A man in judges robes poses for a photo.
Senior United States District Judge John M. Gerrard, ’81

Senior United States District Judge John M. Gerrard, ’81, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University (1976) and a Masters in Public Administration degree from the University of Arizona (1977). After graduation, Judge Gerrard began his professional career as a state probation officer in Norfolk, Nebraska, where he worked with both juvenile and adult offenders.   

Judge Gerrard’s legal education and career began in 1978. He obtained his law degree in 1981 from Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. The judge then returned to Norfolk and embarked in the private practice of law for 14 years. Judge Gerrard’s practice focused on both civil and criminal litigation. He is an elected member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and he was board certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. 

In 1995, then Governor E. Benjamin Nelson appointed Judge Gerrard to the Nebraska Supreme Court. At 41 years of age, Gerrard was the youngest ever appointee to the Nebraska Supreme Court. He served for 16½ years on Nebraska’s high court. During that time, the judge helped lead court initiatives that promoted racial and ethnic fairness in the state court system. 

President Barack Obama nominated Judge Gerrard for a United States District Court judgeship on May 4, 2011, and the United States Senate confirmed his nomination on January 23, 2012. He was Chief Judge of the District of Nebraska from November 2018 through July 2021. Judge Gerrard took senior status on February 6, 2023, and he continues to carry a full case load for the District of Nebraska. 


Throughout 2024, the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law will celebrate members of its vast alumni network in honor of the school’s 100-year anniversary. This post is the first in a series highlighting 100 exceptional McGeorge School of Law alumni.  

Stay tuned for more blog posts as we celebrate the law school’s centennial anniversary.