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Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:28 pm

Just read a Bloomberg article from today that says the Legal Accountability Project's database got over 800 responses and is launching in March. Curious what people think about the database and if their schools will pay. I know the Tenth Circuit advised the whole court that it would violate ethics to participate.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by lavarman84 » Fri Feb 23, 2024 3:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:28 pm
Just read a Bloomberg article from today that says the Legal Accountability Project's database got over 800 responses and is launching in March. Curious what people think about the database and if their schools will pay. I know the Tenth Circuit advised the whole court that it would violate ethics to participate.
Wait, what?

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by nixy » Fri Feb 23, 2024 4:10 pm

lavarman84 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 3:11 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:28 pm
Just read a Bloomberg article from today that says the Legal Accountability Project's database got over 800 responses and is launching in March. Curious what people think about the database and if their schools will pay. I know the Tenth Circuit advised the whole court that it would violate ethics to participate.
Wait, what?
Yeah, wow, that's a take. I guess if I squint hard enough there could be some concern about disclosing confidential information, but I don't think talking about your experience working for a particular judge should count? That is, as long as it's about work conditions generally, not about a particular case, of course, but ethical rules already forbid that (and it's not what the database asks for).

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 23, 2024 4:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:28 pm
Just read a Bloomberg article from today that says the Legal Accountability Project's database got over 800 responses and is launching in March. Curious what people think about the database and if their schools will pay. I know the Tenth Circuit advised the whole court that it would violate ethics to participate.
Wonder why the current head of the Tenth Circuit may not be happy about confidential clerk reviews lol...

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 23, 2024 5:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 4:22 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:28 pm
Just read a Bloomberg article from today that says the Legal Accountability Project's database got over 800 responses and is launching in March. Curious what people think about the database and if their schools will pay. I know the Tenth Circuit advised the whole court that it would violate ethics to participate.
Wonder why the current head of the Tenth Circuit may not be happy about confidential clerk reviews lol...
:shock: :shock: :shock:

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 23, 2024 5:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 4:22 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:28 pm
Just read a Bloomberg article from today that says the Legal Accountability Project's database got over 800 responses and is launching in March. Curious what people think about the database and if their schools will pay. I know the Tenth Circuit advised the whole court that it would violate ethics to participate.
Wonder why the current head of the Tenth Circuit may not be happy about confidential clerk reviews lol...
True. Although I’m sure they could just plug in the information from here, if they’re getting desperate for a bad review.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 23, 2024 5:42 pm

Is it available to view for free?

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 5:42 pm
Is it available to view for free?
If your school pays for access, or individuals can sign up for access for $20 for the year. It looks like as they get enough schools to sign on, they're going to make it free for all students.

Judges and journalists won't have access. It'll be interesting to see how many schools sign on.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:51 pm

