Clerkships, Fabulosity, Federal Judges, Feeder Judges, Law Schools, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Supreme Court Clerks

Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: The Updated Official List For October Term 2013, And A Request for Tips

We’re a few weeks into the new Supreme Court Term, and it’s shaping up as a very interesting one. As veteran SCOTUS litigator Tom Goldstein said last month when he kindly joined us for one of our ATL events in D.C., even if the two prior Terms might have offered more fodder for the general public — Obamacare, same-sex marriage, affirmative action — the current one, October Term 2013, could turn out to be the biggest one for legal nerds in terms of the actual direction of the law in several areas.

Which brilliant young lawyers will get a front-row seat to the making of history? We’ve previously published the official list of OT 2013 law clerks, which we received from the Supreme Court’s Public Information Office. And now we have another gift from the PIO: the updated official list of the current crop of law clerks, which lists their law schools and prior clerkships.

Which law schools and feeder judges produced the most Supreme Court clerks for October Term 2013? And how is hiring looking for the following Term, October Term 2014?

In terms of OT 2014 hiring, we have received word of a few new hires; send us a few more, and we’ll do a new report. We like to wait until we have a critical mass of hires before doing a report, so as not to shine the spotlight unduly on just one or two clerks. If you have SCOTUS clerk hiring news for October Term 2014 that we have not yet reported, please email us (subject line: “SCOTUS Clerk Hiring”). To check whether we already know about a particular OT 2014 hire, flip to the next page to view the full list.

Now, back to the clerks currently at One First Street, the October Term 2013 clerks. There are 39 of them — four clerks for each of the nine active justices, plus one clerk for each of the three retired justices[1] — and they hail from 17 different law schools:

Harvard: 10
Yale: 10
Stanford: 3
UVA: 2
Chicago: 2
Berkeley, Brooklyn, Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, NYU, Penn, Texas: 1 each

Pretty standard stuff, with Harvard and Yale leading the pack. But props to Brooklyn for scoring its first-ever SCOTUS clerk, the fabulous Sparkle Sooknanan.

These 39 SCOTUS clerks previously clerked for 51 lower-court judges. Note that the Court’s official list, reprinted on the next page, lists only one judge per clerk; the ATL list, on the other hand, lists all prior clerkships. Listing all prior clerkships is helpful because the judge on the official list isn’t necessarily the judge who played the biggest role in feeding that clerk to the Court. Here are the feeder judges who placed two or more law clerks at the Court for the current Term:

Brett Kavanaugh (D.C. Cir.): 5
Merrick Garland (D.C. Cir.): 4
J. Harvie Wilkinson (4th Cir.): 4
A. Raymond Randolph (D.C. Cir.): 2
David B. Sentelle (D.C. Cir.): 2
Robert A. Katzmann (2d Cir.): 2
Anthony J. Scirica (3d Cir.): 2
Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain (9th Cir.): 2
Neil M. Gorsuch (10th Cir.): 2
Gary Feinerman (N.D. Ill.): 2
Jed S. Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.): 2

(By the way, if you see any errors on either the law school or feeder judge lists, please let us know, in the comments or by email.)

These are all fairly familiar names to folks who follow this stuff, but it is interesting to note the continuing rise of Judge Scirica, who’s on the older side (he took senior status earlier this year); Judge Gorsuch, who’s on the younger side (just 46 years old, nominated at age 38); and Judge Feinerman, who’s a district-court judge. (Judge Rakoff has been a district-court feeder for years, but he has his whole tag-team with Judge Katzmann thing going.)

Congratulations to all the OT 2013 law clerks, their feeder judges, and their law schools. And congrats also to the OT 2014 law clerks who have already been hired. Please flip to the next page to see (1) the U.S. Supreme Court’s official list of October Term 2013 law clerks and (2) the ATL list of October Term 2014 law clerk hires — a list we’d welcome your help in expanding….

1. Readers sometimes wonder what clerks to the retired justices do. These clerks get farmed out to the chambers of active justices, where they work on cases alongside the other clerks, and they also assist their retired bosses with other projects, such as cases the retired justices hear while sitting on circuit courts, books or articles, and speeches.

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