A Music Business Legal Coup

Photo: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
Eriq Gardner
June 5, 2023

For as long as I can remember, the Southern District of New York has used a delightfully antiquated method for assigning judges: spinning a wooden wheel. Over time, the wheel of justice gained notoriety in pop culture, making appearances in the Tom Brady “deflategate” saga and on Showtime’s Billions. It was even used to select the unlucky judge who oversaw Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s 9/11 trial. It’s regarded with a mixture of fatalism and awe by the circuit’s judges. “A beautiful thing,” Denise Cote once remarked

Alas, the legend isn’t exactly accurate, at least not anymore. I got the dirty truth from Katherine Forrest, a former federal judge who is now a partner at Paul Weiss. “The wooden wheels,” she told me, “have given way to computers that do random assignments.”