Monday, October 10, 2022

14 federal judges are now saying they will not hire Yale Law graduates

The Blog Emperor has details.  I think Professor Kerr is correct that this is not appropriate, and I might add that it smacks of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, insofar as the judges are promising to punish students who choose Yale because they reject these judges' view of the free speech issues.

The irony, of course, is that there are federal judges who don't hire Yale Law graduates because of the perception that Yale doesn't do a good job teaching the students law.   Judge Posner, who did hire Yale (and Chicago and Harvard) graduates, once recommended one of his former clerks to me as follows:  "He was a very good clerk despite going to Yale."  That was funny, but the implication was obvious, and I've talked to other judges over the years whose skepticism goes farther.  Not hiringg Yale Law grads for this reason is, of course, permissible.

I'll share an amusing anecdote from many years ago, when I was invited to be a visiting professor at Yale.  At that time, my wife had decided to go to law school, and I postponed my visit one year, so that she could do her first year of law school at the University of Texas at Austin, where I was then teaching.  She wanted to be a practitioner, and I was confident the first year at Texas  would be more fruitful for her than at Yale, as it was and as she came to agree.  She had some very good classes, to be sure, during her second year, at Yale, while I was visiting (international law with Koh, and tax with Alstott stand out in my memory).  Because Yale is small and so highly selective, some of the oddities of the instructional program (and the absence of grades), as it were, don't matter:  very able students will succeed and, as Judge Posner quipped, become very good clerks notwithstanding....

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