Garland has his pick of law school grads with the best credentials—academic all-stars, law review leaders and professor favorites. He wanted clerks with the confidence to tell him he’s wrong. But he also wanted clerks who were friendly: Judges and their clerks work in close quarters.

“He obviously wants to hire smart people, but to hire people who play well with others,” said Kendall Turner, who clerked from 2013 to 2014 and now is a law clerk at Jenner & Block. “He will not hire someone if they’re really smart but they have a reputation for being a jerk.”

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