In U.S. Supreme Court litigation original thinking is a plus. And “sometimes when you need people to think outside the box, the best candidates are those who haven’t been in the box very long,” said Joel Johnson, who spent the past academic year in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law.

The law school launched the clinic in 2006, two years after Stanford Law School pioneered the concept. Supreme Court clinics now operate in nearly every major law school. Johnson was one of 17 third-year students in the Virginia program this academic year.

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