Gov. Ted Kulongoski has appointed a public schools attorney and a judge pro tem to fill two Jackson County Circuit Court vacancies left by the retirement of judges Mark Schiveley and Raymond White.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has appointed a public schools attorney and a judge pro tem to fill two Jackson County Circuit Court vacancies left by the retirement of judges Mark Schiveley and Raymond White.

Benjamin Bloom, 44, a judge pro tem and an attorney for local municipalities, will take the gavel from Schiveley in the 7th judicial position. Tim Gerking, 61, the attorney for three Southern Oregon public school districts, will take over for White, deciding criminal cases in the 5th judicial position.

The judge appointees were selected out of a pool of 20 candidates and underwent interviews by a panel of local attorneys, the governor's counsel and the governor, said Anna Richter Taylor, a spokeswoman in the governor's office.

Kulongoski said in a statement he chose Bloom because of his diligence, intelligence, integrity and good reputation in the Oregon legal community.

Meanwhile, Gerking was selected for his "unparalleled depth of legal experience and a stellar reputation for fairness among those who have worked both with him and against him," the governor said.

The two judges are expected to be sworn in at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 7 at Jackson County Circuit Court, 100 S. Oakdale Ave. They will begin hearing cases Jan. 10.

They may run for election to the positions for six-year terms in November 2012.

White's term was set to expire Jan. 1, 2013; Schiveley was to serve until 2015.

Bloom is a partner at Hornecker, Cowling, Hassen & Heysell in Medford, where he has practiced civil litigation since 1993 with a focus on professional negligence defense. He has represented multiple municipalities, primarily Jackson and Josephine counties, in certain state and federal court cases. He received a judicial law doctorate from Portland's Lewis & Clark Law School.

He has served two terms on the Oregon Council on Court Procedures, three terms on the Local Rules Committee of the U.S. District Court and as an executive committee member on the Litigation Section and Products Liability Section of the Oregon State Bar.

Bloom said he enjoyed his experience serving as judge pro tem for the past five years and wanted to build on that experience.

"I thought I could work well in the process because of my temperament, and I wanted to give back to the community," Bloom said.

"I'm ecstatic and honored and intend to be a good contributor to the court," he added.

Gerking is a partner with Brophy, Schmor, Gerking, Brophy, Paradis & Maddox in Medford. He began his practice in 1974 in Arizona and then established a practice in 1979 in Oregon. He has represented insurance companies and is the regular counsel for three Southern Oregon public school districts: Medford, Central Point and Phoenix-Talent.

He also serves as the statewide co-chairman for the Campaign for Equal Justice, which provides financial support to legal aid efforts to enhance access to justice across the state.

His judicial law doctorate is from Arizona State University Law School in Tempe, Ariz.

Gerking described his new position as "the crowning achievement in my career."

"I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

Thad Pauck, another attorney at Brophy, Schmor, Gerking, Brophy, Paradis & Maddox, will take over Gerking's role as attorney for the Medford School District, Gerking said.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or e-mail pachen@mailtribune.com.