Best conservative judges to clerk for? Forum

(Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 2:45 am

I'm curious who the best conservative judges to clerk for are when it comes to mentorship, clerkship experience, and the advocacy that a judge puts forward for his/her clerks moving forward in their careers. Through the FedSoc grapevine, for example, I have heard very good things about the experience with Oldham, Newsom, Sutton, Beaton, and Kethledge.

Would be curious to hear others' thoughts on these and other judges. Who are the best conservative judges to clerk for -- and how does that list line up with the judges that are most "popular" in FedSoc student circles?

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 8:13 am

Someone on SCOTUS?

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 10:39 am

If you look around the forums, Jerry Smith is pretty universally regarded as a great clerkship experience.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 10:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2023 2:45 am
I'm curious who the best conservative judges to clerk for are when it comes to mentorship, clerkship experience, and the advocacy that a judge puts forward for his/her clerks moving forward in their careers. Through the FedSoc grapevine, for example, I have heard very good things about the experience with Oldham, Newsom, Sutton, Beaton, and Kethledge.

Would be curious to hear others' thoughts on these and other judges. Who are the best conservative judges to clerk for -- and how does that list line up with the judges that are most "popular" in FedSoc student circles?
That list omits some the most sought after clerkships for top Fed Soc students like Thapar, Katsas, and Bibas. Should probably include a few more of the older Bush appointees too like Pryor, Sykes, and Hardiman.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 12:46 pm

Well I don’t think OP meant just “who feeds?”—e.g. Thapar has a reputation as a difficult boss.

Second that Jerry Smith is a famously good boss. Hardiman, Newsom, and Park clerks also seem especially happy.

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 12:53 pm

Hardiman is the best of both worlds. Feeder and legendary boss

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 1:00 pm

Not in fed soc, so I'm a little out of the direct whisper network, but I've heard great things from my friends who have clerked for Grant, Kovner and Miller. I've also heard that Walker is a great boss but the clerkship can be a little intense.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 2:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2023 1:00 pm
Not in fed soc, so I'm a little out of the direct whisper network, but I've heard great things from my friends who have clerked for Grant, Kovner and Miller. I've also heard that Walker is a great boss but the clerkship can be a little intense.
Walker clerks and even other DC Circuit clerks speak glowingly about the culture he has established.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 2:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2023 2:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2023 1:00 pm
Not in fed soc, so I'm a little out of the direct whisper network, but I've heard great things from my friends who have clerked for Grant, Kovner and Miller. I've also heard that Walker is a great boss but the clerkship can be a little intense.
Walker clerks and even other DC Circuit clerks speak glowingly about the culture he has established.
Have heard that all the conservatives on DC Cir are good bosses. The seniors too. But that might just be the result of an interesting and low caseload

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 4:20 pm

FWIW, out of the names floated so far - at least Kethledge, Bibas, and Kovner a decent % of their clerks on plan so might reduce accessibility.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 04, 2023 6:25 pm

All the Oldham clerks that I know speak very glowingly of him and of the clerkship -- he's established a great culture and seems by all accounts to be a tremendous mentor. I've also heard great things about Bumatay; everyone seems to love spending a year out in San Diego with him

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 05, 2023 12:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2023 12:46 pm
Well I don’t think OP meant just “who feeds?”—e.g. Thapar has a reputation as a difficult boss.

Second that Jerry Smith is a famously good boss. Hardiman, Newsom, and Park clerks also seem especially happy.
Thapar is tough during the year but every single Thapar clerk I've met adores him. He seems really keen on helping his clerks succeed, which is one reason his feeding numbers are extraordinary. Sutton and Pryor are also very tough bosses during the year but clerks also seem to like them a lot as well once they're done with the year. Long hours and being a demanding boss doesn't mean it won't be a good year and it certainly doesn't mean the judge won't be a great mentor. The converse is true too.

Your best bet is to talk to former clerks and ask them how often they talk to their judges once they've left if you want to gauge who's a good mentor. As for work-life balance, I think most top feeders require long hours and are exacting, but I don't think that's too bad provided they're not like Reinhardt or Kozinski.

Have heard great things about Hardiman and Newsom too. Don't know Park. Dan Collins is a wonderful judge on CA9.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 05, 2023 12:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2023 2:45 am
I'm curious who the best conservative judges to clerk for are when it comes to mentorship, clerkship experience, and the advocacy that a judge puts forward for his/her clerks moving forward in their careers. Through the FedSoc grapevine, for example, I have heard very good things about the experience with Oldham, Newsom, Sutton, Beaton, and Kethledge.

Would be curious to hear others' thoughts on these and other judges. Who are the best conservative judges to clerk for -- and how does that list line up with the judges that are most "popular" in FedSoc student circles?
I would add Ken Lee in CA9 to this list.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 05, 2023 11:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2023 12:50 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2023 12:46 pm
Well I don’t think OP meant just “who feeds?”—e.g. Thapar has a reputation as a difficult boss.

Second that Jerry Smith is a famously good boss. Hardiman, Newsom, and Park clerks also seem especially happy.
Thapar is tough during the year but every single Thapar clerk I've met adores him. He seems really keen on helping his clerks succeed, which is one reason his feeding numbers are extraordinary. Sutton and Pryor are also very tough bosses during the year but clerks also seem to like them a lot as well once they're done with the year. Long hours and being a demanding boss doesn't mean it won't be a good year and it certainly doesn't mean the judge won't be a great mentor. The converse is true too.

Your best bet is to talk to former clerks and ask them how often they talk to their judges once they've left if you want to gauge who's a good mentor. As for work-life balance, I think most top feeders require long hours and are exacting, but I don't think that's too bad provided they're not like Reinhardt or Kozinski.

