Once everyone gets back from Labor Day weekend, the craziness known as the clerkship application process will begin. This coming Tuesday is the first date when applications may be received, according to the 2009 Law Clerk Hiring Plan (followed by many but not all federal judges).
It’s become pretty standard to advise law students and lawyers dealing with the awful legal job market to consider clerking. As Harvard Law School told its students, earlier this year:
One option we would like to highlight is a judicial clerkship, which conveniently tends to be for one year, is valued by the full spectrum of legal employers, and is a fantastic job in itself…. Be sure to consider all types of clerkship opportunities, including those at state and specialty courts, because the competition is likely to be fierce this season.
Indeed. This will probably be the most competitive clerkship season in a decade (or longer). Landing a clerkship is easier said than done. Update: As reported by U.S. News & World Report (via the ABA Journal), some law schools are better than others at sending their graduates into clerkships. The top three: (1) Yale, (2) the University of North Dakota, and (3) Stanford. Check out the full list over here. Correction: Whoops. It seems that some of that clerkship info is wrong.
It’s not just feeder judge clerkships, or circuit court clerkships, or district court clerkships in hot districts that are tough to land. These days, even district clerkships in so-called “flyover country” require great credentials.
Discussion of hiring standards and timetables, after the jump.
We’ve written before about Hal Turner, the infamous internet radio host who has been charged with threatening three federal judges. This week brings new information about him, from Wired:
A notorious New Jersey hate blogger charged in June with threatening to kill judges and lawmakers was secretly an FBI “agent provocateur” paid to disseminate right-wing rhetoric, his attorney said Wednesday.
Hal Turner, the blogger and radio personality, remains jailed pending charges over his recent online rants, which prosecutors claim amounted to an invitation for someone to kill Connecticut lawmakers and Chicago federal appeals court judges.
But behind the scenes the reformed white supremacist was holding clandestine meetings with FBI agents who taught him how to spew hate “without crossing the line,” according to his lawyer, Michael Orozco.
Unfortunately for him, Turner can’t blame the FBI for the comments that got him in trouble with the law. His claimed involvement with the Bureau ended in 2007, and his alleged threats against the Seventh Circuit judges were made in 2009.
More discussion about Turner’s case — plus comment from one of the threatened jurists, Judge Richard Posner — after the jump.
When Justice Sonia Sotomayor needs to work off all the rice, beans and pork she’s consumed, she hits the gym.
Alas, it appears that Her Honor’s Equinox gym membership was canceled, after she apparently refused to show identification when trying to enter the premises. We’re with Justice Sotomayor on this: she’s a frickin’ federal judge, the closest thing this nation has to an aristocracy. Showing ID is for little people!
Sure, Barack Obama showed his birth certificate identification when he visited Equinox health clubs during the campaign. But he’s Article II — ick, having to run for election, how déclassé — and Justice Sotomayor is Article III, fabulous and life-tenured.
Luckily, the SCOTUS has its own gym — replete with a basketball court, aka “the highest court in the land.” And Justice Sotomayor won’t have to worry about being recognized at One First Street (where even the law clerks are recognized on sight by the Supreme Court police). Sotomayor v. Equinox Fitness: The Case of the Canceled Membership [New York magazine]
(Gavel bang: commenter.)
Greetings from the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. We’ve been having a great time schmoozing with federal judicial celebrities, here in lovely (but surprisingly chilly) Monterey.
Yesterday we participated in an excellent panel discussion about the future of journalism, together with some boldface names: Linda Greenhouse (moderator), former Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times; Nina Totenberg, of NPR; Judge Robert Lasnik, chief judge of the Western District of Washington; and Hal Fuson, Executive Vice President, Copley Press. We got to play the role of blogger-barbarian at the gate, which was fun.
We’ve also enjoyed attending the excellent educational programs and speeches. Two of the early highlights: a review of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recently completed Term, by the noted constitutional law scholar and former Stanford Law School dean, Kathleen Sullivan (top right); and a speech by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (center right). We got to meet both Dean Sullivan and Secretary Napolitano — both of them possible Supreme Court nominees, both of them fabulous — and it was thrilling.
(We even got Secretary Napolitano’s business card. Who knew that Cabinet members got business cards? Does President Obama have a business card?)
We were planning to write up both of these events, until we saw the excellent accounts of Articleman over at dagblog. We refer you to his delightful write-ups (links below). The Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference: Dean Kathleen Sullivan Speaks on the Supreme Court [dagblog.com] The Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference: Secretary Napolitano Speaks About Our Security [dagblog.com]
P.S. If you’d like to see our rough notes on Dean Sullivan’s SCOTUS round-up, click here to download (Word document). But these notes are very rough, not converted to polished prose; you’re much better off with Articleman’s elegant summary.
Is it sexist to dissect the fashion choices of Judge Sonia Sotomayor during last week’s confirmation hearings? Probably. I don’t remember anybody asking what Sam Alito was trying to convey with his confirmation tie choices.
But Sotomayor was trying to convey something with her choices. We might as well take a look at what message she was trying to get across.
