Four Columbia Law School Graduates Awarded Prestigious U.S. Supreme Court Clerkships

Z. Payvand Ahdout '13, Jonathan A. Berry '11, Tejas Narechania '11, and Samuel P. Rothschild '13 Will Serve as Clerks for Justices at the High Court

New York, April 17, 2015—Few attorneys ever have the chance to clerk for a U.S. Supreme Court justice, a highly coveted role at the nation’s top appellate court that can be the launching pad for a successful career. This year, four recent Columbia Law School graduates will have that opportunity after being awarded clerkships for the high court’s October 2015 term.

Z. Payvand Ahdout ’13 will work for fellow Columbia Law School alumna Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59; Jonathan A. Berry ’11 will serve in the chambers of Justice Samuel Alito; Tejas Narechania ’11 will clerk for Justice Stephen G. Breyer; and Samuel P. Rothschild ’13 has been hired by retired Justice David H. Souter.
All four graduates have distinguished themselves in the early years of their careers, including with other federal clerkships.
(l-r) Columbia Law School graduates Z. Payvand Ahdout '13, Jonathan A. Berry '11, Tejas Narechania '11, and Samuel P. Rothschild '13 will clerk for U.S. Supreme Court justices during the October 2015 term.
Ahdout currently serves as one of four Bristow Fellows in the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Solicitor General, working under alumnus and U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. ’83. Immediately after graduation, Ahdout clerked for Judge Debra Ann Livingston of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. At the Law School, Ahdout was one of just five 2013 graduates awarded the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Prize for earning James Kent academic honors for outstanding achievement in each of her three years at the Law School. Now, she’ll serve under the woman for whom the prize is named.
After graduating in 2011, Berry served as a clerk to Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Since then he has worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Jones Day, focusing on complex civil litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, including the Supreme Court challenge to Affordable Care Act health-insurance subsidies. In December 2012, Forbes named Berry to its “30 Under 30: Law & Policy List,” noting his work as a legal adviser to the Romney campaign and his founding role in a pro-life student group at the Law School. Berry was president of the Law School’s Federalist Society chapter, which won National Chapter of the Year in 2011, and was one of two students in his graduating class to win the E.B. Convers Prize for best original essay on a legal subject.
Berry’s co-honoree for the E.B. Convers Prize was Narechania, who works as a research fellow in Columbia Law School’s Julius Silver Program in Law, Science, and Technology. Previously, he clerked for Judge Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. From 2012 to 2013, he served as special counsel at the Federal Communications Commission where he held primary responsibility for matters relating to the commission’s net neutrality rules. Narechania also received the Ruth Bader Ginsburg prize for earning James Kent outstanding academic achievement in each of his three years.
Rothschild was honored during his time at the Law School with the Charles Bathgate Beck Prize, which is awarded annually to students who submit the best examination paper on the law of real property, and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg prize. After graduating, he clerked for Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He is now clerking for Judge Denise Cote ’75 of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Columbia Law School consistently places students and alumni in federal and state court clerkships, ranging from the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit and district courts to a broad array of state and specialty courts.