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Law clerk diversity article – LexBlog


Today’s DJ has PJ Gilbert’s Remembrance of times in the future with apologies to Marcel Proust–which is his 320th column (or so), his experiences with time travel, and the naming of 2/6’s courtroom in his honor.

Law360 has 50 Judges Open Up About Law Clerk Selection And Diversity about a recent study: “Judge Fogel, who now serves as the executive director of the Berkeley Judicial Institute, and California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin Liu took turns conducting hourlong interviews via Zoom with 50 U.S. Court of Appeals judges from all circuits. They interviewed both Democratic and Republican appointees, peppering them with questions about their hiring processes and diversity goals.” The study’s findings include:

(1) With few exceptions, appellate judges hire clerks as an “ensemble” and assign positive value to diversity, although judges vary significantly in the dimensions of diversity they seek. (2) Most judges disclaim any interest in ideological alignment when hiring clerks; we situate this finding in the context of factors that contribute to ideological segmentation of the clerkship market. (3) Republican appointees, compared to Democratic appointees, more often identified socioeconomic diversity as the primary dimension of diversity they seek. (4) Judges who graduated from law schools outside the U.S. News & World Report top twenty are significantly more likely than other judges to hire clerks from schools outside the top twenty. (5) Almost all judges in our sample consider gender in clerkship hiring, and many have specific goals for gender balance. Republican appointees reported more difficulty drawing women into their applicant pool than Democratic appointees. (6) Most judges in our sample assign positive value to racial diversity and consider race to some degree in evaluating applicants, although it is important to note that some judges believe strongly that such consideration is inappropriate. (7) Many judges who view racial diversity positively nonetheless reported difficulty hiring Black and Hispanic clerks. The judges with the most robust records of minority hiring are those who make affirmative efforts to draw minority candidates into their applicant pool or place greater emphasis on indicators of talent besides grades and law school rank, or do both. (8) Black judges are particularly successful in hiring Black clerks; we estimate that Black judges, who comprised less than one-eighth of active circuit judges during our study, accounted for more than half of the Black clerks hired each year in the federal courts of appeals.

Also: The Commission on Judicial Appointments will hold a public hearing on Jan. 13 starting at 11 a.m. to consider the appointment of Daniel Bromberg to the Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose.


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