Judge Bios

Canan, Russell

Appointed: September 8, 1983

He was born in New York City and attended public schools in the area. After graduating from college, he worked as a health education worker, at which time he assisted in setting up health clinics for migrant farm workers.

He obtained his Juris Doctor Degree from the Antioch School of Law in the District of Columbia. He was a law clerk to the late John D. Fauntleroy, an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He also worked for the Legal Assistance Branch of the Superior Court.

In 1977, Canan and classmates from Antioch School of Law, Jeffrey O’Toole, Bill Walsh and Elkanah Burns, opened the law offices of Canan, Burns, and O’Toole. His practice was focused on litigation primarily in the criminal defense and civil rights fields.

In 1983, and part of 1984, he helped establish the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, where he represented prisoners on death row. He also directed class action civil rights lawsuits. Upon returning to the District of Columbia, he returned to the private practice of law the firm of Milliken, Van Susteren and Canan, with partners now Judge Stephen Milliken, Greta Van Susteren and Karen Schneider.

Throughout his career, the Judge-Designate actively pursued a career in teaching and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Antioch School of Law, the District of Columbia School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, and the Washington College of Law at the American University. He has lectured throughout the country before groups such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Amnesty International and the American Bar Association.

During the past two years, he has been in the private practice of law with the firm of Canan, Kiersh, and Lobo with his partners, Steven R. Kiersh and Cynthia W. Lobo.

When the nominee started his trial career in 1977, one of his first trials was before the late Judge Robert A. Shuker. Over the years, he had many cases and trials before Judge Shuker. As their relationship developed, Judge Shuker was a model judge, a mentor and finally, a good friend.

Judge-Designate Canan is married to Lee Ware Coykendall who is an investigator and social worker. They enjoy athletics, hiking and traveling. They are expecting their first child in January.