Click the link below for the full Fashionista analysis, by editor Abby Gardner, and reader comments (which you’re free supplement with your own two cents). Dressing the Part [Fashionista]
Down in Miami, celebrity heiress Paris Hilton is charming the robes off of Chief Judge Federico Moreno (S.D. Fla.), who is hearing a film contract dispute in which she’s the defendant. Reports Davis Markus:
Paris Hilton is on the stand. And Judge Moreno is getting in the act. In one exchange, Moreno was puzzled by the title of Hilton’s current reality show, “My New BFF.” “What does that mean?” he said. After Hilton gave the full title “Paris Hilton’s My New Best Friend Forever,” the judge remarked “This will be my best case forever.” Without missing a beat, Hilton replied “You’re my best judge forever.”
Someone’s July 4th weekend is off to a good start. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, has been cleared of misconduct by the panel of Third Circuit judges that was tasked with investigating him. As you may recall, Chief Judge Kozinski called for an investigation of himself, after it was revealed that he had a “website” — which wasn’t really a website, for reasons previously explained by the judge’s wife, Marcy Tiffany — containing some sexually explicit material.
The Third Circuit Judicial Council’s unanimous opinion, authored by Chief Judge Anthony Scirica, is available here (PDF). It was actually filed on June 5, but only made public today. It’s thorough and lengthy, weighing in at 38 pages, and describes in detail the extensive investigation conducted by the council (with the assistance of outside lawyers, from Dechert and Morgan Lewis, and a technology consultant).
To those with a deeper familiarity with the facts of the case, as opposed to just the headlines, Chief Judge Kozinski’s vindication is not surprising. The judge violated no law; rather, the “website” — actually just a private family file server, although imperfectly secured for a period of time, as explained in the opinion — was a personal matter unrelated to his judicial duties. To the extent that the (overblown) public controversy created a problem in an obscenity trial that Judge Kozinski was presiding over at the time, any problem was obviated when the judge recused himself. And let’s not forget that the whole controversy was originally kicked up by a disgruntled litigant, Cyrus Sanai, who tried peddling the story for months before someone finally bit — and who “has been targeting Kozinski for years,” as noted by Ted Frank.
So congratulations, Judge Kozinski, on putting this matter behind you. We look forward to catching up with you at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference later this month.
Remember the Ninth Circuit Curse? We wrote about it back in 2007, noting that “anyone who tries to mess with the Mighty Ninth eventually finds himself (or herself) in deep doo-doo.” Several politicians who have advocated splitting the Ninth Circuit — a sprawling court that can be challenging to administer, to be sure — have found themselves in some form of trouble or another. E.g., Senators Larry Craig, Ted Stevens, and Lisa Murkowski.
Now they’re joined by another. Although his sex scandal is being overshadowed by that of another Republican politician, Nevada Senator John Ensign (pictured) is watching his popularity plummet, after he admitted to an affair with an ex-staffer (who was once on the Ensign payroll, along with her husband). He may face an investigation into his conduct.
If anyone was going to fall victim to the Ninth Circuit Curse, it would be Senator Ensign. As noted on his website, “Senator Ensign has… taken the lead on legislation to split the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.” Not only did he push hard for splitting the circuit, but he actually testified in support of the split, at the time of the last big push for dividing the court.
The full tally of victims, after the jump.
We’re quite talented at bringing you last week’s news. See, e.g., our ridiculouslyextensive coverage of the Battle of the Law Firm Bands.
The main reason for our D.C. visit was not the Battle of the Bands, but the national convention of the American Constitution Society (ACS) — the left’s answer to the Federalist Society. With the Democrats in control of both Congress and the White House, this year’s conference was well-attended and celebratory. There was even an upgrade in venue, from the Hyatt Regency to the Mayflower Renaissance.
(Was Eliot Spitzer on the program committee? Or did ACS go with the Mayflower because it’s the traditional venue for the annual conference of the Federalist Society?)
The first plenary panel of this year’s ACS conference featured a star-studded cast:
Judge Rosemary Barkett, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Thomas C. Goldstein (moderator), Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Pamela Harris, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Pamela S. Karlan, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
Goodwin A. Liu, Associate Dean and Professor of Law, University of California Berkeley School of Law
John Payton, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Read our write-up, after the jump.
Here’s interesting information about the personal finances of Judge Sonia Sotomayor (2d Cir.), nominated last month to the U.S. Supreme Court. A tipster directed our attention to this post from the NYT’s Caucus blog, observing: “You can’t spend most of your professional life as a judge and get rich. Maybe Biglaw is the way to go.”
This excerpt hits the highlights:
[Judge Sotomayor] disclosed few assets other than her home in New York. After 17 years on the federal bench, Judge Sotomayor reported having just $31,985 in cash and no stocks, bonds or securities. She has a $381,775 mortgage on her home, valued at $1 million, and owes $15,000 in dentist bills and another $15,000 in credit card bills.
Fifteen grand in dentist’s bills? Well, she does have a nice smile.
In defense of Judge Sotomayor’s financial state, she’s a single woman, no kids, with a six-figure income ($179,500), high job security, and generous retirement benefits. For competing assessments of Her Honor’s finances, see TaxProf Blog.
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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