nixy wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 4:10 pm
lavarman84 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 3:11 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:28 pm
Just read a Bloomberg article from today that says the Legal Accountability Project's database got over 800 responses and is launching in March. Curious what people think about the database and if their schools will pay. I know the Tenth Circuit advised the whole court that it would violate ethics to participate.
Wait, what?
Yeah, wow, that's a take. I guess if I squint hard enough there could be some concern about disclosing confidential information, but I don't think talking about your experience working for a particular judge should count? That is, as long as it's about work conditions generally, not about a particular case, of course, but ethical rules already forbid that (and it's not what the database asks for).
Original OP here. LAP was directly reaching out to chambers. The main concern was the LAP Pledge, which requires judges to pledge to circulate a post-clerkship survey among their law clerks and be publicly listed as a supporter on LAP's website. There was concern that the Pledge might contravene the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges by improperly leveraging judicial prestige for the benefit of a private entity, potentially engaging in indirect fundraising through LAP's fee-based clerkship database, coercing law clerks given the power dynamics involved, and endorsing LAP in a manner that might appear to compromise judicial impartiality.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:51 pm
nixy wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 4:10 pm
lavarman84 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 3:11 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:28 pm
Just read a Bloomberg article from today that says the Legal Accountability Project's database got over 800 responses and is launching in March. Curious what people think about the database and if their schools will pay. I know the Tenth Circuit advised the whole court that it would violate ethics to participate.
Wait, what?
Yeah, wow, that's a take. I guess if I squint hard enough there could be some concern about disclosing confidential information, but I don't think talking about your experience working for a particular judge should count? That is, as long as it's about work conditions generally, not about a particular case, of course, but ethical rules already forbid that (and it's not what the database asks for).
Original OP here. LAP was directly reaching out to chambers. The main concern was the LAP Pledge, which requires judges to pledge to circulate a post-clerkship survey among their law clerks and be publicly listed as a supporter on LAP's website. There was concern that the Pledge might contravene the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges by improperly leveraging judicial prestige for the benefit of a private entity, potentially engaging in indirect fundraising through LAP's fee-based clerkship database, coercing law clerks given the power dynamics involved, and endorsing LAP in a manner that might appear to compromise judicial impartiality.
Without regard to ethical rules, something doesn't sit quite right with me about judges endorsing and being listed as having endorsed a private enterprise. Judicial sponsorship vibes.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by lavarman84 » Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:51 pm
Original OP here. LAP was directly reaching out to chambers. The main concern was the LAP Pledge, which requires judges to pledge to circulate a post-clerkship survey among their law clerks and be publicly listed as a supporter on LAP's website. There was concern that the Pledge might contravene the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges by improperly leveraging judicial prestige for the benefit of a private entity, potentially engaging in indirect fundraising through LAP's fee-based clerkship database, coercing law clerks given the power dynamics involved, and endorsing LAP in a manner that might appear to compromise judicial impartiality.
I guess that makes sense. I'm assuming by this comment that the Tenth Circuit didn't take the stance it was unethical for law clerks to participate.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:36 pm

Not sure the alternative here because hey everyone deserves to make money and LAP isn't running a charity, but it does feel a little weird to have all this talk about how important it is to have accountability and then paywall it

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by lavarman84 » Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:36 pm
Not sure the alternative here because hey everyone deserves to make money and LAP isn't running a charity, but it does feel a little weird to have all this talk about how important it is to have accountability and then paywall it
Agreed. Particularly when you're asking former clerks to provide the information for free.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 24, 2024 1:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:36 pm
Not sure the alternative here because hey everyone deserves to make money and LAP isn't running a charity, but it does feel a little weird to have all this talk about how important it is to have accountability and then paywall it
Well it is a 501c3. Also interesting that the 10th Cir. is objecting when some of the harshest critiques from this forum are aimed at a few 10th Cir. judges.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 24, 2024 9:25 am

The angle the LAP takes seems weird to me. It's true that if you don't know someone who clerked for the judge / have a good clerkship office with intel, 99% of judges are a total black box from the outside. And it's valuable for people to know what it's like in chambers - different judges have different styles that work for different people. But the tone of the LAP is that there is abuse everywhere which does not ring true.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by nixy » Sat Feb 24, 2024 9:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:51 pm
Original OP here. LAP was directly reaching out to chambers. The main concern was the LAP Pledge, which requires judges to pledge to circulate a post-clerkship survey among their law clerks and be publicly listed as a supporter on LAP's website. There was concern that the Pledge might contravene the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges by improperly leveraging judicial prestige for the benefit of a private entity, potentially engaging in indirect fundraising through LAP's fee-based clerkship database, coercing law clerks given the power dynamics involved, and endorsing LAP in a manner that might appear to compromise judicial impartiality.
Since I expressed confusion - this makes much more sense. I was reading quickly and assumed this was about clerks sharing their experiences.

Re: the paywall, I think it’s pretty clear that it’s a temporary matter until LAP can establish itself with law schools and become economically self-sustaining, as a non-profit. I’ve seen other non-profits (outside law) do something similar. Clerks offering their info for free isn’t, I think, out of line given that it’s a non-profit and a public interest kind of thing.

Re: the implication that there is abuse everywhere - yeah, I’m torn about this. On the one hand, I can’t fault the founder because she legitimately got screwed over by a judge who soon after agreed to retire to avoid discipline (IIRC was having medical issues that caused personality/cognitive issues but I could be misremembering details). And I’m sure she’s not alone. But it’s impossible to say how widespread that kind of abuse is, versus your garden variety mediocre boss or just a bad fit.

