Jones Day hired five U.S. Supreme Court clerks from the 2016 term to join its appellate practice, the firm announced Nov. 29.
The move further cements the firm’s reputation as a top employer for Supreme Court clerks. The hires represent almost 15 percent of the term’s 34 clerks. Jones Day has hired 36 Supreme Court clerks in the past five years, the firm said.
Some other big law firms that typically jockey for Supreme Court clerks include Kirkland & Ellis, Jenner & Block and Williams & Connolly, Joe Patrice, an editor at the legal blog Above the Law, which covers clerkships and hiring, told Bloomberg Law.
Competition is fierce and signing bonuses can exceed $300,000. Firms compete for these clerks because they’ve “unlocked every achievement,” from going to a top law school, to clerking for a federal appellate judge, to clerking at the Supreme Court, Patrice said.
Jones Day declined to provide information to Bloomberg Law about the amount of its signing bonus for Supreme Court clerks.
[caption id="attachment_61340" align="aligncenter” width="643"][Image "" (src=https://biglawbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Jones-Day-SCOTUS-clerks-11.07.17_31_7x5-copy.jpg)] From left to right: Ben Cassady (Washington, DC office); Alex Potapov (Washington, DC office); Kamaile Turčan (Washington, DC office); Conor Reardon (New York office); Parker Rider-Longmaid (Washington, DC office)[/caption]
Other Firms in the Hunt
Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz, a Washington D.C.-based boutique litigation firm, paid signing bonuses of $350,000 to two Supreme Court clerks who started this fall, Alexandra Walsh, one of the firm’s founding members, told Bloomberg Law in an email Nov. 27.
John James Snidow, who clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, and Betsy Henthorne, who clerked for Justice Elena Kagan, bring Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz’s Supreme Court clerk total to seven, Walsh said.
The firm employs 39 attorneys, meaning that almost 18 percent of its attorneys are former Supreme Court clerks.
Kirkland & Ellis hired four Supreme Court clerks from the 2016 term, a Kirkland spokesperson told Bloomberg Law in a Nov. 29 email. They are Thomas Burnett, who clerked for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.; Subash Iyer, who clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Kasdin Mitchell, who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas; and Daniel Herz-Roiphe, who clerked for Justice Stephen G. Breyer. Kirkland has hired 19 Supreme Court clerks in the past five years, said the Kirkland spokesperson.
Jenner & Block hired Benjamin M. Eidelson, who clerked for Kagan in the 2016 term, bringing to six the number of Supreme Court clerks hired there in the past five years.
The other five clerks include Kendall Turner who clerked for Breyer in the 2014 term; Will Dreher who clerked for Kagan in the 2014 term; Devi M. Rao who clerked for Ginsburg in the 2013 term; Zachary C. Schauf who clerked for Kagan in the 2012 term; and Ishan K. Bhabha who clerked for Kennedy in the 2011 term.
Williams & Connolly hasn’t hired any Supreme Court clerks from the 2016 term, P. Jeanne Brown, the firm’s director of marketing, business development and client relations, told Bloomberg Law in a Nov. 28 email.
Since 2012, the firm has hired four former Supreme Court clerks: Amy Mason Saharia who clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the 2010 term; Luke McCloud who clerked for Sotomayor in the 2014 term; Matthew B. Nicholson who clerked for Thomas in the 2011 term; and Katherine Moran Meeks who clerked for Kennedy in the 2013 term, Brown said in the email.
Supreme Court clerks have “terrific backgrounds” for the work we do, Jones Day’s Beth Heifetz told Bloomberg Law Nov. 27. Heifetz heads Jones Day’s Issues & Appeals Practice.
Most Supreme Court clerks join the practice, Heifetz said, but a small number are in other groups like the Business and Tort Litigation Practice. The clerks are “very experienced with jumping into unfamiliar areas of the law and quickly getting up to speed,” which is something “we are called upon to do over and over,” Heifetz said.
The clerks are familiar with how judges think, have read countless briefs, which helps their writing, and have heard a large number of arguments, which helps them home in on what’s persuasive and what isn’t, she said.
Although a few of the clerks recruited over the past five years have left Jones Day, the “vast majority” have stayed, Heifetz said. The firm’s main competition for clerks isn’t other firms, but the variety of career options open to them in academia, public service, and private practice, she said.
Ivy League Schools, Clerkships
Jones Day’s new hires include four men and one woman, and four of the five attended Ivy League law schools.
Kamaile A.N. Turčan clerked for Sotomayor and attended the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law. Turčan is the first person of Hawaiian descent and the first University of Hawaii graduate to serve as a clerk to a Supreme Court justice. Prior to her time at the high court, Turčan worked as an attorney with the Office of General Counsel, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She has also clerked for Judge Richard Clifton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge David Ezra of the U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii.
Ben Cassady and Alex Potapov both clerked for Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and both attended Yale Law School, as did Alito. Cassady clerked for Judge Thomas B. Griffith of the D.C. Circuit before clerking for Alito. Potapov clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams, also of the D.C. Circuit, after which he worked at Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP and then the Texas attorney general’s office before clerking at the Supreme Court.
Conor Reardon clerked for Roberts after clerking for Judge Robert Chatigny on the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, and Judge José Cabranes of the Second Circuit. He graduated from Duke University School of Law. Reardon, the only one of the five not working at Jones Day’s Washington office, will work from the firm’s New York office.
Parker A. Rider-Longmaid clerked for Ginsburg. Prior to that he was a Bristow Fellow with the Department of Justice’s Office of the Solicitor General and clerked, respectively, for Judge Gene E.K. Pratter of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Judge Anthony J. Scirica of the Third Circuit. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.