Rachel Kovner

chart stock market plunge Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.gif* Lawyer opinions solicited: Is this an effective ad for malpractice insurance? [Copyranter]
* Another ugly day for the stock market. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* On that subject: Is the vast family fortune of Rachel Kovner, ATL’s official It girl, in jeopardy — as recently rumored by our sibling site? Not exactly. But if Bruce Kovner’s legendary fund is up only 3 percent year-to-date, things could certainly be better. [DealBreaker]
* What? The iPhone is not God’s greatest gift to man? Bite your tongue! [Althouse]
* Ignoring a handslap will get you a benchslap. See page 15, footnote 7. [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (PDF)]

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]

In light of our earlier posts about Cristina Schultz and Rachel Kovner, Friday is rapidly turning into “Women of Stanford Law” day here at ATL. And that’s not about to change.
We’ve received some interesting responses to our wall-to-wall coverage of Ms. Kovner — whom we are determined to turn into a celebrity, whether she likes it or not. On her ideology — which we originally described as conservative, but then quasi-retracted — we received this information:

I question your label of Rachel as “staunchly conservative,” though mostly because she was so quiet it was difficult to discern her politics. She was certainly a great deal more friendly to progressives and moderates at SLS than some of our outspoken, ultra-conservative classmates (of whom there were, thankfully, very few).

So let’s place a big question mark in place of the previously bestowed “conservative label.” Rachel Kovner will work for conservatives (like Judge Wilkinson and Justice Scalia), but she’s rather quiet about her own views. So think of her as the Harriet Miers of her generation — but hopefully with better personal style, given the financial resources at her disposal.
poverty.jpgOkay, this next criticism gives you an idea of how hard it is to run a website read by so many attorneys. Leave it to lawyers to nitpick:

I don’t understand why you insist on making such a big deal about Rachel Kovner’s family wealth, conflating her and her father financially. Bruce Kovner may be worth $2.5 billion. But don’t forget two things: (1) the estate tax, and (2) his two other children.

Assuming Bruce Kovner (1) doesn’t give away much of his fortune to charity, (2) leaves it all to his kids, and (3) doesn’t give Rachel the “Nicole Buffett treatment,” Rachel would only be looking at a third of his estate — split with her siblings. After the inheritance tax, that might amount to only $400-$500 million. That kind of money wouldn’t put her in the ranks of billionaires, or even the Forbes 400.

ONLY half a billion? How on earth is the poor girl going to feed herself?
Earlier: Prior coverage of Rachel Kovner (scroll down)

bryan killian.jpgEarlier this week, we filled you in on three of Justice Antonin Scalia’s four brilliant law clerk hires for October Term 2007: John Bash, Aditya Bamzai, and — last but definitely not least — the fantabulous Rachel Kovner.
Well, now Nino is all done hiring his clerks for October 2007. The name of his final hire: Bryan Killian (at right; very cute, in a boyish, preppy sort of way). Bryan went to UVA and Harvard Law School, clerked for Judge Paul Niemeyer (4th Cir.), and is now a Bristow Fellow in the Solicitor General’s office.
Bristow Fellowships, for those of you not familiar with them, ooze prestige from every orifice. Along with a stint at the Finishing School for the Elect, a Bristow is a common springboard to a SCOTUS clerkship (although lately BFs haven’t fed to the Court like they used to).
As noted in the HLS Alumni Bulletin, Mr. Killian fulfilled his pro bono requirement at HLS by “designing a legal crash course for teenage creators on the Internet.” Hey Bryan — if we ever get into any legal trouble, can we give you a call?
To those of you harbored dreams of waiting hand-and-foot on the Empress of Palo Alto, sorry; Bryan Killian has beaten you to the punch. He’s the lucky guy who will be fanning Rachel Kovner with a peacock feather — unless John Bash or Aditya Bamzai has called dibs on that task, in which case Bryan will be stuck on peeling-grape duty.
Congratulations, Bryan!
A Practical Good [HLS Alumni Bulletin]
Earlier: SCOTUS Clerk Hiring Watch: Nino Almost Done for OT 2007
Definitive Proof that Life Isn’t Fair
More on the Fabulous Rachel Kovner
An Open Letter to the Empress of Palo Alto

rachel kovner.jpgBased on the feedback we’ve received, it seems that you share our obsession with the brilliant Rachel Kovner.
In case you don’t know, Ms. Kovner is (1) the best student in the history of Stanford Law School (“the Empress of Palo Alto”); (2) a future law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia (“Nino’s Girl”); and (3) the daughter of the $2.5 billion man, Bruce Kovner.
(The rather odd picture at right is from her Facebook profile. Don’t ask us, we’re as confused as you are.)
One thing we’ve heard is that Rachel, despite her brilliance and her wealth, is a quiet and unassuming young woman. She doesn’t call attention to herself; to the contrary, she eschews the limelight. She doesn’t like people knowing that her dad is the 93rd richest man in America (a fact that’s in the public domain, readily ascertainable by anyone with Google).
Now all this is quite understandable. After all, Rachel doesn’t want certiorari petitions sent to the Supreme Court with footnotes like this: “If the Court declines to hear this case, petitioner respectfully requests that this petition be construed as an application for a $5,000 loan from Ms. Rachel Kovner, so petitioner can get momma a facelift.”
But it’s just not a realistic approach to the world for someone in the Jimmy Choo shoes of Rachel Kovner — as we will now explain, in this open letter.