I know there are plenty of people who don’t enjoy their year of clerking, but a mediocre boss isn’t the same as an abusive boss, bad fit isn’t really anyone’s fault, and some people just aren’t going to like clerking. It’s not that that input will be useless, but it may be noisy.

Also, to the extent that the founder’s judge became abusive through health issues, it’s not clear previous clerks would have offered insight into that.

I suppose it’s always better to have more information than less, but I think that except for extreme outlier judges, most applicants are still going to feel compelled to apply broadly and take an offer given the supply/demand pressures and perceived value of clerking.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 24, 2024 11:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2024 9:25 am
The angle the LAP takes seems weird to me. It's true that if you don't know someone who clerked for the judge / have a good clerkship office with intel, 99% of judges are a total black box from the outside. And it's valuable for people to know what it's like in chambers - different judges have different styles that work for different people. But the tone of the LAP is that there is abuse everywhere which does not ring true.
The more common issues with clerkship that is less "exciting" but is something that clerks should keep in mind is that there are a lot of judges that are just meh. Clerkship offices will sell clerkships as this exciting opportunity to work for a judge who will serve as a lifelong mentor and friend and will go through his/her contacts to get you a dream job. Then clerks get there and their judge is nice but this is more or less a job and your judge is a standard boss. clocks in and out, treats you with respect, but the back and forth is a standard corporate job etc. Now sure there are judges who throw shit at you and are utter pieces of shit, but the most common let down for a lot of people is that your relationship with your judge is indistinguishable between your relationship with your bosses at your law firm.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 24, 2024 3:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2024 11:40 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2024 9:25 am
The angle the LAP takes seems weird to me. It's true that if you don't know someone who clerked for the judge / have a good clerkship office with intel, 99% of judges are a total black box from the outside. And it's valuable for people to know what it's like in chambers - different judges have different styles that work for different people. But the tone of the LAP is that there is abuse everywhere which does not ring true.
The more common issues with clerkship that is less "exciting" but is something that clerks should keep in mind is that there are a lot of judges that are just meh. Clerkship offices will sell clerkships as this exciting opportunity to work for a judge who will serve as a lifelong mentor and friend and will go through his/her contacts to get you a dream job. Then clerks get there and their judge is nice but this is more or less a job and your judge is a standard boss. clocks in and out, treats you with respect, but the back and forth is a standard corporate job etc. Now sure there are judges who throw shit at you and are utter pieces of shit, but the most common let down for a lot of people is that your relationship with your judge is indistinguishable between your relationship with your bosses at your law firm.
Yeah, I'm a big clerkship booster and enjoyed mine, but I do think law schools promote an unrealistic mystique around clerking. You get a lot of experience researching/writing, and you get useful exposure to all stages of litigation (whether through a trial or appellate lens) and how a court approaches matters. But it is a job, not initiation into a sacred elect. If you're lucky, it's a network that will help you out throughout your career, but that doesn't always happen either - not from malice or indifference, just circumstances (I clerked in smaller jdxs and ended up practicing completely across the country).

It's in schools' interest to hype up clerking b/c they benefit from good relationships with judges and placing as many students as they can, and it's in judges' interest to hype up clerking b/c they want to get top students to do what is at heart a temporary job that pays less than top students' other options and may be far away from where they want to live long term. Those aren't the same as students' interests. And I have an entirely unsupported suspicion that the difference between the hype and the experience of clerking is most stark for KJDs who have little full-time work experience and maybe don't yet have the most realistic expectations about work generally and the legal profession specifically (which is honestly a lot of law students).

