Supreme Court Clerks

Today’s New York Times has a meaty and interesting front-page article about political ideology and Supreme Court clerk hiring. The piece, written by SCOTUS correspondent Adam Liptak, reminded us a lot of one that Liptak wrote last year (which we discussed here). But since there’s no such thing as too much talk about The Elect, let’s dig into it.

(By the way, speaking of Supreme Court clerk hiring, we’re working on an update that should come out soon. If you’re aware of a clerk hire that wasn’t included in our last write-up, listing both OT 2010 and OT 2011 clerks, please email us (subject line: “SCOTUS clerk hiring”). Thanks.)

Liptak begins by discussing the fabulosity that is a SCOTUS clerkship:

Each year, 36 young lawyers obtain the most coveted credential in American law: a Supreme Court clerkship. Clerking for a justice is a glittering capstone on a résumé that almost always includes outstanding grades at a top law school, service on a law review and a prestigious clerkship with a federal appeals court judge.

One could quibble with the number of 36, but we’ll get to that later. Let’s focus on the main point of the piece, the growing politicization of high-court clerk hiring….

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* Five Ways Not to Lose Your Job Playing Around on the Internet. [Going Concern]

* A suggested gift for incoming 1Ls. [Someecards]

* An interesting Q-and-A with a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act lawyer (which makes FCPA practice sounds a bit like a James Bond movie). [FCPA Professor]

* Harvard sells off its some investments in Israel, which critics accuse of violating international law. [Media Line]

* Say what? Pierson v. Post has been overturned? [Laws for Attorneys (satire)]

* Possible unforeseen consequences from fixating on the memos written by Supreme Court clerks to their justices. [National Law Journal]

* Holland & Knight partner R. David Donoghue hosts Blawg Review #277: A Virtual Day With Lord Stanley’s Cup. [Chicago IP Litigation Blog via Blawg Review]

When we filed our last column, we were full of anticipation over Chelsea Clinton’s then-upcoming wedding. And the New York Times did not let us down with its wall-to-wall coverage of the big day. In case you missed it, you can read the NYT on Chelsea’s dress, Chelsea’s wedding planner, the secrecy, the confidentiality agreements, the feeding frenzy, the frustration of the fashion media, the interfaith angle, the rabbi’s spiritual journey, and the reaction in the town of Rhinebeck. Oh, and there’s a slideshow.

And now, on to this week’s couples (we’re including one standout from mid-July that we’d missed):

1. Emma Mittelstaedt and James Burnham

2. Dace Caldwell and Roman Martinez

3. Anne Stephens and Preston Lloyd

Read all about these couples and their exploits, after the jump.

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As of yesterday, Justice Elena Kagan had not hired her four law clerks for October Term 2010, as reported by Tony Mauro in the National Law Journal. But that was then, and this is now.

Justice Kagan, who was sworn in on Saturday, isn’t wasting any time in getting her chambers up and running. Lady Kaga has hired her four little monsters for OT 2010.

Just as Justice Sonia Sotomayor did last year, Justice Kagan is hiring outgoing Supreme Court clerks — i.e., clerks who just finished up with their justices — to ease her transition. Out of her four clerks for the upcoming Term, three also clerked on the Court in the Term just ended (October Term 2009).

Not surprisingly, the former dean of Harvard Law School bleeds Crimson. At least two of Justice Kagan’s four clerks are HLS graduates. One is a graduate of Yale Law School (the alma mater of Justice Kagan’s late father). (We’re still waiting for the name and law school of the fourth clerk.)

UPDATE: We’ve learned the name of the fourth Kagan clerk. She’s also a Harvard Law grad, leaving Justice Kagan with three out of four clerks from HLS. More details after the jump.

So who will be joining the Divine Miss K in the heavenly confines of One First Street?

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Apologies for the tardiness. We’re a little late on this; we promised you a Supreme Court clerk hiring update last week. But we suspect that Above the Law readers, unlike the Clerk of Court at One First Street, are willing to accept a late filing.

In an earlier post, we also asked for information about what Supreme Court clerk bonuses are at these days. We now have news to pass along to you.

Check out the list of SCOTUS clerks hired thus far for October Term 2011, and ogle the signing bonuses for outgoing clerks heading to private law firms, after the jump….

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(Plus information about SCOTUS clerk signing bonuses.)”

J. Michael ("Mike") LuttigIn May 2006, then-Judge J. Michael Luttig made major news in the legal world by resigning from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to become senior vice president and general counsel of aerospace giant Boeing. Luttig served as a Fourth Circuit judge for almost 15 years, during which time he reigned as the #1 feeder judge, sending almost all of his clerks into Supreme Court clerkships, and came extremely close to becoming a justice himself.

