Supreme Court Clerks

Congratulations to the “Minority 40 Under 40.” This is a distinguished group of 40 minority lawyers, all under the age of 40, who have just been honored by the National Law Journal for their accomplishments within the legal profession.

Let’s learn more about them. Maybe you have friends or colleagues on the list?

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Professor Stephen Smith

Perhaps this is part of some elaborate research project into the workings of the criminal justice system. Professor Stephen F. Smith, who teaches criminal law and criminal procedure at Notre Dame Law School, stands accused of a serious crime.

According to the South Bend Tribune, Professor Smith faces one count of domestic battery, a class D felony. He’s accused of striking and kicking his wife at their home, in an incident that allegedly took place back in June.

Professor Smith doesn’t fit the profile of the typical defendant in a domestic violence case. How many DV defendants have clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court? How many have graduated from Dartmouth College, where Smith served as a trustee, and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he once taught?

After graduating from Dartmouth and UVA Law, Smith clerked on the D.C. Circuit (for Judge David Sentelle) and SCOTUS (for Justice Clarence Thomas). He practiced at Sidley Austin before joining the UVA Law faculty, where he served as John V. Ray Research Professor before moving to Notre Dame. (Query: What prompted Professor Smith to move from UVA to ND?)

Legal pedigrees don’t get much better than this. But enough of Professor Smith’s dazzling résumé. Let’s learn about the lurid allegations against him — and hear from ND law students about a campus controversy he created….

UPDATE: Please note the updates added to the end of this story. Thanks.

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It’s hard to say which of these (non-lawyer) wedding write-ups is more cliché-ridden: the one about the two lesbian PE teachers, or the one about the peace activists who keep their income below a taxable level so they don’t give money to the Pentagon. The latter pair are way too busy rummaging through dumpsters to read the Internet, so we feel zero guilt about exposing them to ridicule in the comments. There’s certainly a lot of ridiculous material there.

But on to the lawyer weddings: still ridiculous, but in a different way. Your finalist couples:

Kathleen Cassidy and Ian Shapiro

Nina Yadava and Travis Davis

Emily Feinstein and Eric Olney

Aliya McLendon and Aaron Horne Jr.

Rebecca Krauss and Benjamin Taibleson

This is a summer mega-LEWW, with five finalists and a loooooong list of also-rans at the end. Read on for a virtual nuptial feast….

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Walking the hallways at One First Street.

Last month, the Supreme Court law clerks for October Term 2010 finished their clerkships, turning over their clerkly duties to the October Term 2011 class of clerks. As in past years, many of the OT 2010 clerks are joining private law firms — which welcome them with six-figure signing bonuses. These bonuses are paid on top of base salaries reflecting their seniority (many SCOTUS clerks join firms as second- to fourth-year associates), as well as the usual year-end bonuses.

For the past few years, at least since 2007, law firm signing bonuses for members of The Elect have hovered around $250,000. But this year, at least a few firms are offering even more.

So how much are we talking about?

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First an earthquake, and now a hurricane. If the world is coming to an end, let’s go out doing what we love: talking about Supreme Court clerks.

Since our last round-up, which was over a month ago, there have been a few new hires. And some of them are for the distant future — namely, October Term 2013. Hopefully the world will still be around by then.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

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We don’t usually make predictions about the longevity of the marriages we cover. It just seems excessively harsh to say, “This couple is going to get divorced.”

But… this couple is going to get divorced. The 32-year-old grandson of Richard Nixon marries the 21-year-old daughter of a Greek billionaire in front of 700 guests, including Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger. At the Waldorf-Astoria reception, George Pataki grooves to a 24-piece orchestra playing AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” We give it two years.

But on to some more promising unions. Here are your latest Legal Eagle Wedding Watch finalists:

Elizabeth Smith and Richard Cotton

Chelsea Purvis and Alnawaz Jiwa

Chloë Schama and Michael Pyle

Read all about these wildly impressive couples, after the jump.

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On Monday we published an update on Supreme Court law clerk hiring. In the wake of that update, we received a veritable cornucopia of tips and news of new hires (for which we thank you).

The most welcome information came from the Supreme Court itself. The Court’s Public Information Office kindly provided us with the official list of law clerks for October Term 2011. This list does not include law school and prior clerkship information, which the PIO will release later this year, but it does allow us to verify all of the crowdsourced hiring information we have gathered on our own.

So let’s take a look at (1) the official list of SCOTUS clerks for OT 2011, courtesy of the Court itself; (2) our unofficial list of OT 2011 clerks, with law school and prior clerkship information; and (3) an updated list of October Term 2012 hires thus far (at least three justices are already done)….

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July has arrived. At law firms, partners leave early on Friday, so they can beat the traffic out to the Hamptons (or the Eastern Shore, or the Cape).

At the Hollister store across the street from the Above the Law offices, hot shirtless men stand outside, trying to lure shoppers into the darkened, heavily perfumed, previously bedbug-ridden space. At 7-11 stores, they are giving away 7.11-ounce Slurpees (because today is 7-11 — geddit?).

And at One First Street, home of the Supreme Court of the United States (aka “SCOTUS”), clerk classes are transitioning. July is when outgoing Supreme Court clerks leave the marble palace — do pass go, do collect a $250,000 signing bonus — and their replacements arrive. The arrivals and departures are staggered over the entire month, so the departing clerks can train the newest members of the Elect.

July is a good time for an update on Supreme Court law clerk hiring. Let’s have a look….

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That’s very impressive support. Off the top of my head, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. Washington is a small place, and informal channels will generally get word back to the relevant folks in the Senate without a public letter…. But the fact that so many conservative former clerks publicly support [Alison] Nathan’s nomination [to the S.D.N.Y.] is quite impressive.

– Professor Orin Kerr, commenting on a letter signed by 27 former Supreme Court clerks in support of the nomination of Alison J. Nathan, a former law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens who has been nominated to a judgeship on the Southern District of New York.

Sometimes LEWW scans a wedding announcement with bated breath, praying that we’ll find a law degree so we can write about a couple. We were crushing on Peanut Wong and David Hattaway before we even clicked on their link. But alas, she’s a dental student (of course she is), and he’s an electrical engineer. So we’ll just say this: If you eat the Wong Peanut, you could die.

On to this week’s featured couples:

Elena Saxonhouse and Tulley Rafferty

Kathleen McArthur and Matthew Gross

Alice Brown and Michael Leiter

Get the scoop on these couples — including their registries, résumés, and cheesy wedding websites — after the jump.

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