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 24, 2024 6:40 pm

The database seems useful so long as it gets a representative sample--though I'm somewhat dubious that it will (I'd guess it'll be left-skewed and bad-experience-skewed). The Pledge seems hokey.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Feb 25, 2024 12:47 am

lavarman84 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:36 pm
Not sure the alternative here because hey everyone deserves to make money and LAP isn't running a charity, but it does feel a little weird to have all this talk about how important it is to have accountability and then paywall it
Agreed. Particularly when you're asking former clerks to provide the information for free.
I hate to say it because I think the general idea of the database LAP is proposing would be super helpful for clerkship applicants, especially for those at lower-ranked schools, but I get serious grifter vibes from the founder. Like r e l a x with the social media posting—I clicked "follow" on the project's page to hear updates about, you know, the project, not each one of your speaking engagements. And the paywall thing only strengthens that feeling. The bad vibes I get could also just be a lack of tact and subtlety, though, so maybe I'm being too harsh with my judgment.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:53 am

Calling the founder a 'grifter' is nuts. This is a non-profit and I doubt she makes much. Certainly far less than if she were to keep her mouth shut and just join a big law firm like most people in her position would've. I respect what she's doing, and I hope it works out.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 12:47 am
lavarman84 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:36 pm
Not sure the alternative here because hey everyone deserves to make money and LAP isn't running a charity, but it does feel a little weird to have all this talk about how important it is to have accountability and then paywall it
Agreed. Particularly when you're asking former clerks to provide the information for free.
I hate to say it because I think the general idea of the database LAP is proposing would be super helpful for clerkship applicants, especially for those at lower-ranked schools, but I get serious grifter vibes from the founder. Like r e l a x with the social media posting—I clicked "follow" on the project's page to hear updates about, you know, the project, not each one of your speaking engagements. And the paywall thing only strengthens that feeling. The bad vibes I get could also just be a lack of tact and subtlety, though, so maybe I'm being too harsh with my judgment.
Nah, I'm with you on this - the linkedin use is a bit heavy handed and comes off as self-serving.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:10 am

The 10th circuit is probably worried that half the reviews are clerks bashing Holmes, Hartz, and Matheson

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 12:47 am
lavarman84 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:38 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2024 10:36 pm
Not sure the alternative here because hey everyone deserves to make money and LAP isn't running a charity, but it does feel a little weird to have all this talk about how important it is to have accountability and then paywall it
Agreed. Particularly when you're asking former clerks to provide the information for free.
I hate to say it because I think the general idea of the database LAP is proposing would be super helpful for clerkship applicants, especially for those at lower-ranked schools, but I get serious grifter vibes from the founder. Like r e l a x with the social media posting—I clicked "follow" on the project's page to hear updates about, you know, the project, not each one of your speaking engagements. And the paywall thing only strengthens that feeling. The bad vibes I get could also just be a lack of tact and subtlety, though, so maybe I'm being too harsh with my judgment.
I get why you say this, and I too find the promotion a little intense. But I have a sort of 6-degrees-of-separation connection with her and while I don't know her personally, I don't think it's grift as much as influencer-style grind and trying to get this off the ground. I'm not sure biglaw was a realistic option for her, which may make the LAP look griftier (she needs an income), but I also think it comes from genuine commitment and is consistent with her government/"justice" focus throughout law school. She's definitely hustling to support herself, but I think the promotion style is more that it's a one-woman show and she isn't that great at marketing.

It sort of feels like she's trying to pivot to judicial accountability as a career in the way that the founders of Law School Transparency pivoted to law school reform (but that's a guess, I have no inside info about this). I guess time will tell how it works out, and whether law clerk abuse really is a widespread enough issue to make a career out of.

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Re: Legal Accountability Project

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Feb 25, 2024 2:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:53 am
Calling the founder a 'grifter' is nuts. This is a non-profit and I doubt she makes much. Certainly far less than if she were to keep her mouth shut and just join a big law firm like most people in her position would've. I respect what she's doing, and I hope it works out.
"Grifter" OP here: I'm not gonna deny it's a little bit nuts (I did say "vibes" after all, lol). Maybe grifter isn't the right word. (Clout grifter?) But are you gonna sit here and tell me that today's post about how "Some [at WashU] were only comfortable with my visit if I was going to blow sunshine up the administrations’ butts" didn't rub you the wrong way?

Like I said, I'm totally willing to believe that the weirdness is all just due to a poor sense of how best to get the message out. I too would like to see this work out, but I am definitely put off by how she has approached all this. You know how people act when a video of them goes viral? This feels like that. I don't really have a great word to describe that though (grifter was my best shot).

Edit: Post above me put into words my own thoughts better than I could myself.

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