Luttig’s resignation from his life-tenured Fourth Circuit judgeship came as a shock to many (and was viewed by some as “taking his toys and going home,” after he got passed over for the SCOTUS seats that ultimately went to John Roberts and Samuel Alito). But Luttig, who’s only 56 — he was appointed to the Fourth Circuit at the tender age of 37 — seems to be enjoying the new challenges of serving as GC of a large public company.

During his four years at Boeing, Luttig has given its in-house ranks a major makeover. He has brought in some top talent, including at least four Supreme Court clerks: John Demers (OT 2005/Scalia), Grant Dixton (OT 2000/Kennedy), Brett Gerry (OT 2000/Kennedy), and Jake Phillips (OT 2004/Scalia). Is there any in-house legal department with more former Supreme Court clerks than Boeing? Don’t forget to count Luttig himself, who clerked for Chief Justice Burger (OT 1983), after clerking for then-Judge Scalia on the D.C. Circuit.

UPDATE: Boeing boasts at least eight (8) SCOTUS clerks. Here are three who were inadvertently omitted from the original version of this post: Bertrand-Marc Allen (OT 2003/Kennedy), Lynda Guild Simpson (OT 1984/Powell), and Eric Wolff (OT 2000/Scalia).

And Luttig has given his net worth a makeover, too. At the time of his May 2006 resignation, federal circuit judges earned $175,100 a year. As executive vice president and general counsel of Boeing — the country’s largest aerospace and defense company, #28 on the Fortune 500 — he makes millions.

Luttig no longer has to worry about covering college expenses for his two kids (which he cited in his resignation letter as a reason for leaving the bench). And this past May, he and his wife, Elizabeth Luttig, bought a fabulous second home in beautiful Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

How much did Mike Luttig pay for his new place? And how does the price tag compare to his in-house compensation at Boeing?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Luttig in Lap of Luxury (Plus info about his current compensation.)”

Earlier this month, we provided you with a fairly complete listing of Supreme Court law clerks for October Term 2010. The OT 2010 clerks are starting up at the Court this month, staggered over a few weeks. To get a sense of what they’ll be working on this summer, see this SCOTUSblog post, by Lisa McElroy.

If you had any doubts about the accuracy of our list of OT 2010 clerks, consider them dispelled. The Public Information Office of the Supreme Court has kindly provided Above the Law with the official list of incoming law clerks, and the list is consistent with what we’ve previously reported. There’s just one name that we didn’t previously have: the law clerk to retired Justice David H. Souter.

Find out who he is, and check out the official list — we know you’re dying to learn the middle initials of the newest members of “The Elect” — after the jump.

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Earlier this week, the New York Daily News reported that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has no plans of stepping down from the Supreme Court anytime soon. This wasn’t terribly exciting, since there haven’t been any rumblings of an AMK departure. In addition, Justice Kennedy has already hired at least two law clerks for October Term 2011.

And so have several of his colleagues, including Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who are said to be done with their OT 2011 hiring). Some have wondered whether Justice Ginsburg might be leaving the Court, given her health issues. But RBG’s commitment to the Court appears strong — she took the bench the day after the deeply sad passing of her husband, Marty Ginsburg — and her hiring a full clerk complement for 2011-2012 suggests she isn’t going anywhere.

A full list of the October Term 2010 law clerks, who are starting at One First Street this month, plus news (and rumor) of OT 2011 hires — after the jump.

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Plus several hires for October Term 2011.

A tale of three nominees (left to right): John Roberts, Harriet Miers and Samuel Alito.


Last night I headed across town to NYU Law School for a screening of Advise & Dissent, a new documentary about the Supreme Court confirmation process. Here’s a brief description of the film:

ADVISE & DISSENT is the first documentary to go behind the lines and into the trenches of the judicial confirmation wars. SCOTUSblog has called it “a fascinating, balanced insider look,” and Politico named it “a must see.” Timely and timeless, the film illuminates the collision of politics and justice.

Last night’s showing of the movie was followed by a conversation, featuring the following participants:

A report about the movie screening and the panel discussion, after the jump.

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champagne glasses small.jpgYes, we’ve been gone. Where we’ve been — poetry workshop, rehab, hiking the Appalachian Trail? — doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’re back, and our team of interns has diligently kept track of the nuptial triumphs and travesties that have occurred in our absence. We’ve identified the very best of the best couples from this spring, and hereby present the top five pairings for your edification and enrichment:

1. Monica Youn and Whitney Armstrong
2. Jennifer Ku and Peter Rubin
3. Vikeena Bonett and Matthew Wolfe
4. Brian Distelberg and Ryan McAuliffe
5. Naomi Seiler and Eric Columbus

Feast your eyes on these prestigious couples’ pictures and bios, after the jump.

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