When Beatrice Franklin ’14 began clerking for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59 this past summer, it wasn’t her first brush with the high court. In the final round of the 2014 Harlan Fiske Moot Court competition, Franklin, then a 3L, successfully argued before Justice Elena Kagan, earning both the prize for best oral argument and the prize for best brief.
“If Columbia Law School has prepared us for anything,” Franklin said at the time, “it’s how to think on our feet in response to tough questions from people who know a lot more than we do.”
Underscoring that point, Columbia Law has four alumnae, including Franklin, hired to be Supreme Court clerks. Franklin and Lena Husani Hughes ’12 began clerking in July (Hughes is clerking for Kagan). Sarah Hartman Sloan ’16 will clerk for retired Justice John Paul Stevens in 2018, while Alyssa Barnard ’15 will clerk for Ginsburg in 2019.
New clerkship opportunities
All four alumnae had previous clerkships, and Columbia Law is working to expand opportunities for graduates. The Law School recently moved its clerkship advising program from the Office of Student Services to Social Justice Initiatives (SJI), and Victor Caldwell ’96 joined the office this past spring as director of clerkships. A former clerk for the 3rd Circuit, Caldwell has served as a litigation associate and as an assistant general counsel, before founding Caldwell Litigation Group, PLLC.
On Wednesday, Oct. 4, SJI will host a clerkship information session at the Law School for students interested in pursuing clerkship opportunities.
Beatrice Franklin ’14
In addition to Franklin’s moot court win at Columbia Law, she was active in the Courtroom Advocates Project—one of the Law School’s pro bono programs—and appeared in family court to advocate on behalf of domestic violence victims. A Harvard University graduate, she also served as articles editor for the Columbia Human Rights Law Review and received the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Prize—awarded annually to J.D. degree candidates who earned James Kent academic honors for all three years of law school—at Graduation.
Franklin’s Supreme Court clerkship will build on her previous clerkship experiences: first, for Judge Jesse M. Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then for Judge Susan L. Carney of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Prior to that, she served as a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Lena Husani Hughes ’12
Hughes is no stranger to Washington, D.C. From 2015–2016, she served as a Bristow Fellow for the U.S. Justice Department in the Office of the Solicitor General. While there, Hughes assisted a team of attorneys led by then U.S. Solicitor General Don Verrilli Jr. ’83 in drafting briefs in opposition to certiorari filed against the government in the Supreme Court; preparing petitions for certiorari and briefs on the merits; preparing recommendations regarding authorization of government appeals in the lower courts; and assisting in the preparation of oral arguments.
She isn’t a stranger to the clerkship experience, either. Hughes previously served as a clerk to Professor Gerard E. Lynch ’75, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, and to Judge Denise Cote ’75 of the Southern District of New York. She was also an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell.
While at the Law School, Hughes served as articles editor for the Columbia Law Review. At Graduation, she also received the Ginsburg Prize, as well as the Wilfred Feinberg Prize, which is awarded to the student who does the best work in an area related to federal courts.
Sarah Hartman Sloan ’16
Sloan, who received her undergraduate degree from Yale, recently completed a stint as a law clerk to Judge Michelle Friedland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and currently serves as a clerk to Judge Alison Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“I have loved my clerkship experiences so far,” she said recently. “It is exciting to work on different types of cases and to witness different styles of lawyering.”
Also a winner of the Ginsburg Prize, Sloan was an editor for the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. She was a Student Public Interest Network (SPIN) buddy as well, helping to mentor first-year students interested in public interest careers, classes, and activities. In addition, Sloan interned at the Adolescent Intervention and Diversion Project in The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Practice.
Alyssa Barnard ’15
“I am, of course, honored and excited to clerk for Justice Ginsburg,” Barnard said recently. “It would have been enough to have simply shared a conversation with her during the interview, when she could not have been more gracious and sincere. The thought of spending a year clerking for her is beyond words.”
Barnard graduated first in her class from the Law School, earning the Feinberg and Ginsburg prizes. While a student, she participated in the Domestic Violence Prosecution Externship at the Queen’s District Attorney’s Office and prosecuted several misdemeanor domestic violence cases. She also served as executive notes editor of the Columbia Law Review and participated in the European Law Moot Court team.
Like Franklin, Hughes, and Sloan, Barnard, who graduated from Fordham University, has pursued two other clerkship opportunities, first for Judge Robert A. Katzmann, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, and then for Judge Alison J. Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She currently serves as an associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in New York City.
Posted on Septemeber 29, 2017