For the limited but passionate segment of the ATL readership that avidly follows the federal judiciary and clerkship news, the past week has been a good one.
First, there was this very interesting Legal Times article by Joe Palazzolo, about the debacle known as the law clerk hiring process. Executive summary: “As in most family feuds, it’s the kids who suffer most. In interviews, newly hired law clerks rated this year’s hiring frenzy on a scale from ‘unfortunate’ to ‘an utter mess.'”
At the D.C. Circuit, lights shone in the windows of some judges’ chambers before dawn on Sept. 19. They had scheduled their first interviews between 6:45 and 7 a.m.
[Yale Law School Professor Christine] Jolls, who is a member of a committee of professors and deans that advises the Judicial Conference on the hiring process, says she got a 2 a.m. e-mail from one of her students who had just emerged from an interview with a 2nd Circuit judge. The judge had scheduled the interview for Sept. 19 at 12:01 a.m.
If you know, feel free to identify the judges who scheduled these insanely early interviews, in the comments.
Second, for those of you follow clerkship bonus developments, on Tuesday the ever-helpful Law Clerk Addict posted an updated Vault 100 clerkship bonus chart. You can access it here.
Third, today the National Law Journal serves up a delightful profile of the nation’s #1 judicial superhottie (male), Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit. As of December 1, make that CHIEF Judge Kozinski. Congratulations, Your Honor!
Links to the aforementioned sources, plus excerpts and commentary on the Kozinski profile, appear after the jump.
Update: Also after the jump, some scuttlebutt about which judges were conducting the midnight and early morning interviews.
The profile of Judge Kozinski, by Pamela MacLean, was also picked up by Peter Lattman over at the WSJ Law Blog (in which we get a lovely shout-out). Much of it will be familiar to Kozinski groupies, but there are some new nuggets:
The intellect and intensity he brings to his pursuits can also mean he tires of them and quickly moves on to the next new thing. His latest project: “I’m buying old copies of Playboy magazine on eBay, because everything I learned about writing I learned from Playboy fiction,” he said in a recent phone interview.
See? Somebody DOES buy Playboy for the articles!
There are also some surprisingly candid remarks from some of Judge Kozinski’s colleagues, like the archliberal Judge Stephen Reinhardt:
Reinhardt said the only difference a chief judge makes is getting a vote on every 11-judge en banc panel, which automatically includes the chief judge. With Kozinski on every en banc “we will have one bad vote instead of one good one right from the start,” he said.
And a not-so-veiled allusion to Judge Kozinski’s forceful personality, from outgoing Chief Judge Mary Schroeder:
“He has more than enough brains for the job, but he should keep in mind we operate the best when we have the good will of all the judges in the circuit,” Schroeder said.
(Although some on the Ninth Circuit say that the allegedly brittle Schroeder could have used such a reminder too….)
Anyway, we’re looking forward to the Kozinski era at the Ninth Circuit, which will be nothing if not interesting. We’re hoping for no small amount of fireworks and increased internal benchslappery. Exciting stuff!
P.S. Could we be entering an era of larger-than-life, highly charismatic chief judges? Roughly one year ago, another prominent federal appeals court, the Seventh Circuit, was taken over by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook — another one of the federal judiciary’s leading lights and more colorful characters.
Update: From a tipster:
I have heard from two different sources that the Second Circuit judge who interviewed at 12:01 was Judge Guido Calabresi. It is also my understanding that several DC Circuit judges were interviewing at 7 a.m. or before. I have heard that specifically with respect to Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Merrick Garland, but I think that more than that did it.
We’re not surprised. Judges Calabresi, Kavanaugh and Garland get some of the very best law students in the country as their clerks — and feed many of them into Supreme Court clerkships. The early birds get the worms.
Law Students Navigate Interviews and Cross-Country Travel to Get a Clerkship [Legal Times]
Longtime Rebel Alex Kozinski Prepares to Lead the 9th Circuit [National Law Journal]
Spotlight on the Ninth Circuit’s Alex Kozinski [WSJ Law Blog]
Vault 100 clerkship salary bonus chart [Federal Appellate Judicial Clerks 2008 / Law Clerk Addict]