Have heard great things about Hardiman and Newsom too. Don't know Park. Dan Collins is a wonderful judge on CA9.
Agree that a judge’s long-term advocacy doesn’t have much to do with whether they are good to clerks during the year, as you put it. Both are relevant considerations but they don’t necessarily go together. Like Thapar famously built his current status off of his networking skills.

Fwiw I think most judges have pretty limited involvement with most clerks post-clerkship, and the judges who are really invested in cultivating their clerkship networks (especially beyond their local area) are unusual. Judges just have too many clerks. Agree that asking former clerks is a good proxy.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 05, 2023 3:01 pm

Heard good things about a few 8th Cir judges like Gruender, who apparently is great.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 06, 2023 2:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 05, 2023 12:53 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2023 2:45 am
I'm curious who the best conservative judges to clerk for are when it comes to mentorship, clerkship experience, and the advocacy that a judge puts forward for his/her clerks moving forward in their careers. Through the FedSoc grapevine, for example, I have heard very good things about the experience with Oldham, Newsom, Sutton, Beaton, and Kethledge.

Would be curious to hear others' thoughts on these and other judges. Who are the best conservative judges to clerk for -- and how does that list line up with the judges that are most "popular" in FedSoc student circles?
I would add Ken Lee in CA9 to this list.
What do people know about Lee? I keep hearing generally positive things, but I would love to know more about him and the experience clerking with him

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 06, 2023 9:51 am

Thapar is, from what I've been told, really only interested in hiring mega-connected candidates. Eg he hired Scalia's granddaughter. Not saying that's wrong or bad or anything it just leaves kind of a weird taste in my mouth.

Get unlimited access to all forums and topics

Register now!

I'm pretty sure I told you it's FREE...


Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 06, 2023 10:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 9:51 am
Thapar is, from what I've been told, really only interested in hiring mega-connected candidates. Eg he hired Scalia's granddaughter. Not saying that's wrong or bad or anything it just leaves kind of a weird taste in my mouth.
Super common for powerful judges on both sides of the aisle - looking at you Kagan

The people clerking for Thapar from my school are all unconnected but otherwise extraordinary applicants (LR + FedSoc + HYP undergrad + magna)

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 06, 2023 11:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 10:50 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 9:51 am
Thapar is, from what I've been told, really only interested in hiring mega-connected candidates. Eg he hired Scalia's granddaughter. Not saying that's wrong or bad or anything it just leaves kind of a weird taste in my mouth.
Super common for powerful judges on both sides of the aisle - looking at you Kagan

The people clerking for Thapar from my school are all unconnected but otherwise extraordinary applicants (LR + FedSoc + HYP undergrad + magna)
Thapar pretty blatantly just hires people who he thinks he has the best chance of feeding. So that’s basically going to be elite fed soc students or very well connected liberals.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 06, 2023 1:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 11:11 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 10:50 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 9:51 am
Thapar is, from what I've been told, really only interested in hiring mega-connected candidates. Eg he hired Scalia's granddaughter. Not saying that's wrong or bad or anything it just leaves kind of a weird taste in my mouth.
Super common for powerful judges on both sides of the aisle - looking at you Kagan

The people clerking for Thapar from my school are all unconnected but otherwise extraordinary applicants (LR + FedSoc + HYP undergrad + magna)
Thapar pretty blatantly just hires people who he thinks he has the best chance of feeding. So that’s basically going to be elite fed soc students or very well connected liberals.
Thapar also likes to pass clerks along to some of his best friends on the judiciary, and vice versa. He also frequently has events where he gets together with his best judge-friends and lets their clerks all mingle. This is especially true for Thapar/Oldham, though Beaton is another example of this. So clerking for either Thapar or for Oldham opens up an incredible network of other clerks that you will get to know

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 06, 2023 7:31 pm

The judges on the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces all generally seem to be adored by their clerks and their peers.

Communicate now with those who not only know what a legal education is, but can offer you worthy advice and commentary as you complete the three most educational, yet challenging years of your law related post graduate life.

Register now, it's still FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 06, 2023 7:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 11:11 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 10:50 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2023 9:51 am
Thapar is, from what I've been told, really only interested in hiring mega-connected candidates. Eg he hired Scalia's granddaughter. Not saying that's wrong or bad or anything it just leaves kind of a weird taste in my mouth.
Super common for powerful judges on both sides of the aisle - looking at you Kagan

The people clerking for Thapar from my school are all unconnected but otherwise extraordinary applicants (LR + FedSoc + HYP undergrad + magna)
Thapar pretty blatantly just hires people who he thinks he has the best chance of feeding. So that’s basically going to be elite fed soc students or very well connected liberals.
This. The comment that he's only interested in hiring the "mega-connected" is a ridiculous overstatement. Thapar's only goal is to feed, and the average Thapar clerk isn't related to anyone, but has obvious SCOTUS credentials (and generally conservative ones).

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 06, 2023 7:51 pm

Have heard that Sykes is amazing to work for.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 06, 2023 11:38 pm

Judge Willett is an amazing boss by all accounts. Like Smith, a very casual and friendly chambers. And an easy workload.

Anonymous User
Posts: 427428
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Best conservative judges to clerk for?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 07, 2023 1:53 pm

Judge Tymkovich seems to have cultivated an exceptional clerkship alum network and his clerks appear happy and relaxed at work. And you get to live in Denver for a year.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

Now there's a charge.
Just kidding ... it's still FREE!


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Judicial Clerkships”