Thursday, July 19, 2007

"The Clerkship from Hell"

Over at the Right Coast, Mike Rappaport tells an amazing story of a well-known federal appellate judge who is, apparently, a sadistic nut-job whose abusive behavior resulted in four clerks quitting in seven years.

My judge was, I'm happy to report, a dream, but my co-clerk did quit. Both my co-clerk and I started in late August. One day in October, I went out for a hair cut. When I returned, say around 2:30, my co-clerk (I'll call her "Deb") was not in her office. At first, I thought nothing of it, but after a while it seemed a bit odd. So I walked into the judge's office and asked her:

ME: Where's Deb?

JUDGE: Oh . . . Deb's not here . . .

ME: Oh?

JUDGE: I think she left . . .

ME: Oh?

JUDGE: I went in to talk with her about some things . . .

ME: Oh?

JUDGE: And she got upset . . .

ME: Oh?

JUDGE: And I think she left . . .

ME: Oh?

Piecing it together later, it seemed that the judge had used my absence to try to give Deb some gentle, constructive criticism, and Deb simply stormed out. Deb never returned, never even called to arrange to pick up her stuff (shoes, books). To this day, I have no idea what ever happened to her.

At all events, Deb's loss (or the loss of Deb) was my gain. I was the sole clerk for a couple of months until the judge could secure a replacement. What a great time I had!

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