Supreme Court Clerks

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGWe’ve previously reported on the hiring of Supreme Court law clerks for October Term 2009. Their names appear here (everyone but Justice Sotomayor’s clerks) and here (Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s clerks).
As we mentioned, we weren’t 100 percent certain on the Sotomayor clerks. Happily, as it turns out, our intelligence was correct. Thanks to everyone who shared information with us; we can’t accurately track Supreme Court clerk hiring without your help.
The Public Information Office of the Supreme Court has released the official list of October Term 2009 law clerks, and it matches up with what we’ve reported in these pages. For a copy of the official list, click here to download (as a Word document). (Note that it doesn’t include law school and prior clerkship information, which usually comes in a second, more detailed list.)
Not counting the law clerks’ middle initials, the official list doesn’t contain much information that hasn’t already appeared on ATL — with one exception. We now know that retired Justice David H. Souter’s clerk will be Thomas Pulham, formerly of the D.C. office of Jenner & Block (which has sent a number of its associates into SCOTUS clerkships).
Based on the official list, we’ve made some small tweaks to our list (e.g., changed some maiden names to married names). Check out the final list, a mash-up of the official list with the law school and prior clerkship information that we’ve gathered on our own, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: The Official List”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGThe complete, official list of Supreme Court clerks for October Term 2009 — i.e., the clerks who recently arrived at One First Street — will be released by the Public Information Office shortly, perhaps by the end of this week. We’ve previously listed many of the Court’s OT 2009 law clerks in these pages.
But we didn’t name all of them. Our list didn’t include the hires of newly confirmed Justice Sonia Sotomayor. We understand that Justice Sotomayor has hired all of her clerks for OT 2009 — which makes sense, since she has a lot of work to tackle before the official start of the Term — but no clerks yet for OT 2010. Her OT 2009 clerks started working at the Court yesterday.
We think we know three out of four of them — but we’re not sure. We also have some info about Justice Clarence Thomas’s clerk hiring, but we need to fill in some blanks.
Can you help us?
UPDATE: We think we have all four Sotomayor clerks now. ¡Gracias!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Justice Sotomayor
(Plus info about Justice Thomas for OT 2010.)

champagne glasses small.jpgRejoice, wedding fans! We have some compelling mid-summer material for you this week: Wachtell, SCOTUS, lesbians, French nobility — read on for the details on all of that and more, as reported in the New York Times and filtered by us.
Our finalist couples:

1. Rebecca Gutner and Rodman Forter Jr.
2. Laura Hammond and Christopher Hemphill
3. Laure de Vulpillières and Vanessa Dillen

Admire these couples’ achievements, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 7.12: French Kissing”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGWelcome to July, a month of transitions at the U.S. Supreme Court. The law clerks for October Term 2009 will be starting up at One First Street this month. The OT 2008 clerks are riding off into the sunset — and six-figure signing bonuses. [FN1]
So OT 2009 clerk hiring is pretty much done — to check out the incoming class of the Elect, see here — with one notable exception: Sonia Sotomayor. If you have information about what Judge Sotomayor plans to do on the clerk hiring front if and when she becomes Justice Sotomayor, please email us (subject line: “Sotomayor Clerk Situation”). We understand that at least some of her 2009-2010 Second Circuit clerks have already started with her; what will happen to them if and when she gets confirmed to the high court?
With OT 2009 behind them, the justices are turning their attention to October Term 2010. And so are we.
Check out the list of OT 2010 hires, after the jump.
[FN1] On the subject of SCOTUS clerk bonuses, reports of the demise of the $250,000 signing bonus may be greatly exaggerated. We hear through the grapevine that some New York offices are offering $250K signing bonuses to outgoing Supreme Court clerks. But it does appear to be the case that the $250K bonus is less common this year than last year, especially in D.C.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: A Look at OT 2010″

champagne glasses small.jpg
We’ll bottom-line this week’s contest, folks: The SCOTUS clerk wins. Yep, after a long absence, LEWW’s favorite credential makes a welcome appearance in the NYT weddings section, and we’ve got the details for you.
But first, congratulations to Sabrina Charles and Jamie Dycus, who readers overwhelmingly voted Legal Eagle Couple of the Month for May, demonstrating that — in the words of one commenter (and apparently, in the minds of ATL readers) — “Wachtell > Sotomayor > Olympic medal.”
Here are our finalists:

1. Kathryn Whitfield and Adam Fotiades
2. Christina Krause and Peter Henderson
3. Pamela Bookman and Jeffrey Perlman

More about these couples, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 6.14: Chemistry Lesson”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGThe National Law Journal suggests that the down economy could be hitting the pockets of the Elect. Some firms are suggesting that the $250,000 bonus to hire a former Supreme Court clerk is just too expensive in today’s economy:

At firms that have been shaken by the downturn, however, a $250,000 bonus will be hard to sell, some practitioners say. “Intuitively, it doesn’t feel right to pay that kind of bonus when you are trying to make economies wherever you can at the firm,” said veteran advocate Carter Phillips, managing partner at Sidley Austin’s Washington office. Thomas Goldstein of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where there have been cuts, agrees that it’s tough to justify a $250,000 bonus when a firm is considering letting go a staff person paid $50,000. Because of that juxtaposition, he predicted bonuses will shrink — though he said it’s too early in the hiring season to say how much. “The number of firms willing to pay that amount of money will be down.”

But surely these firms aren’t talking about collusion, are they? SCOTUS clerks command top dollar, and firms that are struggling can’t artificially deflate the price for this top talent — even if they want to:

Firms won’t be sorry to wave goodbye to what Goldstein calls the “incredible escalation” that the $250,000 bonus represents. Even before the recession, firms were grumbling about it because of a recurring pattern: Some clerks grab the bonus, work at the firm for a year or three, then skip off to academia with loans paid off and kids’ tuition in the bank. “Firms are going to be more interested in clerks staying around and practicing law,” [former solicitor general Paul] Clement said.

While some firms might be priced out of the Elect market, we are still talking about a “recession-proof” set of credentials.

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SCOTUS Clerkship Bonus Watch: Still at $250K?”

perfectUnion.jpgYour ATL editors kicked off the Memorial Day weekend with a trip to the East 13th Street Theater in Manhattan, where we saw A More Perfect Union, presented by the Epic Theater Ensemble. The play, by Canadian playwright Vern Thiessen, is about two members of The Elect — i.e., two Supreme Court clerks, who fall in love while clerking at the U.S. Supreme Court. Maddie, a white Jewish woman from Ohio, clerks for a fictional conservative justice called “The Wise One”; James, an African-American man from Georgia, clerks for a fictional liberal justice called “The Enlightened One.”
Like the night we spent reviewing Law Revue videos, there were highlights and low points. A big highlight was a post-play discussion featuring former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse. As you know, we are what some might call Greenhouse groupies, though she was not as excited to talk to us as we were to talk to her. We just got a little handshake, a “nice to see you,” and an introduction to her daughter.
The post-show discussion also included professors Elizabeth Emens and Susan Sturm, both of Columbia Law School. Professor Sturm mentioned being a law school classmate of SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor, whom she described as “a straightforward person, who doesn’t hide from her background or make decisions based on it.” She also defended Judge Sotomayor’s Berkeley remarks about personal experience informing a judge’s jurisprudence, noting that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg basically said as much in discussing the recent strip search case before the Court (noting that her colleagues, who seemed less sensitive to the plaintiff’s plight, “have never been a 13-year-old girl”).
Obviously, we think the legal world is an exciting place, and we are always thrilled to see the courts get dramatic treatments. But our standards for fictional treatment of the courts, and especially the Court, are high.
Check out our reviews, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Theater of the Courtroom (Or, A Review of A More Perfect Union)”

Clarence Thomas portrait Justice Clarence Thomas.jpgIn today’s Morning Docket, we linked to an interesting article, by Adam Liptak of the New York Times, concerning a recent public appearance by Justice Clarence Thomas before a group of high school essay contest winners. The WSJ Law Blog collects a number of fun tidbits — such as Justice Thomas’s declaration that “the dishwasher is a miracle,” and his weakness for Saving Private Ryan.

