Clerkships

Alex Kozinski Alex S Kozinski Judge Above the Law hot hottie superhottie federal judiciary.jpgYesterday we put up a post about the mishaps of a federal judge and her family on a recent plane trip. You can read that post by clicking here.
A number of you found it amusing. But not everyone was so pleased.
This morning we received an email from Judge Alex Kozinski, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Kozinski is one of the most highly respected members of the federal judiciary. He is a brilliant thinker, a great writer, and a colorful character. He is a top-ranked feeder judge, and a former Supreme Court clerk himself. Most importantly, he is the reigning Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary.
We reprint Judge Kozinski’s letter below (and after the jump). We are running the letter without interruption, in unredacted form. In a later post, we will reprint his letter again, but with our paragraph-by-paragraph commentary.
And now, Judge Kozinski:

Dear David:

I’ve been a long-time fan of your efforts to demystify and humanize the federal judiciary. Which is why I was so shocked and disappointed by your recent posting about my colleague, Judge [Marsha] Berzon. The part dealing with the incident on the airplane is a vicious and wholly gratuitous personal attack on Judge Berzon and her family. Assuming it bears some nodding resemblance to the truth, which I seriously doubt, it is so laden with pejoratives and half-witticisms that it seems designed only to wound and deride, rather than to enlighten. Federal judges may be public figures who must endure whatever criticism is leveled at us for our work product, but what possible justification is there for holding up members of our families for public ridicule?

Will a single one of your readers have been enlightened or helped in any way by learning what a lawyer who may be nursing a grudge against the judge based on his appearances before her, thinks about her family’s airplane demeanor?

We reprint the rest of Judge Kozinski’s letter after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Flying the Friendly, Federal Judicial Skies: An Open Letter from Judge Alex Kozinski”

supreme court hallway.jpgYesterday we put up a list of all the Supreme Court clerk hiring news that we have so far (for October Term 2007). We will update this post, or republish the list in a full post, as we receive more information.
After we put up the list, we received several corrections and additions (for which we thank you). We’ve revised the original list accordingly. But for those of you who haven’t looked back at the list since we first published it, we’d like to highlight these changes:

1. We’ve added the information that Stephen Cowen, a future clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, is currently clerking for Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg (D.C. Cir.). This is information we already had, since Cowen was featured a few months ago in Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. We apologize for omitting it on the first go-round.

(Bloggers work quickly, and we don’t have a separate fact-checking department. Mistakes were, are, and will be made. Sorry.)

2. We’re advised that William Consovoy is now clerking for Justice Clarence Thomas in October Term 2008 (a possibility hinted at in the Wiley Rein press release). So that leaves Eric McArthur, Carrie Severino, Heath Tarbert and Leila Thompson — who has “awesomely fun hair,” we’re told — as the CT clerks for OT 2007.

3. Heidi Bond is a 2006 grad of Michigan (not a 2005 grad, as originally reported). Also, she used to blog at Letters of Marque. Now that she’s clerking for Judge Alex Kozinski, she has neither the time nor the ability to continue blogging (or sleeping or showering).

Do you have further corrections or additions — maybe some hiring news from Chief Justice John Roberts, on whom we have nothing so far? If so, please email us. Gracias.
Earlier: More SCOTUS Clerk Hiring News: October Term 2007 Hires

