So it was with some surprise yesterday when a scan through a list of lawyers who have clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer at the U.S. Supreme Court kept turning up leaders of the appellate and trial bar.

While the profession’s more high-minded pursuits — and the robes that come with them — have a certain attraction to many lawyers, a good portion of former Breyer clerks have chosen to do the nitty-gritty of representing clients in litigation. Deadline constraints being what they are, The Litigation Daily was unable to do any sort of scientific analysis in the time after news of Breyer’s impending retirement broke yesterday to see if his clerks are any more or less likely to end up in private practice than the other justices’. But the former Breyer clerks we connected with seemed to think the justice’s pragmatic approach to the law had direct application to what they do today.