“I had worked before judges so many years and had tried so many cases that there were no real surprises.”  In this one sentence from his oral history, Judge Thomas Aquinas Flannery was able to summarize how he became a skilled and respected federal judge:  through an earlier lifetime of trial work, particularly in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where he initially served for a decade in the criminal division and then later became United States Attorney himself.  Judge Flannery’s oral history, taken by Daniel R. Ernst, who serves as Historian for the Historical Society, is summarized here.  Professor Ernst describes how Judge Flannery started as a child too financially strapped to attend college, but eventually rose to become one of the most respected members of the D.C. legal establishment.