Dear Ms. Kovner:

Greetings from your friends at Above the Law. As you surely know, we have written about you extensively in the past week. See, e.g., here and here.

We understand from some of your friends that you are a modest and low-key person, uncomfortable with being the center of attention. But given who you are, your aversion to the spotlight is simply untenable.

With your blinding intellect, and your father’s mountains of hedge-fund cash, it was only a matter of time before the world discovered you. Greatness knows no hiding place. The proverbial cream rises to the proverbial top.

So Rachel, dear, listen up. You got a Supreme Court clerkship, and we didn’t; so maybe we’re in no position to give you advice. But we ARE a little older than you, and we’ve been around the block, so please permit us a few words.

Here is today’s lesson (which we hope you’ll learn with the same diligence that earned you the top grades in Stanford Law history): There is nothing more important than fame.*

Yes, fame. Celebrity. Your name on everyone’s lips. People knowing who you are, even though you have no clue as to who they are. An off-the-chart Q score. People constantly talking about you — for good or ill. Take to heart the words of Samuel Johnson: “I would rather be attacked than unnoticed.” Or this old adage: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

Remember the saying “Whoever dies with the most toys wins?” It should be updated for today’s world: “Whoever dies with the most Google hits wins.”

As we’ve said again and again, Rachel, you are fabulous. A superstar. And you need to stop denying or hiding from that reality. You are one of the greatest legal minds of your generation. And your father is one of the world’s richest men.

So start playing the part. Find your inner diva, and let her shine. Show up tomorrow in Judge Wilkinson’s chambers and shout, at the top of your lungs: “I am Rachel Kovner. Hear me roar!!!”

Sincerely,
Your Friends at Above the Law

* Incredibly enough, the phrase “there is nothing more important than fame,” placed within quotation marks, generates no Google hits. The same thing goes for the more concise “Nothing is more important than fame.”
Well, that’s about to change…
Earlier: More on the Fabulous Rachel Kovner
Definitive Proof that Life Isn’t Fair

rachel kovner.jpgIt appears that our post yesterday on Rachel Kovner — the young legal genius clerking this year for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson (4th Cir.), and next year for Justice Antonin Scalia — has struck a nerve. It’s been getting emailed around, and we’ve also gotten a lot of mail about Ms. Kovner.
So we’d now like to supplement our prior report on Rachel Kovner, aka “the Empress of Palo Alto” (for having the highest GPA in the history of Stanford Law), aka “Nino’s Girl” (for landing a much-coveted Scalia clerkship). Here are the points we’d like to make:
1. Yesterday we described Rachel Kovner as “staunch conservative”; but that assessment has been questioned. If you can shed some light on this issue, please email us.
2. We’re sorry we don’t have a photograph of Rachel Kovner (which would allow you to see if she’s as beautiful as she is brilliant). The picture at right — seemingly of a camel’s head, framed by cut grass, in the flatbed of a truck — is from her Facebook profile. But there are no actual photos of Rachel in said profile.
3. For the record, we bear no ill-will towards Ms. Kovner (who is a wonderful person by all accounts; see point #4, infra). To the extent that you detect some snark in yesterday’s post, please understand that it has nothing whatsoever to do with Rachel. It’s all about us, and our self-professed envy.
Here’s how we would summarize the main point of our prior post:

Rachel Kovner woman is a legal genius. Her résumé — Harvard College, Stanford Law School, #1 in the history of her law school, Stanford Law Review (senior articles editor) — is a work of art. She’s clerking for one of the best appellate judges in the country, followed by one of the best Supreme Court justices. And, to top it all off, her dad is worth $2.5 billion.

Why can’t God spread that stuff around? Why do some people lead incredibly charmed lives, while the rest of us wallow in mediocrity and sorrow?

“Every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears…”*

But this should in no way be read as saying that the Empress of Palo Alto doesn’t deserve every accolade she has earned; it’s just our own petty player-hating.
After all, we also envy Adrien Brody’s body, and Bill Gates’s billions. But we recognize that they worked hard for these things and fully deserve them. (Yes, we know that some of you think Bill Gates and Microsoft are instruments of Satan; but you see what we’re trying to get at.)
4. Despite her incredible brilliance, writing talent (for which she won a prize while at Harvard), and vast familial wealth, Rachel Kovner is a down-to-earth and wonderful human being. Sources describe her as “very modest,” “low-key,” and “sweet — but in a delightful rather than cloying sort of way.” According to one source, Rachel is “so wonderfully modest, you would have no idea of her background [as the daughter of a billionaire].”
In short, Rachel Kovner is a superstar — but she hasn’t allowed her brilliance and her wealth to go to her head. We look forward to reporting on her conquest of the legal world in the months and years ahead.
YOU GO, NINO’S GIRL!!!
Rachel Kovner, We’re Not Worthy [WSJ Law Blog]
NewsMakers [Harvard University Gazette]
Rachel Kovner [Facebook]
Inbreeding at One First Street [Underneath Their Robes]
Earlier: Definitive Proof That Life Isn’t Fair
* Okay, you’re right: We actually never get tired of listening to the sound of our tears.

