Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Moral (and possibly) legal failure of a Federal judge

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Outrageous behavior for a Federal judge—for anyone, really, but a judge should know better (especially one who has served on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Paul Campos reports in Salon:

This is a story of what’s happening to the best and the brightest of the echo boomer generation — the children of the baby boomers, many of whom, to echo Bob Dylan, have finished 20 years of schooling, only to find they can’t get put on the day shift.

Traditionally, the most prestigious job a law school graduate can get straight out of school is a federal judicial clerkship. Holders of these one-year positions are usually much sought-after by big law firms and other desirable employers, and the competition among law students for federal clerkships is ferocious.

Even at elite law schools, only students at or near the top of class have a reasonable shot at a federal clerkship. In addition, now many young lawyers with sterling resumes have begun applying for clerkships. The result is that any federal judge will be deluged with hundreds of highly qualified candidates for an open position.

In response, the government has created an online application site for judicial clerks, featuring strict rules about when candidates can apply and when clerkship offers can be made. William Martinez, a federal judge in Denver, is currently using the site to solicit applications for a standard year-long clerkship in his chambers.

While the requirements for the job look quite ordinary – excellent academic credentials required, two or more years of legal practice experience preferred – the position’s salary is not. More precisely, this job features a salary of zero: “This position is a gratuitous service appointment,” the posting announces, while going on to make clear that the successful candidate will waive any claim to salary, benefits or any other compensation, and that he or she can be fired at any time, for any reason, or no reason, during the course of the year-long appointment.

It gets better: Although Judge Martinez isn’t going to pay the successful applicant, and reserves the right to fire this person arbitrarily at any time, the judge is asking whoever takes the job “to morally commit to the position for one year.” (In other words, don’t think for a moment it’s OK to quit this non-paying job just because a paying job comes along.) As an added extra bonus, the posting states unequivocally that “there is no possibility of the position turning into a paid position with Judge Martinez.”

This is the practical endpoint of a social system that has . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 November 2012 at 10:50 am

Posted in Government, Law

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