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Supreme Ambitions cover high resolutionProfessor Mitu Gulati and Judge Richard A. Posner recently posted to SSRN a very interesting paper entitled The Management of Staff by Federal Court of Appeals Judges. If you’re curious about how federal appellate judges run their chambers, you should definitely check it out.

Here’s an excerpt from page 3 of the paper (affiliate links to books added by me):

[T]hose seeking information about the range of management techniques [of federal judges] are forced to rely on rumor, anecdote and (if one is a judge) conversations with one’s colleagues (a type of conversation that appears to occur very rarely).2

2 A handful of respondents pointed to Judge Frank Coffin’s book, The Ways of a Judge: Views From the Federal Appellate Bench from 1980, as having provided some insight. To our surprise, the other book that came up a couple of times as a source of information was a novel, David Lat’s Supreme Ambitions, from 2014.

Thanks to these judges and to Professor Gulati and Judge Posner for the mentions. I tried to make Supreme Ambitions fairly realistic, so I’m glad to hear that at least some judges think I succeeded.

You can download the full paper via the link below. Thanks to @BryanGivi on Twitter for the heads-up.

The Management of Staff by Federal Court of Appeals Judges [SSRN]

ChicagoI will soon be in Los Angeles and Chicago for these Supreme Ambitions events, to which you are enthusiastically invited:

1. Los Angeles (Pasadena) — Sunday, April 19, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Ninth Circuit Open House

Previously discussed here. RSVP here. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments and inexpensive CLE credits will be offered.

2. Los Angeles (Mid-Wilshire) — Tuesday, April 21, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. — HLSA Event

The Harvard Law School Association of Los Angeles is hosting an event with me at Southwestern Law School (but you don’t need to be connected to either law school to attend; it’s open to all). To get details and RSVP, please go to Eventbrite. (You can say you’re coming through Facebook, but registration must be done through Eventbrite.)

3. Chicago (Downtown) — Wednesday, April 22, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. — YLSA event

The Yale Law School Association of Illinois is hosting an event with me at the offices of Skadden, to which law alumni of Harvard, Northwestern, the University of Chicago and Yale are invited. I’ll be chatting with Professor Will Baude of the University of Chicago Law School (who wrote one of my favorite reviews of Supreme Ambitions). Books will be available for sale. Details here; RSVP here.

4. Chicago (South Side) — Saturday, April 25, 3 p.m. — Book Chat At Sem Co-Op

I’ll be at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, a beloved Chicago institution, to chat with Professor William Birdthistle of Chicago-Kent Law School, my co-clerk from my Ninth Circuit days. The event is free and open to the public, and books will of course be available for sale. Details here; RSVP here (but RSVPs are not required; feel free to just stop by).

Please help spread the word. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. I look forward to seeing you at one or more of these events!

Ninth Circuit CourthouseYou are cordially invited to a literary event taking place on Sunday, April 19, at the historic Richard H. Chambers Courthouse in Pasadena, the setting for Supreme Ambitions.

The magnificent grounds and building, including the chambers of several judges, will be open for touring starting at 11 a.m. In the afternoon, two very interesting panels will take place — and CLE credit will be available. Refreshments will be served. The event is free of charge (except for a $20 registration fee, payable in cash, for attendees seeking CLE credit).

For details and to RSVP, please see below (or click here). I look forward to seeing you on April 19 in Pasadena!

Supreme Event

Supreme Event 2

Yale-Law-School-Room-127I consider Supreme Ambitions to be a “commercial” rather than “literary” novel, and I wanted it to be a fun, quick read. It seems that the average reader finishes it in about two days, which I take as a sign of success.

At the same time, I do believe Supreme Ambitions is a book of some substance. It explores important themes, including ambition, prestige, various “isms” in the legal profession (including sexism and elitism), law versus politics, and ethics.

In fact, the main ethical dilemma in the book has actually given rise to an interesting debate between two legal academics: Peter Conti-Brown, a fellow at Stanford Law School and future professor of legal studies and business ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Will Baude, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

You can read Conti-Brown’s and Baude’s pieces via the links below. Please note: they do (by necessity) contain plot spoilers, so I’d refrain from reading them until you’ve read Supreme Ambitions. My thanks to the good professors for engaging so thoughtfully with the book.

Book Review – Supreme Ambitions: A Novel [Notice & Comment / Yale Journal on Regulation]
When, if ever, should law clerks betray their bosses? [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]
Law Clerks and Duties of Loyalty: More on David Lat’s Supreme Ambitions [Notice & Comment / Yale Journal on Regulation]

AK and DL at CEII’m eager to escape from the New York cold. Next Thursday, I’ll be doing an event in L.A. with Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, one of the leading lights of the federal judiciary — and, of course, one of the esteemed blurbers of Supreme Ambitions.

Details about the event and how to RSVP appear below. I hope to see some of you in Los Angeles next week!

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