The Talent

September 16, 2009 12:15 PM

Yale Edges Past Harvard in Supreme Court Clerkship 'Battle'

Posted by Brian Baxter

IStock_000005330325XSmall From academics to athletics, the rivalry between Harvard and Yale is among the oldest in the U.S. The competition between the two schools extends to clinching coveted clerkships with the U.S. Supreme Court. In that arena, Washingtonian magazine reports, Yale law graduates outnumber those from Harvard, 9 to 8.

While the victory might not rise to the level of the infamous "We Suck" prank pulled off by Yalies at a football game against Harvard in 2004--in fairness to Harvard, the school concluded an unbeaten season by winning the actual game 35-3--the clerkship coup signals the start of a new term for the 38 clerks. (Retired justices David Souter and Sandra Day O'Connor each have one clerk while the nine sitting justices each have four.)

As noted by Washingtonian's Marisa Kashino, formerly of sibling publication Legal Times, several clerks have spent time at top "feeder firms" for the high court, such as Williams & Connolly and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Some will reap the rewards of six-figure bonuses from those same firms after their clerkships are over.

Newly confirmed Justice Sonia Sotomayor announced her four law clerks in late August--two have clerked for other judges, not uncommon for new justices--and legal blog Above the Law has the full list of clerks working for the other eight justices.

In 2006 recently confirmed Justice Samuel Alito, Jr., tapped an all-star team of clerks that was comprised of current Sidley Austin partner Jay Jorgensen and Willis Group general counsel Adam Ciongoli, who quit his job as legal chief of Time Warner Europe for the experience.

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