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Jones Day Hires Five Supreme Court Clerks in Latest Coup

Feb. 18, 2020, 9:47 PM

Jones Day has hired five Supreme Court clerks from the October 2018 term, continuing its recent tradition of recruiting top talent from the nation’s highest court.

For nearly a decade, the Cleveland-founded firm has been a leader in the prestigious competition to land young lawyers with a Supreme Court pedigree. Last year, Jones Day hired nearly a third of all the clerks, 11, from the 2018 term. Jones Day has now hired 55 Supreme Court clerks since the 2011 October term. It’s 2019 class includes clerks for Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The initiative has not been without its pitfalls. A pair of former Supreme Court clerks also sued Jones Day last year, alleging the firm’s parental leave policy was biased against men. Responding to those claims brought by husband-and-wife former clerks Mark Savignac and Julia Sheketoff, the firm said the suit “fails even on its own terms.”

“Our clients will continue to benefit greatly from the outstanding legal skills of these highly talented lawyers, and we look forward to deploying their deep insights and experience on behalf of the Firm’s clients,” Beth Heifetz, leader of Jones Day’s issues & appeals practice, said in a statement.

Supreme Court Justices typically hire four clerks per term, but the October 2018 term had an unusually high number of clerks due to the timing of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement. Other firms that compete for the clerks include Kirkland & Ellis, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Williams & Connolly, Jenner & Block, and Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz. Orrick says it has 17 former Supreme Court clerks.

Big Law firms and appellate boutiques pay hefty salaries and bonuses to land the elite circle of Supreme Court clerks. The National Law Journal in 2018 reported that some firms had paid $400,000 bonuses to members of the October 2017 class.

The five Supreme Court clerks joining Jones Day are:

• J. Benjamin Aguiñaga, a Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center graduate who clerked for Alito and will work in the firm’s Washington office.

• Sherif Girgis, a Yale Law School graduate who clerked for Alito and will work in the firm’s Washington office.

• Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a University of Florida Levin College of Law graduate who clerked for Thomas and will work in the firm’s Washington and Miami offices.

• Megan Lacy Owen, a University of Virginia School of Law graduate who clerked for Brett Kavanaugh and will work in the firm’s Washington office.

• Matthew Rubenstein, a Yale Law School graduate who clerked for Ginsburg and will work in the firm’s Minneapolis office.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com

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