supreme court hallway.jpgWe’re continuing to profile the current class of Supreme Court law clerks. We’ve written up the Alito clerks for October Term 2006 already, and we’re working on profiles of the Breyer clerks.
(We reiterate our prior request for tips about the SGB crew, especially Thiru Vignarajah. We probably have enough material about the other three.)
Looking ahead to the future, here’s what we know so far about the justices’ hiring of law clerks for October Term 2007. Most of it is taken from Wikipedia.
Caveat lector: Wikipedia, of course, can be edited by pretty much anyone. So please note that much of the information appearing below is UNCONFIRMED. We have added links to additional, confirmatory sources where available, so you can weigh for yourself the reliability of the information.
Justice John Paul Stevens
1. Todd Gluth (Boalt Hall 2005 / W. Fletcher)
2. Sara Klein (Cardozo 2005 / Barry (3d Cir.) / Lifland (D.N.J.))
3. Kate Shaw (Northwestern 2006 / Posner)
4. Abby Wright (U. Penn. 2006 / Boudin)
Justice Antonin Scalia
1. Aditya Bamzai (University of Chicago/Sutton/OLC)
2. John Bash (Harvard 2006 / Kavanaugh)
3. Bryan Killian (Harvard / Niemeyer)
4. Rachel Kovner (Stanford / Wilkinson)
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
1. Michael Chu (Harvard / D. Ginsburg)
2. Stephen Cowen (U. Chicago / D. Ginsburg)
2. Andrianna (“Annie”) Kastanek (Northwestern 2005 / Ripple)
3. C.J. Mahoney (Yale 2006 / Kozinski)
Justice Clarence Thomas
1. William S. Consovoy (George Mason 2001 / E. Jones)
2. Eric McArthur (Chicago 2005 / Luttig)
3. Carrie Severino (Harvard 2005 / Sentelle)
4. Heath Tarbert (U. Penn 2001 / D. Ginsburg)
5. Leila Thompson (NYU / Lambert (D.D.C.) / Sentelle)
Update: Upon information and belief, William Consovoy is now scheduled to clerk for Justice Thomas in October Term 2008, not October Term 2007. For more, see here.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1. Brian Fletcher (Harvard 2006 / Garland)
2. Zack Trip (Columbia 2005 / Kearse)
Justice Stephen G. Breyer
1. Eric Feigin (Stanford 2005 / Wilkinson)
Justice Samuel Alito
1. David H. Moore (BYU 1996 / Alito)
2. Jessica Phillips (Northwestern 2006 / Flaum)
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (retired):
1. Heidi Bond (U. Michigan 2006 / Kozinski)
(Random observation: WOW. This is shaping up as the best Term ever for Northwestern Law School, with three of its graduates landing SCOTUS clerkships so far. And U. Penn is doing quite well, too.)
As we all know, Wikipedia is not infallible. So if you have corrections (or additions) to any of the OT 2007 law clerk information appearing above, please email us. Thanks.
Update: SCOTUS Clerk Hiring News: An Errata Sheet
List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States [Wikipedia]

Chambermaid cover art Saira Rao Chambermaid Saira Rao.JPGSaira Rao, who wrote the New York Post article we discussed this morning, has a juicy debut novel coming out this summer. Check out the blurb for Chambermaid:

The devil holds a gavel in this wickedly entertaining debut novel about a young attorney’s eventful year clerking for a federal judge. Sheila Raj is a recent graduate of a top-ten law school with dreams of working for the ACLU, but law school did not prepare her for the power-hungry sociopath, Judge Helga Friedman, who greets her on her first day. While her beleaguered colleagues begin quitting their jobs, Sheila is assigned to a high-profile death penalty case and suddenly realizes that she has to survive the year as Friedman’s chambermaid — not just her sanity, but actual lives hang in the balance.

With Chambermaid, debut novelist Saira Rao breaks the code of silence surrounding the clerkship and boldly takes us into the mysterious world of the third branch of US government, where the leaders are not elected and can never be fired. With its biting wit and laugh-out-loud humor, this novel will change everything you think you know about how great lawyers, and great judges, are made.

Saira Rao is well-equipped to write about the world of the federal judiciary. She previously clerked on the Third Circuit for Judge Dolores Sloviter — who has been described as a “judicial diva” and a “tough cookie”.
After clerking for Judge Sloviter, Saira worked at Cleary Gottlieb. She’s a graduate of UVA and NYU Law School.
“Chambermaid” sounds delicious. We’re counting down the days until July 2007!
Chambermaid: A Novel [Amazon.com]
Saira Rao bio [Findlaw]
Saira Rao profile [Friendster]
Update (4:55 PM): The WSJ Law Blog has put up a post that also links to Saira Rao’s NYP article and the Amazon blurb for her forthcoming novel.
Earlier: Biglaw Associates: Take the Money and Run

michael lee mike lee christopher paolella chris paolella matthew schwartz matt schwartz gordon todd.JPGsamuel alito jr samuel a alito jr justice alito.jpgSorry it has taken us so long. As promised months ago, we now begin our series profiling current Supreme Court clerks (aka the “October Term 2006″ or “OT 2006″ law clerks).
We’ll be going chambers by chambers, starting with the most junior justice. Here are the four law clerks to Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.:

1. Michael S. Lee (BYU ’97/Benson (D. Utah)/Alito)

2. Christopher J. Paolella (Harvard ’99/Alito)

3. Matthew A. Schwartz (Columbia ’03/Alito)

4. Gordon D. Todd (UVA ’00/Beam)

As a member of the Alito extended family explained to us, here’s the key to understanding the Alito chambers: 3:1. This golden ratio perfectly captures the demographics of the OT 2006 Alito clerks. Consider:

1. Familial status: three are married with children, one is not (Chris Paolella — married, but no kids yet).

2. Undergraduate institution: three are Princetonians, one is not (Michael Lee — BYU).

3. Prior Alito clerkship: three previously clerked for then-Judge Alito on the Third Circuit, one did not (Gordon Todd).

4. Religious affiliation: three are Christian,* one is not (Matthew Schwartz — he’s Jewish).

5. College debate: three were gods of the parliamentary debate circuit, and former presidents of the American Parliamentary Debate Assocation (APDA); one was not (Michael Lee).

