Paul L. Caron

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Harvard Law Students Avoid Applying For Clerkships With Trump-Appointed Judges

Boston Globe, Some Harvard Law School Students Are Avoiding Applying to Clerkships With Trump-Appointed Judges:

Harvard Law School (2016)Used to be that the promise of earning a sterling line on a resume and connections to stars of the legal profession was enough to lure Harvard law students to federal clerkships.

But recently, when Harvard Law School was urging its students to apply to work for one of President Trump’s newly appointed judges, it felt the need to offer further incentives: “Next to Lake Tahoe and great skiing!” the job alert read.

But that apparently wasn’t enough. Two days later, in mid-December, the law school again nudged its students to apply for clerkships with federal judges, noting that some judges, including two Trump appointees, had received no Harvard applications — calling them “wasted opportunities.”

As Trump reshapes the federal judiciary with staunch conservatives and controversial picks, some Harvard Law School students appear to be thinking twice about applying for clerk jobs with them, and passing up what are generally considered plum positions. ...

[S]ome legal scholars worry that the reluctance of students at one of the nation’s premier law schools to clerk for Trump-appointed judges, first reported by Bloomberg Law, could further polarize the legal profession and do the country more harm than good. ...

For law students, clerking for a federal or even state judge has traditionally been a way to fast-track their careers and boost their salaries. Nearly 90 of Harvard’s 570 graduates in 2018 had federal clerkships. Students apply months or even years ahead for the competitive, one-year positions. ...

But as more Trump judges take the bench — he has already overseen the confirmation of 50 appellate court judges, more than any president in recent memory at this point in his term — law school students who are gay or have had abortions may have serious conflicts working with judges who have been vocally opposed to those issues, Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of Michigan who previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote recently in a blog post.

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


Good. We don't need no Manchurian law clerks whispering sweet nothings into judges' ears and watering down or slanting opinions.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 19, 2020 6:41:04 PM

Alternate headline: millenial liberals are still big babies.

Posted by: Joe | Jan 19, 2020 4:35:45 PM

Why don't you Harvard grads work for the poor and middle class pro bono. You know the deplorables that you loathe and the people of color you like abstractly say you care about but wouldn't be caught dead with in person. Or maybe help the the drug addicts on the streets that you call "homeless" but that are in reality mental basket cases that are drug addicts that your blue state Democrats avoid while being in your gated communities protected by law enforcement folks you hate.

Sod off, you creeps.

Posted by: John Galt | Jan 19, 2020 4:29:15 PM

These Harvard Law Grads apparently didn't hear John Roberts say there is no such thing as a Trump judge or an Obama judge.

Posted by: Pepe_Trump_2020 | Jan 19, 2020 3:58:17 PM

A federal judge without a Harvard Law School graduate clerk is likely a better judge. When they are ready to take off their diapers and leave mom's basement, they should apply.

Posted by: Diogenes | Jan 19, 2020 4:33:59 AM

Does Harvard Law School only take half of its students because they are legacies or play unusual sports? Or is that only Harvard college? No one especially cares what these entitled children think.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Jan 19, 2020 3:14:24 AM

Somewhat understandable, but in the long run entrenches and solidifies the current state of polarization. I’m afraid that in that regard we have crossed the Rubicon.

Posted by: Jay Wiedwald | Jan 18, 2020 11:50:49 PM

Boston Globe Headline: Some Harvard Law School Students Are Avoiding Applying to Clerkships With Trump-Appointed Judges.

Yes, and some students are no doubt eager to apply to those same judges. It's all about the politics and our heavily politicized court system. Students must pick sides.

Posted by: Mike Perry | Jan 18, 2020 3:57:03 PM


Posted by: CF | Jan 18, 2020 3:25:13 PM

Good. More jobs for others.

Posted by: anymouse | Jan 18, 2020 1:21:17 PM

This is great news. Maybe that means students who don't attend Harvard or Yale can get Federal clerkships with those judges. Seems like a win-win to me.

Posted by: Chris | Jan 18, 2020 10:14:43 AM