bruce kovner.gifAs we reported earlier today, Rachel Kovner — a.k.a. “the Empress of Palo Alto” — just landed herself an October 2007 Supreme Court clerkship, with judicial icon Antonin Scalia.
It’s a well-known fact that Justice Scalia doesn’t hire women often. But when the woman in question is (1) a staunch conservative with (2) the highest GPA in the history of Stanford Law School, he’s considerably more open-minded.
So Rachel Kovner has a pretty good life. She spent law school in beautiful, sunny California, where she shattered academic records left and right. Then she decamped for pastoral Charlottesville, Virginia, for a real plum of a clerkship: a year with the courtly and delightful Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson (4th Cir.).
After spending the year with Judge Wilkinson — who is, by the way, a great friend and mentor to his clerks (with whom he lunches and runs three miles each day) — Rachel will move to Washington, DC. There she will join other brilliant young legal minds inside the marble palace of One First Street, where she will serve as a Supreme Court clerk. And not just any SCOTUS clerk, but a clerk to Justice Scalia — one of the most desirable justices to clerk for.
This is truly a charmed life. What more could a girl want?
Umm, how about A BILLIONAIRE FOR A FATHER?
Yes, that’s right: Rachel’s dad, hedge fund genius Bruce Kovner (at right), is the 93rd richest person in America, with a net worth of $2.5 billion. Forbes describes Bruce Kovner as a “[d]evout Republican,” who chairs the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and funds the Manhattan Institute, another conservative think tank.
So if a daughter of Bruce Kovner’s wound up with a Scalia clerkship, one might legitimately wonder: Did Daddy’s right-wing connections help her land the job?
But Rachel Kovner need not fear such stigma. Harvard College, Stanford Law School (#1 in history of school), Stanford Law Review (senior articles editor), and a coveted Wilkinson clerkship should be more than sufficient to dispel such aspersions.
Note to all OT 2007 Supreme Court clerks: Whenever you go out to dinner with Rachel, pass her the bill. Her father’s net worth is equal to over 10,000 of your piddling SCOTUS bonuses.
Random aside: After graduating from Harvard and before going to Stanford, Rachel Kovner worked as a reporter for the New York Sun, the conservative New York daily — which, by the way, is funded by Bruce Kovner. This fact led some critics of the Sun, with an obvious axe to grind against the paper, to refer to Rachel as “Daddy’s Girl”. But now, thanks to her indisputable legal genius, she has earned herself a new nickname: “Nino’s Girl”!
Update: More on the Fabulous Rachel Kovner
Bruce Kovner [Wikipedia]
Forbes 400, #93: Bruce Kovner [Forbes]
Earlier: SCOTUS Clerk Hiring Watch: Nino Almost Done for OT 2007

john bash.jpegIf you have dreams of clerking for Justice Antonin Scalia next year (October Term 2007), and your name doesn’t appear below, sorry — your dreams are fading fast.
Here are the OT 2007 hires of Justice Scalia (thus far):
1. Aditya Bamzai (University of Chicago/Sutton/OLC).
Here’s an equation that’s as reliable as E=mc2:
Clerkship with judicial superhottie Jeffrey S. Sutton (6th Cir.) + Stint at DOJ’s prestigious Office of Legal Counsel = Clerkship with Justice Scalia
It worked for current Scalia clerk Louis Chaiten, and it worked for Mr. Bamzai. It could work for you too!
They don’t call the OLC the “Finishing School for the Elect” for nothing…
2. John Bash (at right; he’s quite handsome, and the woman he’s with is simply stunning).
Bash, you may recall, was supposed to be a Luttigator — until Judge J. Michael Luttig flew the judicial coop and winged it over to Boeing.
But Bash’s story has a happy ending. He landed a clerkship with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the latest addition to the star-studded D.C. Circuit bench. After his stint with Judge Kavanaugh, he’ll be Bashing down the bronze doors at One First Street.
3. Rachel Kovner (Stanford 2006/Wilkinson). This empress of Stanford Law is rumored to have earned the highest grades in Stanford Law School history — higher even than OT 2006 clerks David Cooper (Stanford 2004/Garland/Kennedy) and Kathryn Judge (Stanford 2004/Posner/Breyer).
Rachel’s law school transcript is so delicious, the Stanford registrar’s office is printing out thousands of copies and airlifting them to Mauritania.
Anyone have the 411 about the fourth Scalia clerk for OT 2007? Or some juicy tidbits about Supreme Court clerk hiring by another justice? Please send it our way, by email (subject line: “SCOTUS Clerk”). Gracias!