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Posts Tagged ‘Richard H. Chambers Courthouse’

Ed. note: Apologies for the delay between this installment and the last one. As you can see, I’ve moved from a Wednesday/Sunday posting schedule to something more… sporadic.

I spent Tuesday morning reading the briefs and doing some research for Hamadani, an immigration case involving a Pakistani man seeking political asylum in the United States. The immigrant, who overstayed illegally years ago but went on to start a successful small business (a grocery store), as well as to raise two kids here, seemed sympathetic. But the legal standard for granting asylum struck me as stringent.

So immersed in my reading, I didn’t realize it was half past noon until James’s tall, slender figure materialized in the doorway of my windowless office.

“Lunch?”

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I spent the rest of my first day in chambers with Janet Lee, the outgoing clerk that I would be replacing. Janet, whom I had briefly met when I interviewed with the judge, was also originally from New York, although she had gone to law school out here in California, at Stanford. She was now moving back to New York to work at Wachtell Lipton.

After reviewing the general workings of the Ninth Circuit with me, Janet described my specific duties as a clerk. They could be divided up into three broad areas.

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As I arrived at the Ninth Circuit courthouse for my first day at work, I knew I was nervous. My grey Theory skirt suit, a pricey splurge from my summer at Cravath, wasn’t giving me the usual jolt of confidence. I don’t tend to sweat very much, but by the time I arrived at work, I was sweating — and it wasn’t from the seven-minute walk from my apartment to the courthouse, in a still-cool California morning.

This Monday marked the start of my Legal Career. And because I went straight though to law school from college, this was also the first day of my first Real Job. This was a Big Deal….

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Through the glass storefront, I spotted Jeremy. He saw me too, grinned, and waved like a beauty queen on speed. Phew: he was clearly very happy with how his clerkship search had turned out.

Jeremy blew into Willoughby’s, pecked me on the cheek, dropped off his bag at the table (was that a new Jack Spade?), and went up to the counter to order a drink. I fiddled with my phone as I waited for him, texting my mother to say that I’d call her tonight to let her know how my L.A. trip went.

“So,” said Jeremy, sitting down with his large soy latte, “tell me everything, Miss Audrey. I want to hear every last delicious detail.”

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After the interview, the rest of the day passed in a blur. I met briefly with Judge Stinson’s current clerks, just to say hello and to introduce myself to them as one of their successors. The Stinson clerks seemed friendly and enthusiastic about their jobs, and as is often the case with clerks to the same judge, I had several connections in common with them.

One of the current clerks, Michael Nomellini, also graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School (where he served as president of the Federalist Society, a group of conservative and libertarian law students). Another clerk, Janet Lee, was an Asian-American woman from New York City who graduated from Stuyvesant, my high school alma mater. Even though I hadn’t met Michael or Janet before, we played the “name game” and quickly discovered we had several mutual friends. Both Michael and Janet gave me their email addresses and phone numbers and told me to contact them with any questions that might come up before the start of my clerkship.

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