Gary L. Lancaster

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Gary L. Lancaster
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
In office
2009–2013
Preceded by Donetta W. Ambrose
Succeeded by Sean J. McLaughlin
Judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
In office
1993–2013
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Timothy K. Lewis
Succeeded by Vacant
Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
In office
1987–1993


Gary L. Lancaster (August 14, 1949 – April 24, 2013) was a United States federal judge, Assistant District Attorney, and lawyer.

Early Years[edit]

Born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, Lancaster received a B.S. in secondary education from Slippery Rock State College in 1971 and a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1974.[1]

Early Career[edit]

From 1974 to 1978, Lancaster served as Regional Counsel to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission as well as an Assistant District Attorney in Allegheny County.[1] He entered private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1978, where he focused mostly on criminal litigation.[1]

Judicial Career[edit]

In 1987, Lancaster was selected to serve as a United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He held this position until his nomination as a district judge by President Bill Clinton on October 25, 1993 to the seat vacated by Timothy K. Lewis, who had been elevated to a newly created seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.[1] Lancaster was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 20, 1993, and received his commission the following day.

While on the bench, Judge Lancaster served on the committee responsible for drafting the Third Circuit's Model Civil Jury Instructions, and was also appointed by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to serve on the Judicial Conference of the United States Committee on Judicial Resources.[1] He was also responsible for overseeing the renovation of the district's historic New Deal-era federal courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh.[1]

In 2009, Judge Lancaster became the first African-American to serve as Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, succeeding Donetta W. Ambrose. During his tenure as Chief Judge, Lancaster was instrumental in the court's involvement in the Patent Pilot Program, a national initiative designed to enhance the expertise of federal judges in patent litigation.[2] As of 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania remains one of the few judicial districts in the country to have Local Patent Rules.

Death[edit]

Lancaster died suddenly on April 24, 2013 at his home in Pittsburgh. [3] He was still on the bench and was expected to serve on active status through at least 2014.[1] In announcing his death, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review heralded him as a judge known for "being able to handle any case."[4] He was succeeded as Chief Judge by Sean J. McLaughlin.[5]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]