Monday, September 28, 2020

Law Firms Pay Supreme Court Clerks $400,000 Bonuses. What Are They Buying?

 Lettering was everywhere in Medieval Western Europe, but only about 1 in 10 could read. As a result, words were considered holy  

The New York Times – “Supreme Court justices make $265,600 a year. The chief justice gets $277,700. Their law clerks do a lot better. After a year of service at the court, they are routinely offered signing bonuses of $400,000 from law firms, on top of healthy salaries of more than $200,000. What are the firms paying for? In a profession obsessed with shiny credentials, a Supreme Court clerkship glitters. Hiring former clerks burnishes the firms’ prestige, making them more attractive to clients. Still, the former clerks are typically young lawyers just a couple of years out of law school, and the bonuses have a second and more problematic element, said Stephen Gillers, an expert on legal ethics at New York University. 

A Rare Edition Of Shakespeare’s Final Play Is Found In A Scottish College In Spain

It’s a 1634 volume that a researcher into Adam Smith found in the archives of the Real Colegio de Escoceses, which in the 17th century was a seminary and “an important source of English literature for Spanish intellectuals.” – BBC

“They’re buying something else: a kind of inside information about how the court is thinking and how individual justices might be thinking,” he said. The Supreme Court appears to recognize that this is a problem. Its rules impose a two-year ban barring former clerks from working on “any case pending before this court or in any case being considered for filing in this court.” (The rules also impose a permanent ban on working on “any case that was pending in this court during the employee’s tenure.”) The two-year ban is an attempt to address an appearance of impropriety, said David Lat, a legal recruiter and the founding editor of Above the Law, a legal news website. “They’re just trying to show that these large compensation packages are not buying access to the court,” he said. Professor Gillers said the rule was a partial solution. “The two-year ban is meant to dissipate the value of the inside information,” he said. “You cannot eliminate it altogether.” A new study in Political Research Quarterly[paywall] suggests that the ban has not been completely successful…”

See also Lawyers With More Experience Obtain Better Outcomes. Michael J. Nelson, Lee Epstein. “Work experience acquired through on-the-job-training has been shown to lead to greater success in many occupations, but evidence of a causal connection between experience and success is sparse for appellate lawyers. Do experienced attorneys obtain better outcomes for their clients? Adopting a strategy for causal inference that could be applied to almost any peak court, we assess how similarly-situated novice and experienced attorneys fare against a comparable—and high quality—opponent:the federal government. We find that, on average, the outcomes obtained by experienced attorneys are significantly better than the outcomes they would have obtained had they been novices. This result shores up the importance of attending to attorneys in models of judicial behavior.”

Writing philosophy means confronting “a many-branching regress” of explanation and defense with every sentence — which is one reason it is so hard, says Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside)

“The biological definition of sex shouldn’t be the battleground for philosophers and gender theorists who disagree about the definition of ‘woman’” — Paul Griffiths (Sydney) on how biological sex is–and isn’t–important

“If you’re not getting multiple journal rejections, you’re not doing your job right” — that’s what Arash Abizadeh (McGill) tells his grad students, and to inspire them he created a “CV of Rejections” 

“Engaging with your perception on an analytical level… makes a difference in the quality of your experience by fine-tuning your brain to its input” — Ann-Sophie Barwich (Indiana) on sensory expertise, consciousness, the philosophy of perception, and wine

“Ask a Philosopher” on public radio in NY — Ian Olasov (CUNY) and Denise Vigani (Seton Hall) on the show All of It.

A philosopher says goodbye to academic freedom — “It may seem counter-intuitive that a job higher up the organizational chart should come with a reduction in freedom, but it makes sense,” says Shannon Dea (Regina)

“The case against Hume is that his racism is not a minor aberration in his thought, but a significant element of his larger views” — Eric Schliesser (Amsterdam) shows how we can “confront the complicity of our heroes in justifying really important evils”