In our recent New York Times op-ed piece on Supreme Court clerkship bonuses, we argued that “[f]rom a narrowly economic point of view — focusing on the actual work the clerks will perform, and setting aside the law firms’ quest for prestige and bragging rights — it is difficult to understand why firms fight for the right to shower 26-year-olds with cash.”
One of the contentions we thought about offering in support of this claim was that Supreme Court clerks don’t stick around their law firms for very long after getting their huge bonuses. This was our sense of things, based admittedly on “anec-data.” It seemed to us that SCOTUS clerks go to law firms, stay for maybe two years, and then leave to become law professors, or government or public interest lawyers.
But then we decided to go back and look at the data. We thought it would be interesting to see how many Supreme Court clerks from October Term 2002 and October Term 2003 are still in private practice. The OT 2002 and OT 2003 clerk classes were ideal for the purpose of assessing the effect of bonuses because (1) law firms were offering gargantuan bonuses by this point in time, and (2) enough years have passed to allow for meaningful assessment of the clerks’ career paths.
We undertook this research, and it ended up showing that a reasonably high percentage of clerks — about 50 percent — are in private practice, a few years down the road. It’s not an overwhelmingly high percentage (in which case our argument that the firms effectively subsidize other quarters of the profession would be undermined). But it’s also not as low as we expected. We revised our argument accordingly, omitting any suggestion that a majority of clerks “take the money and run.”
Anyway, having done all this research, we felt like we should put it to some use (since it ended up not being reflected in the final version of the op-ed piece). Posting it on ATL seemed worthwhile enough.
Are you curious about what Supreme Court clerks from a few years ago are up to nowadays? Check out the lists, after the jump.
The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [New York Times]
Of course, we begin with a few caveats:
1. Please note that these lists are not terribly reliable. You should not use them for any important purpose.
2. We compiled them based mainly on hasty and half-assed Google searches, plus what we know through the grapevine. They have not been fact-checked in any way.
3. You’ll see that there are many gaps — many clerks for whom we don’t have up-to-date or complete information.
Please offer additions and corrections in the comments. We will update this list on a rolling basis.
OCTOBER TERM 2002 SCOTUS CLERKS
At least 19 out of 35, or 54 percent, are still in private practice.
Leah O. Brannon: associate, antitrust/litigation, Cleary Gottlieb, Washington, DC
Andrew R. DeVooght: associate, litigation, Winston & Strawn, Chicago
Robert K. Hur: associate, special matters/government investigations, King & Spalding, Washington, DC
Troy A. McKenzie: assistant professor of law, NYU Law School (formerly at Debevoise)
Eric R. Olson: partner, Bartlit Beck, Denver, CO
Kathryn A. Watts: assistant professor of law, University of Washington (starting September 2007) (formerly at Sidley Austin)
Amy J. Wildermuth: associate professor of law, University of Utah
Emily J. Henn: litigation associate, Covington & Burling, Washington, DC
Justin A. Nelson: litigation associate, Susman & Godfrey, Seattle, WA
Allyson P. Newton Ho: litigation, Baker Botts, Dallas, TX
Cristina M. Rodriguez: assistant professor of law, NYU Law School
Jonathan F. Mitchell: visiting assistant professor, University of Chicago Law School
Brian J. Murray: associate, issues & appeals, Jones Day, Chicago
John C. O’Quinn: deputy associate attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice
Gil Seinfeld: assistant professor of law, University of Michigan Law School
Rachel L. Brand: assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Policy
Brian R. Matsui: associate, Morrison & Foerster, Washington, DC
Igor V. Timofyev: Department of Homeland Security
Michael F. Williams: litigation associate, Kirkland & Ellis, Washington, DC
Mark C. Fleming: junior partner, litigation, WilmerHale, Boston, MA
Jesse M. Furman: assistant U.S. attorney, S.D.N.Y.
Derek Ho: litigation associate, Kellogg Huber, Washington, DC
Sarah L. Levine: ???
