Paul Mezzina, who has clerked for two Supreme Court justices and another judge who became one, is returning to King & Spalding’s Washington office.
Mezzina is heading back to private practice after spending a year clerking for Justice Neil Gorsuch, his second stint at the high court. He previously clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia and for Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Mezzina, also a former executive editor of Harvard Law Review, was at King & Spalding from late 2014 through mid-2018, making partner in 2017.
He said he did not consider any other law firms, choosing to return to the firm he said is “home” for the second time after a clerkship. He previously rejoined the firm after his clerkship with Scalia, whom he said treated clerks in some similar ways as Gorsuch.
“With both Justice Scalia and Justice Gorsuch, we would have opportunities to really dig into the issues with them, and if we were coming at issues from a different experience they both loved to hear that and argue with us,” Mezzina said.
“It helps to have a little bit of confidence and experience just to believe you can bring something to the table when you are working with these incredibly smart and accomplished jurists,” he said. “It’s OK to tell them you disagree with them.”
Mezzina said the experience of a Supreme Court clerkship can also be humbling, which he learned in his first few weeks working with Scalia.
Mezzina recalled phoning the justice’s home after hours and inadvertently overhearing Scalia ask his wife, who had answered, who “Paul Mezzina” was. Mezzina and Scalia went on to have a “wonderful relationship,” Mezzina said, but it served as a humorous reminder to not have an “inflated sense of importance.”
King & Spalding has over the years made a number of hires from top government posts, including former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week.
Also with the firm is another ex-deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, and a former associate deputy attorney general, Alicia O’Brien. FBI Director Christopher Wray is also a King & Spalding alum and former FBI chief of staff Zack Harmon rejoined the firm in September.
“We’re delighted that Paul is bringing his outstanding appellate talents back to the firm,” Andy Bayman, head of King & Spalding’s trial and global disputes practice, said in a statement. “He is a brilliant thinker, writer and oral advocate. His deep knowledge of the False Claims Act, drug and device law, intellectual property law, and so many other key areas will make him extremely valuable to our clients.”