But we wouldn’t want such commonalities to overshadow the individuality of these gents. Check out our profiles of Messrs. Lee, Paolella, Schwartz, and Todd — after the jump.
* Mitt Romney footnote: Michael Lee is Mormon, which we consider to be Christian. Presidential candidate Romney hopes that evangelical Christians voting in the Republican primaries will agree with us.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Justice Alito’s OT 2006 Law Clerks”

Last week we asked you for funny Halloween-related stories, including descriptions of wacky costumes or festivities. We were disappointed by your responses.
So we had to turn to our neighbor to the north. These days, Canada is ascendant. Canadians are beating out Americans for jobs at top U.S. law firms. They have Supreme Court justices cool enough to take nude cruises.
And now they’re winning the Halloween costume arms race. Check out this photo:
halloween costumes tax court of canada.jpg
Who are these people? Why, they’re none other than the costumed clerks of the Tax Court of Canada. An explanation of their attire, from TaxProf Blog:

Back Row (from left to right): Captain Income Splitting, Canada Revenue Agency Collections Agent, the Proposed Tax Credit for Child Fitness, Scientific Research Deduction, and Farmer Gunn (of Gunn v. R., 2006 FCA 281).

Front Row (left to right): Valuation Day 1971, Tax on Royalties, and the Competent Authority for the Canada-Barbados Tax Treaty.

Canada: Even their tax lawyers are cooler than our tax lawyers.
Halloween and Taxes, Part II [TaxProf Blog]
Earlier: Prior Above the Law coverage of Canada (scroll down)

While we were in Portland, Oregon, for the law clerk reunion in celebration of Ninth Circuit Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain’s 20th anniversary on the bench, we took oodles and oodles of pictures. We shared two of them with you yesterday.
We’ll be publishing more photographs from the reunion in the near future. Unfortunately, it’s taking us hours — literally — to review, resize, and upload dozens and dozens of pics (another reason why we’d love some help around here).
For the time being, here’s a (slightly fuzzy) photo, along with some Supreme Court clerk hiring news:
Marah Stith and AJ Bellia.JPG
The hottie on the left, with the beautifully toned arms (even more buff in person), is current O’Scannlain clerk Marah Stith. The motorcycle-riding Marah has just been hired by Justice Clarence Thomas for an October Term 2009 clerkship. Congratulations, Marah!
The boyishly cute gentleman on her right: Notre Dame Law School professor AJ Bellia, also one of the Elect. Professor Bellia clerked at all three levels of the Article III judiciary, for Judge William Skretny (W.D.N.Y.), Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain (9th Circuit), and Justice Antonin Scalia (OT 1997).
Professor Bellia is married to another legal academic superstar: fellow Notre Dame law prof (and member of the Elect) Patricia Bellia (nee Patricia Small). After graduating from Yale Law School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal, she clerked for Judge José Cabranes of the Second Circuit, followed by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (OT 1996).
Here is their NYT wedding announcement (of course). The Bellias, in addition to being brilliant and well-loved by the ND student body, have two adorable daughters: Katherine and Molly.
Katherine is only three years old (almost four), and Molly is not even a year old. But given the impressive pedigrees of their parents — A.J. and Tricia Bellia, the Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf of the legal academy — we expect Katherine and Molly to go on to greatness.
Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito: Do either of you have clerkship openings for OT 2026 and OT 2029?

knife juggling.jpgNo, it’s not Monday all over again. Yes, our website content is experiencing that “not so fresh” feeling right now. Our posts from the past two days appear to be AWOL.
We are aware of the problem, and hopefully these posts should be reappearing sometime soon. They still exist, in the ether of the internet; so if you have the permalinks, you can still access them. They’re just not on the main page. (Long story, we’ll spare you the details.)
Speaking of one of the “vanished” posts — Clerkship Application Fun: Judge Danny Boggs’s “General Knowledge Test” — we have a correction to make. Yesterday we reported as follows:

Is Judge Boggs’s trivia quiz the most odd law-clerk screening device? Actually, maybe not. This year, Judge Roger Gregory of the Fourth Circuit had clerkships applicants do a cold reading of a play during their interviews. To clerk, or not to clerk? That is the question.

