Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Title

Harvard Law Review Forum

Publication Date



It is my great good fortune to have been asked to comment on the remarkable Article Law Clerk Selection and Diversity: Insights from Fifty Sitting Judges of the Federal Courts of Appeals by Judge Jeremy D. Fogel, Professor Mary S. Hoopes, and Justice Goodwin Liu. Drawing on a rich vein of data gathered pursuant to a carefully crafted research design and extensive interviews, the authors provide the most detailed account to date regarding the selection criteria used by federal appeals court judges to select their law clerks. The authors pay special attention to the role that diversity plays in picking law clerks, an important element that heretofore has not been fully explored. Before sharing my thoughts about the Article, I want to offer a short history lesson on the lack of diversity among law clerks in the federal and state courts. The employment barriers facing women, ethnic minorities, and Jewish law clerks throughout the twentieth century help place in context the current interest judges have in hiring candidates from diverse backgrounds; I believe that this interest includes an appreciation of the value of diversity, a sincere desire to rectify discriminatory hiring practices from earlier generations of judges, and a concern that not expanding clerkship selection criteria will draw public scrutiny. I will then turn my attention to Fogel, Hoopes, and Liu’s findings and offer some thoughts about future research questions.



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