and Coordinating Council of the Courts
Member, Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee
Member, Disproportionate Minority Confinement Committee
Member, Bench Warrant Subcommittee
Member, Kentucky Bar Association Annual Convention Committee
Member, Kentucky Bar Association Annual Convention CLE Committee
Member, Louisville Bar Association CLE Committee
Member, Chief Justice’s Commission to Investigate Destruction of Court Records
Fellow, Louisville Bar Foundation
Director, Louisville Bar Association
Chairman, Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Parade Equestrian Units
Recipient, Business First 40 Under 40 Award
Recipient, Delahanty Shobe Tucker Humanitarian Award
Grand Marshall, Pride’s Motorcade and Rally Honoring Dr. Martin Luther
      King, Jr.
Recipient, Frankfort Avenue Easter Parade Award
Member, Louis D. Brandeis American Inn of Court Alumni Association
Member, Past President & Member, Board of Directors, Louisville Forum
Member and Past Officer, Women Lawyers’ Association
Member, Kentucky and Louisville Bar Associations
Member, Focus Louisville Alumni Group
Member, Young Professionals Association of Louisville
Member, Thoroughbreds, Kentucky Derby Festival Volunteers
Member, League of Women Voters
Nominee, Most Admired Woman, Political Category, Today’s Woman            
Nominee, Business & Professional Women’s Association’s Woman of
     Achievement Award
Past President, Member Services Committee, Louisville Bar Association
Volunteer, Louisville Bar Association Call-A-Lawyer Program
Volunteer, Mock Trial Competitions Judge, Univ. of Louisville Law School
Volunteer, American Heart Association, Crystal Heart Gala Committee
Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity
Volunteer, Pitt Academy Barbeque
Volunteer, Salvation Army Bell Ringers
Volunteer & Donor, Step Out for Justice Campaign
Speaker, Mergers and Acquisitions, Issues for Corporate Counsel (5/7/98)
Speaker, Launching Women Leaders, Conf. for Young Women (10/20/00)
Speaker, Bellarmine University
Speaker, “Judgment Day,” University of Louisville’s Alcohol Awareness
     Mock Court Program
Speaker, STAND Program re Drunk Driving Dangers to Trinity, Collegiate         
     and Waggoner High Schools
Speaker, Sacred Heart Academy High School, Career Day
Speaker, Assumption High School
Speaker, Atherton High School Students
Speaker, St. Pius Elementary School
Speaker, Various High Schools Regarding Consequences of Drunk Diving
Speaker, Judges in the Classroom, Jefferson County Public Schools
Speaker, Governor’s Scholars
Speaker, Jury Pools of Jefferson Circuit and District Court
Member, Chi Omega Sorority Alumnae Group
Past Member, Kentucky Commission on Corrections & Community Service
Past Chair, Marketing Committee Stage One “Stagehands” Volunteer Board
Past Member, National Association of Women Business Owners
Past Member, Business and Professional Women of River City
Past Member, Kiwanis Club of Louisville