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UNMASK THE SECRET LAW CLERKS To the editor: The D.C. Circuit’s policy of not releasing the identities of its law clerks (“ D.C. Circuit Keeps Clerks Confidential,” April 9, Page 3) is regrettable. It denies information to law students who could use it to assess their prospects before they apply for particular clerkships. It keeps law schools in the dark and thus impairs their student advising. It costs the public information about public employees, including data that could reveal commendable diversity in judges’ hiring patterns or serious problems of underrepresentation, possible exclusion, and perhaps even bias. The clerk of the court’s stated concern — that law firms would use law clerks’ identities to make improper “ ex parte contacts” about future employment — is an insulting presumption and, apparently, one that is not borne out by law-firm behavior in other jurisdictions. (If D.C.-area law firms deserve a unique presumption of sleaziness, the court could address that problem with tailored rules aimed at firms and incumbent law clerks and, if need be, by making a public example of any law firm that transgresses.) I hope that the D.C. Circuit judges will reconsider their secrecy policy. They should follow the U.S. Supreme Court and the many other courts that release — proudly, and rightly so — their law clerks’ identities every year. Professor John Q. Barrett St. John’s University School of Law Queens, N.Y.

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