Victoria Dorfman: litigation associate, Jones Day, Washington, DC
Adam K. Mortara: litigation partner, Bartlit Beck, Chicago, IL
David R. Stras: associate professor of law, University of Minnesota
Emin Toro: tax associate, Covington & Burling, Washington, DC
Toby J. Heytens: associate professor of law, UVA
Trevor W. Morrison: associate professor of law, Cornell
Elizabeth G. Porter: scholar in residence, Catholic University of America
Karl R. Thompson: counsel, O’Melveny & Myers, Washington, DC
Priya R. Aiyar: litigation associate, Kellogg Huber
John M. Golden: assistant professor, University of Texas – Austin
Maritza U. Okata: counsel, O’Melveny & Myers, Washington, DC
Anne K. Small: litigation associate, WilmerHale, New York, NY
OCTOBER TERM 2003 SCOTUS CLERKS
At least 16 out of 35, or 46 percent, are still in private practice.
Leon F. DeJulius Jr.: associate, issues and appeals/litigation, Jones Day, Pittsburgh
Courtney C. Gilligan (Saleski): assistant U.S. attorney, Washington, DC (formerly at Baker Botts in DC)
Aaron M. Streett: associate, litigation, Baker Botts, Houston, TX
Leondra R. Kruger: visiting assistant professor of law, University of Chicago Law School
Amanda C. Leiter: NRDC fellow and Georgetown Law professor
Margaret H. Lemos: assistant professor of law, Cardozo Law School
Benjamin C. Mizer: Deputy Solicitor General, State of Ohio (formerly at WilmerHale in DC)
Janet R. Carter: associate, litigation, WilmerHale, New York, NY
Sean C. Grimsley: partner, litigation, Bartlit Beck, Denver, CO
Ronnell A. Jones: Visiting Faculty Fellow, University of Arizona Law School
Sambhav N. Sankar: associate, litigation, WilmerHale, Washington, DC
Benjamin L. Hatch: associate, competition, Hunton & Williams, Richmond, VA
Christopher Scott Hemphill: associate professor of law, Columbia Law School
Robert K. Kry: associate, litigation, Baker Botts, Washington, DC
Kevin C. Walsh: associate, competition, Hunton & Williams, Richmond, VA
Bertrand-Marc Allen: in-house counsel at Boeing (formerly at Kellogg Huber)
Edward C. Dawson: associate, Yetter & Warden (formerly at Weil Gotshal in Austin)
Orin Kerr: Associate Professor of Law, GW Law School
Chi T. “Steve” Kwok: assistant U.S. attorney, S.D.N.Y. (formerly at Wachtell Lipton)
Julian D. Mortenson: associate, litigation, WilmerHale, New York, NY
Gregory G. Rapawy: associate, litigation, Kellogg Huber
Samuel J. Rascoff: NYPD intelligence analyst
Jeannie C. Suk: assistant professor of law, Harvard Law School
Richard M. Corn: associate, tax, Sullivan & Cromwell, New York, NY
John A. Eisenberg: deputy assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel
Diane L. McGimsey: associate, litigation, Sullivan & Cromwell, Los Angeles, CA
Hannah C. Smith: associate, Williams & Connolly, Washington, DC
Abbe R. Gluck: senior staff, Attorney General’s office, administration of Governor Jon Corzine (N.J.)
Aziz Z. Huq: Counsel, Brennan Center
Anne M. Joseph (O’Connell): Assistant Professor of Law, Boalt Hall
Neil S. Siegel: assistant professor of law and political science, Duke Law School
Ariela M. Migdal: self-employed (primarily federal appellate work, including telecom appeals)
Pratik A. Shah: associate, litigation, WilmerHale, Boston
Alexandra M. Walsh: associate, litigation, Baker Botts, Washington, DC
Davis J. Wang: associate, tax, Sullivan & Cromwell, New York, NY