Jones Day announced Wednesday that it has hired five former U.S. Supreme Court clerks from last term’s “class,” including Kamaile Turčan—the court’s first Native Hawaiian law clerk.
The hires bring the total to 36 Supreme Court clerks hired by Jones Day in the last five years, almost certainly an unmatched concentration in a single law firm. The hiring effort reached its high point in 2015 with 10 clerk hires. In 2016 the firm hired only two, leading some to wonder if the firm had had its fill of incoming Supreme Court law clerks, who command hefty hiring bonuses now running between $300,000 and $350,000.
But the firm has never regretted the investment. Beth Heifetz, who chairs Jones Day’s issues and appeals practice—the landing spot for most of the clerk hires—said, “Sometimes there’s a perception that with the number of clerks that we’ve been able to hire, that there’s some sort of over-saturation. But, in fact, it’s only a perception, and it’s wrong. We have plenty of work for the clerks, and we would be happy to hire more.”
The five new hires came from the chambers of four justices from across the ideological spectrum: Turčan, who clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor; Ben Cassady and Alex Potapov, who worked for Justice Samuel Alito Jr.; Conor Reardon, who clerked for Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr.; and Parker Rider-Longmaid, who clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
That array also may blunt speculation that the numerous Jones Day lawyers who have joined the Trump administration might be prompting some talent to look elsewhere.
“It was a hands-down easy choice,” said Rider-Longmaid, the Ginsburg clerk. “The folks at Jones Day span the ideological spectrum. You learn the most, you grow the most,” when exposed to a range of views, he added. He called Ginsburg “one of the wisest, kindest mentors anyone could have.”
Rider-Longmaid said he decided to head to Jones Day for five reasons: its “very collaborative” people, its commitment to service and pro bono, its professional development programs for associates, the “good fun” its people seem to have, and one more logistical factor: “It doesn’t hurt to have the Supreme Court so physically close. It’s just up the hill, which makes going back for oral argument or to visit very easy.” Jones Day’s Washington office is at the foot of Capitol Hill.
Another intangible fact was the familiar faces he has seen since starting at the firm in September: “It’s nice to have former colleagues around—the discussion, the energy that occurs. You always have several other brilliant minds you can pick when you’re working on a tough issue.”
He also knocked down suggestions that the firm does not have enough work for the former clerks, who are barred from appearing before the court for two years after their clerkship. “I’ve already been drafting briefs raising novel and difficult constitutional questions,” Rider-Longmaid said. “There’s plenty of work to go around.”