Sadly, we’ve learned that Judge Gregory does NOT make all clerkship interviewees demonstrate their thespianic abilities in front of him. Rather, he only asked one applicant — who listed acting experience on her resume — to do the cold reading. How disappointing!
Job seekers, there is a moral to this story: Don’t lie on your resume. Yes, it’s obvious — even though surveys show the practice is widespread. But there is an entirely self-interested, Machiavellian reason for honesty: You could very well get busted during an interview.
You might think to yourself: “Hey, why shouldn’t I list Tagalog on my resume? Sure, I don’t know a single word. But what are the chances I’ll be asked to speak any?” But when the judge’s Filipino secretary says “magandang gabi” as you walk through the door, you know you’re screwed…
And definitely don’t list “knife juggling” on your resume if you don’t possess this skill. Many judges’ chambers, as well as many law firms, have small kitchens — with complete knife collections. Getting called on your dishonesty could be a very painful experience.
Earlier: Clerkship Application Fun: Judge Danny Boggs’s “General Knowledge Test”

paris hilton.jpgVoter turnout in our ATL reader poll, Who Is the Paris Hilton of the Federal Judiciary?, has been surprisingly good. Not as good as turnout in our ERISA Hotties Contest; but certainly stronger than the anemic response to the August 2006 Couple of the Month survey.
If you haven’t already voted, you can review the field and cast your ballot by clicking here. Please note that the poll is being administered by Pollhost. As a result, we have no control over any technological glitches (e.g., being told you already voted when you didn’t — this is probably because someone else in your office already did, and Pollhost treated that IP address as yours).
At the current time, Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit — the reigning male Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary — has a strong lead. But his colleague on the Ninth Circuit, Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw — the federal judiciary’s #2 Female Superhottie, as well as its #1 Gay Icon — is running right behind him (her Manolos be damned).
Here’s what one reader had to say about the results thus far:

I am astounded by the vote tally. Judge Kozinski is no Paris Hilton. He’s more like Sean Puffy Combs.

We see this reader’s point. First, Paris Hilton is a woman — and oh what a woman! So the three female judges may have a better claim to her bejeweled mantle than the two men.
Second, the Kozinski-Combs comparison is strong: both men are international superstars, with devoted fans, who are believed to enjoy tequila and fabulous parties.
(But, with all due respect to Judge Kozinski, Sean Combs is a better dresser. The black velvet tux that he wore to the Oscars two years ago is way more stylish than any black robe.)
With the voting well underway, it’s time to declare when the contest will end. The polls will close on Tuesday, September 26, at 1 PM (Eastern time). This will allow the candidates to campaign over the weekend (e.g., by spamming all their former clerks). It will also allow West Coast readers — and contestants — to vote one last time when they get into work that morning.
We wish these five distinguished jurists the best of luck in their quest for this distinction. If they have any campaign messages to disseminate, we invite them to email us.
Think about it, Your Honors. Wouldn’t “The Paris Hilton of the Federal Judiciary” look great in the “Miscellany” section of your Almanac of the Federal Judiciary write-up? Fun stuff!
Earlier: ATL Reader Poll: The Paris Hilton of the Federal Bench

job hunting.jpgSince fall is job hunting season in the legal profession, both in terms of firm jobs and judicial clerkships, ATL offers you this “public service announcement”: our top ten interview tips.
We’ve received requests for interview advice from readers. Rather than repeat ourselves in emails, we thought we’d just write our “wisdom” down in a single post. It’s essentialy an outgrowth of our continuing series of Interview Horror Stories, which give you an idea of what NOT to do during a job interview.
1. Review your social networking site profiles (if any) for appropriateness. Here’s what one reader had to say:

Guess what. People making hiring and career decisions about you can indeed use Google, MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, etc. So can clients who are paying $300 or more per hour for your services. To the extent possible, you might want to make an effort to make yourself appear halfway professional. Or at least get rid of the materials that make you look like a drunken fool.

Yeah, that picture of you chugging a forty is pretty funny — but you should probably remove it. See also this cautionary tale, from the New York Times.
2. Make sure your breath is fresh. Please, don’t inflict halitosis upon your interviewer. You can check your breath by breathing into your cupped hand and sniffing (quasi-gross, but effective). Bring along a tiny packet of those Listerine strips, which you can pop discreetly when needed.
3. No gum during the interview. Bad breath is verboten; but so is chewing gum, even of the breath-freshening kind. We shouldn’t have to tell you this, but we do.
And don’t try the trick of sticking it in an upper corner of your mouth, so you can resume chewing it later; it can affect your speech. When the interview is done, treat yourself to a fresh piece. You deserve it!
4. Get Them to Start Talking About Themselves. This is everyone’s favorite topic. They are as bored with you as you are with them, so avoid you and make it about them. (Gavel bang: John Carney, a former practicing lawyer and editor of DealBreaker, our big brother blog.)
5. Cologne or Perfume? Probably safest not to — especially if you’re interviewing with this guy (he bans it in chambers).
If you do, select a subtle scent — e.g., not Drakkar Noir — and use it sparingly. (We like Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermès.)
Oh, but a resounding “yes” to showering — and deodorant.
The rest of our interview advice appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A PSA from ATL: Top Ten Interview Tips”

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