November 22, 2011
In a recent article in the Daily Journal [subscription required], Laura Ernde reports that the Court’s newest justice, Goodwin Liu, is seeking recent law school graduates to serve as law clerks to fill at least two of the five attorney positions on his staff. The planned clerkships are expected to last 18 months to two years. This is a departure from how things are usually done at the Court where, for many years, most attorneys who assist the justices in their work have occupied permanent staff positions (the recent exception being retired Justice Carlos Moreno, who had law clerks until 2006).
According to Ernde’s article, while Justice Liu has been impressed with the Court’s permanent staff attorneys, he wants “to take a different approach that accommodates the fresh perspective that rotating clerks bring.” Liu touted the fact that a clerkship program has the advantage of creating “‘alumni’” who join the appellate bar after their clerkships, and who then serve as ambassadors of the Court and add to its “‘institutional capital.’”
The article reports that Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has also expressed interest in hiring law clerks. It quotes her as saying of Justice Liu’s efforts: “‘I’m excited that he will be trying it and I’ll be looking forward to his results.’” We have previously discussed the Chief’s staff attorneys in this post.