This passage caught our eye:

“I am rounding the last turn for my 18th term on the court,” [Justice Thomas] added, but his work — “this endeavor,” he called it, “or, for some, an ordeal” — has not gotten easier.

“That’s one thing about this job,” he said. “You get a little tired.”

So does this mean that Justice Thomas might retire? CT is usually silent on the bench; he doesn’t seem to enjoy the intellectual combat of oral argument, a la Justices Scalia or Breyer. One wonders whether he might be happier driving around in his RV, which is how he passes his summers, than hanging out at One First Street, cranking out opinions.

But don’t expect CT to step down anytime soon. He’s still just 60 years old — he turns 61 on June 23 — which makes him a spring chicken by SCOTUS standards. He sees his service on the Court as a great honor and civic calling, as he explained in his superb memoir, My Grandfather’s Son. He’s also quite good at his job: no matter what Senator Harry Reid might say, Justice Thomas is widely regarded as a fine craftsman of judicial opinions (including many in highly technical statutory fields).

Oh, and Justice Thomas has hired clerks for October Term 2009. Now, clerk hiring evidence is not conclusive; some justices warn their hires that they might retire at any time. But since it would be cruel and unusual punishment to bestow a SCOTUS clerkship on someone and then take it away, hiring clerks is certainly suggestive of an intention to stay (just like bulk conference room reservations, by the “Office of Attorney Development,” are circumstantial evidence of looming lawyer layoffs).

More on the subject of Supreme Court clerk hiring, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is Justice Thomas ‘A Little Tired’ of His Job?
(He has hired his clerks. Who are they?)”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGWe take back what we previously wrote about Justice Samuel Alito being “a bit secretive about his clerk hiring.” Presumably Justice Alito signed off on this press release issued by Seton Hall Law School, announcing the hiring of Lucas Townsend (Seton Hall 2004 / Ackerman (D.N.J.) / Trump Barry) as an Alito clerk for October Term 2009.

Congratulations to Townsend and to Seton Hall, which has placed its first graduate into a SCOTUS clerkship. From a tipster:

We just got this email [a slightly tweaked version of the press release] from the dean. Not bad for a school that most of the elitists on ATL would consider a TTT. Although SHU will never sniff the T-14, the school has been steadily climbing the U.S. News rankings, and I think this alum’s accomplishment might help that cause.

We also had the best showing of New York Vault 100 placement ever by this year’s 2L class. Things are looking good on this side of the Hudson.

Additional Supreme Court clerk hiring news, plus updated lists of Supreme Court clerks for OT 2009 and OT 2010, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: A First for Seton Hall”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGOkay, so Chief Justice John Roberts can’t administer an oath of office to save his life. But he can hire brilliant and fabulous law clerks:

1. James McDonald (UVA 2007 / Sutton)

2. Stephen Sachs (Yale 2007 / S. Williams)

2. Erik Zimmerman (Stanford 2007/Wilkinson)

They join the previously hired Roman Martinez (Yale 2008 / Kavanaugh), filling up JGR’s chambers for October Term 2009.

We also hear that Justice Samuel A. Alito is done hiring for OT 2009. In addition to Jaynie Randall’s previously reported hiring, we can now add:

1. Amit Agarwal (Georgetown / Kavanaugh)

2. K. Winn Allen (UVA / Sutton)

If you know the identity of the fourth Alito clerk, please drop us a line. We hear that SAA is a bit secretive about his clerk hiring, which strikes us as a bit silly. As a former prosecutor, Justice Alito should be familiar with the inevitable discovery doctrine. Why guard the identities of Supreme Court clerks so jealously, when they’re all going to be made public eventually by the Court’s Public Information Office?

Updated lists of Supreme Court clerks, for OT 2009 and OT 2010, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Chief Justice Roberts”

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