Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
For the lucky few who get them, judicial clerkships provide invaluable inside knowledge about the courts and the promise of lucrative job offers by firms willing to pay for them. But to what extent do clerks bring to the firm that hires them an imputed disqualification? The question is before the New Jersey Supreme Court in Camparato v. Schait, A-43-03, a case of divorcing spouses fighting over — among other things — who should represent them. The theory of conflict goes like this: A clerk for the trial judge in the case was hired by the wife’s law firm. When the partner handling the case left the firm to start a new one, the clerk went with him and at that point became involved in the case. Even though the judge then recused himself, the tinge of conflict remained, the husband’s lawyer argues. “Something is truly wrong with this picture,” Patricia Barbarito told the court last Tuesday during oral argument. She said that Superior Court Judge Thomas Zampino was making critical decisions at the time the wife’s firm was considering hiring the clerk, Priscilla Miller. Miller had “substantial involvement” with the case while clerking for the judge from September 1999 to August 2000, when she joined the wife’s law firm, noted Barbarito, of Denville’s Einhorn, Harris, Ascher, Barbarito, Frost & Ironson. At that point, a few of the justices were quizzical about why a conflict arose. “Define ‘substantial involvement,’” posited Chief Justice Deborah Poritz. “The very virtue of what a clerk does,” namely, writing memos and researching case law, said Barbarito. “But the judge always makes the ultimate decision,” Justice Barry Albin noted. When his turn came, the wife’s lawyer, Neil Braun, said Miller’s involvement with the case during her clerkship was minimal. “She had no specific recollection of having any contact with the file. Her involvement was just routine,” said Braun, who left Morristown’s Donahue, Braun, Hagan, Klein & Newsome in 2002 to form Gomperts & Braun in Springfield. Braun insisted that there is no bright-line rule that precludes former clerks from dealing with cases that may have been handled by their judges after they join a firm after completing a clerkship.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.