Solicitor General’s Office

office of solicitor general.gifStudents who received a prestigious Bristow Fellowship with the Solicitor General’s Office will be informed today.

The Office of the Solicitor General confirmed with us this morning that the decisions have been made and successful applicants will be told today. If you applied, you might want to keep your phone lines open.

But if you are a student from Yale Law School, this year might not be your year. An inside source tells us that no student from Yale received a fellowship this year.

That’s rough. Students from Yale Law are getting shut down before Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan even takes over. But we shouldn’t expect Kagan to be unduly influenced by Harvard-Yale competition in her new role. Talent always rises.

Let us know which schools did well in securing a fellowship this year in the comments.

Elena Kagan 3 Harvard Law School Above the Law Elana Kagan Elena Kagen.jpgMany have speculated that Harvard Law School’s hot and high-powered dean, Elena Kagan, might be a Supreme Court nominee in an Obama administration.

Dean Kagan is one step closer to sitting on the Court. Assuming her confirmation process goes smoothly — which it surely will, given how universally adored and admired she is, by liberals and conservatives alike — Elena Kagan will soon be arguing before the SCOTUS, as the Solicitor General of the United States.

As expected, President-elect Barack Obama has selected her as his SG nominee. From a message just sent out by Dean Kagan:

I am writing to all of you – the community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Harvard Law School – to let you know that today President-elect Barack Obama will announce his intention to nominate me to serve as Solicitor General of the United States. If confirmed by the Senate, I will resign the deanship of the Law School and take a leave of absence from the faculty.

If Dean Kagan makes the jump from solicitor general to justice, it won’t be unprecedented. The justice for whom she clerked, Thurgood Marshall, served as SG from 1965 to 1967, until President Johnson appointed him to the Court.

Back in 2007, Dean Kagan lost out on the presidency of Harvard University. Near the end of the Clinton Administration, she was nominated to the Most High D.C. Circuit, but never confirmed. Is 2009 going to be her year?

The full announcement from Dean Kagan to the HLS community, after the jump.

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New attorneys for the next administration.JPGNew lawyers to lead the nation are sending in their résumés. Already, UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Christopher Edley has received a choice position as part of Obama’s transition advisory board. (I wonder if he’s accepting resumes from his students?)

Here’s an interesting choice for Edley and the rest of the transition team that will be picking the next Solicitor General. According to the Legal Times:

No woman has ever served as solicitor general, but a number have been mentioned as candidates for the job in an Obama administration. Stanford Law School professors Kathleen Sullivan and Pamela Karlan and Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan are possibilities, as well as Morrison & Foerster partner Beth Brinkmann and MetLife litigation counsel Teresa Wynn Roseborough.

They could also be considered to lead of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which produces legal opinions on complex matters for the attorney general and the president. Lawyers who have held both positions have gone on to become Supreme Court justices. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and Justices Stanley Reed and Thurgood Marshall were solicitors general. The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist and current Justice Antonin Scalia once headed the Office of Legal Counsel. That experience could come in handy should one or more Supreme Court justices step down in the next four years.

Speculation has also centered on prominent African-American attorneys who may be ready to step forward:

Valerie Jarrett (Stanford, Michigan Law): Jarrett is a longtime Obama adviser, who’s now one of three people heading his transition team. She told the WSJ that blacks won’t be pigeonholed into “historically conventional” roles, such as secretary of housing and urban development or assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Other high profile positions after the jump.

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Kannon Shanmugam Kannon K Shanmugam AboveTheLaw Above the Law.jpgAs the old saying goes, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a lawyer to be hired as a lateral partner at Williams & Connolly.” The last lateral partner to be hired by the super-elite litigation shop, which people and corporations turn to when they’re in the deepest of doo-doo, was Gerald Feffer, brought into the fold over two decades ago.

So this latest move is fairly big news. Appellate superstar Kannon Shanmugam, one of Washington’s top 40 lawyers under 40 (see #21), is leaving the Solicitor General’s office, where he has served for the past four years as an Assistant to the Solicitor General. He’ll be joining Williams & Connolly — as a partner.

“It’s very hard to leave the Justice Department, but I’m excited about the challenge of helping to build the appellate practice at Williams & Connolly,” Shanmugam told us. “It’s arguably the best firm for litigation in the country, but what ultimately attracted me to the firm is its distinctive culture.”

“We are thrilled to have Kannon join us,” said Robert Barnett, a member of the firm’s Executive Committee (and author rep to the stars — he’s negotiated book deals for the Clintons, Barack Obama, Bob Woodward, Lynne Cheney, and Alan Greenspan, among others). “He’s our first lateral partner in 22 years, which is indicative of how rarely we have lateral partners join us.”

“Almost everyone at the firm is homegrown, coming up through the associate ranks and making partner,” explained Barnett to ATL. “Kannon, because of his exceptional qualities, is going to be a rare exception to that pattern. On a personal level, he’s a terrific individual. But we are also extremely respectful and welcoming of his legal skills.”

Word on the street is that Shanmugam received offers from about half a dozen other firms. “He was sought by many firms, and being as competitive as we are, we’re pleased to have won the Kannon sweepstakes,” said Bob Barnett.

Additional discussion, after the jump.

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W&C’s first lateral partner in 22 years

Paul Clement Paul D Clement US Solicitor General.jpg
Could it be? A message for ATL from Paul Clement, the 43rd Solicitor General of the United States?
(It’s not completely out of the question. We have written about Clement a fair amount, and we have also met him in person.)
The lowercase type for his name seemed a little odd. But some very prominent attorneys, like John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel, use lowercase type for email messages. Based on the subject line, “Order,” we guessed that perhaps the former SG wanted to share a funny court order with us.
Read the message from Paul Clement, after the jump.

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Paul Clement Paul D Clement Solicitor General Clement Above the Law.jpgThroughout the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention, which we attended last week, various members and leaders of the group revelled in its reputation for being part of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” (in the immortal words of Senatrix Hillary Rodham Clinton).
We’re going to play along. We have a few write-ups of conference events that we’ll be posting, and we’re titling this series of posts From the Belly of the Beast.
Last week we mentioned how we got to meet Solicitor General Paul Clement (at right), the federal government’s lead advocate before the Supreme Court. We provide a quick account of his remarks to the Society, after the jump.
Note: In our prior post, we badly botched — we’re talking John Kerry-style botchery — a description of Solicitor General Clement’s record of Supreme Court appearance. These two comments set the record straight: Clement is 40 years old, and he has had 36 Supreme Court oral arguments, making him just four arguments short of matching his age.
Warning: The rest of this post contains that dreaded thing known as “substantive legal discussion.” And there’s not much in the way of humor to leaven the proceedings. So read on at your own risk, and don’t complain if it’s a little dry.

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