- 9th Circuit, Alex Kozinski, Antitrust, Biglaw, Blind Item, Department of Justice, Facebook, Federal Judges, Free Speech, Lindsay Lohan, Morning Docket, Munger Tolles & Olson, Music
- Blind Item, English Grammar and Usage, Federal Judges, Harvard Law Review, Reader Polls, Richard Posner
In an event I did a few years ago at the University of Chicago with Judge Richard Posner (check out the podcast here), Judge Posner tossed out a delicious little blind item. He mentioned a federal judge in Chicago who would fire law clerks for what she viewed as a very grave offense: splitting infinitives in written work product.
But is splitting infinitives really such a crime?
One of the interesting concepts in Professor Rosenbaum’s book (affiliate link) is that the law lacks a soul. The law lacks tenderness. The law is objective and cold and inhumane. The law abhors emotion. I don’t think that’s true.
Every time I sentence a defendant, there is a lot of emotion. I think there is a lot of humanity in the law.
- Antonin Scalia, Constitutional Law, Federal Judges, Politics, Quote of the Day, SCOTUS, Senate Judiciary Committee, Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court
– Justice Antonin Scalia, in remarks made yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Justice Scalia and Justice Stephen G. Breyer were invited by the Committee to discuss their views on constitutional interpretation and the proper role of judges in our democracy.
- Bankruptcy, Depositions, Federal Judges, Food, iPhone, Law Professors, Morning Docket, Murder, Old People
- Alex Kozinski, Clerkships, Federal Government, Federal Judges, Feeder Judges, Job Searches, New York Times, Richard Posner
Over the weekend, we mentioned a very interesting New York Times article on the chaotic state of the clerkship application process, and said we’d have more to say about it later. Well, now is later, quite a bit later — so let’s discuss.
The piece — by Catherine Rampell, who has written about the legal world before — paints a depressing picture of a dysfunctional system. Rampell reports that the clerkship process “has become a frenzied free-for-all, with the arbiters of justice undermining each other at every turn to snatch up the best talent.”
Let’s look at the reasons behind this, and discuss whether the process can be fixed….
- 9th Circuit, Alex Kozinski, Clerkships, Federal Judges, Job Searches, New York Times, Quote of the Day
(Chief Judge Kozinski is quoted in a very interesting New York Times article on the chaotic state of the clerkship application process, which we’ll have more to say about later.)
UPDATE (9/27/11): Here is our commentary on the NYT piece.
- 9th Circuit, Antitrust, Biglaw, Cars, Celebrities, Crime, Deaths, Family Law, Federal Judges, Kellogg Huber, Law Schools, Lindsay Lohan, Litigators, Mergers and Acquisitions, Morning Docket, Pamela Ann Rymer, Violence
I spent last weekend in Portland, Oregon, where I attended the 25th judicial anniversary celebration and law clerk reunion of my former boss, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain of the Ninth Circuit. It was a warm and wonderful occasion, a chance to reconnect with old friends and to catch up with the O’Scannlains (Judge and Mrs. O’Scannlain were joined by all eight of their children for the festivities). Former clerks shared happy memories from their time in PDX clerking for DFO.
Most former law clerks I meet — mainly law clerks to federal judges, whether Article III or magistrate or bankruptcy — recall their clerkships fondly. They praise the excellent experience, the clerkly camaraderie, and the training and mentoring they received from their judges (for the most part; a few describe judicial clerkships from hell).
It struck me as strange, then, that “law clerk” recently came in at #7 on CNBC’s list of 10 Most Hated Jobs. I can’t help wondering whether courthouse administrative personnel with the title of “clerk” were somehow mixed in with federal judicial law clerks. The median salary of $39,780 a year suggests that this might be the case, since federal law clerks (and many state law clerks) make more than $40K these days.
Then again, people don’t clerk for the money. Sure, clerkship bonuses, especially Supreme Court clerkship bonuses, can be considerable — but in most cases, a graduate who goes straight into a law firm will do better financially than her classmate who clerks after graduation.
If you’re planning to clerk or interested in clerking for a federal judge, you should be aware of the latest news about law clerk compensation….
- 5th Circuit, Benchslaps, Edith Jones, Federal Judges, Judicial Divas, Reader Polls, Ridiculousness, Rudeness, Sam Sparks, Texas, Vicious Infighting
Can you enforce civility by being… uncivil? That’s the question being raised, over and over again, by federal judges from Texas these days.
Before we get to the latest ridiculousness, let’s review. Back in August, Judge Sam Sparks (W.D. Tex.) benchslapped some rude lawyers with a snarky order inviting them to a “kindergarten party,” where they would learn such lessons as reasonableness and courtesy.
Ironically enough, some found Judge Sparks’s civility-seeking order to be… rude. Chief Judge Edith Jones (5th Cir.) issued an email reprimand to Judge Sparks, condemning his “caustic, demeaning, and gratuitous” order as “cast[ing] disrespect on the judiciary.” Some observers in turn thought it rude of Chief Judge Jones to call out Judge Sparks in writing, so publicly — she cc’d all of the other Western District of Texas judges on her email — when she could have just made a private phone call.
Chief Judge Jones is a highly regarded conservative jurist and a fixture on Supreme Court short lists, but she might not be the best authority on civility and etiquette these days. Check out the latest craziness — an en banc hearing before the Fifth Circuit that generated judicial fireworks, culminating in Judge Jones essentially telling a colleague to STFU or GTFO….