Protecting Law Clerks from Harassment

Judicial clerkships are typically characterized as an unadulterated good—lifelong mentor-mentee relationships between judges and law clerks that confer professional benefits. But little information exists to help law students identify positive work environments and avoid judges who mistreat their clerks.

At the Legal Accountability Project, Aliza Shatzman works to ensure that law clerks have positive clerkship experiences, and to provide resources to those who do not. In this conversation, Aliza describes her personal experiences with gender discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by a former DC Judge. Aliza also explains how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not extend to federal judicial employees, the need for greater diversity within judicial chambers, and the work LAP is doing to support greater judicial accountability.

The DEI Podcast with Max Gaston is sponsored by Notre Dame Law School and co-sponsored on ThinkND by the Black Alumni of Notre Dame, the Alumni Rainbow Community of Notre Dame (ARC ND), YoungND, Native American Alumni, Notre Dame Women Connect, Hispanic Alumni of Notre Dame, Notre Dame Senior Alumni, and Asian Pacific Alumni of Notre Dame. Register to receive emails about upcoming episodes of The DEI Podcast.

Topics covered with timestamps:

· 3:01 – Discussing what clerkships are, how they are messaged, and how students go about getting clerkships.

· 8:23 – Aliza discusses her experience with harassment and mistreatment during her judicial clerkship and the reputational harm inflicted on her by her former judge following her clerkship.

· 13:11 – Discussing the power disparity between judges and law clerks and how that disparity and the threat of retribution and reputational harm makes it difficult for law clerks to speak out in the face of mistreatment.

· 17:17 – Discussing the mental health consequences for judicial law clerks who are mistreated by judges.

· 19:32 – Aliza explains how she went on to found the Legal Accountability Project following her negative clerkship experience.

· 22:22 – Discussing the problem of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act not extending to federal judicial employees and the role Law Schools can play in protecting students who will go on to be law clerks.

· 30:55 – Discussing the importance of judicial ethics and the state of the judiciary overall regarding ethics and accountability.

· 34:04 – Aliza discusses the centralized clerkships database being developed by the Legal Accountability Project—tech that democratizes information about judges so law students have more information about judges before making decisions on where to clerk.

· 37:39 – Discussing the lack of diversity in judicial chambers and the hiring practices of judges as reported in the recent publication, Law Clerk Selection and Diversity: Insights From Fifty Sitting Judges of the Federal Courts of Appeals.

· 43:27 – Aliza discusses the benefits of diversity in judicial chambers to support fair and equitable legal problem solving.

· 46:24 – Discussing the role of judges in judicial reform and the work of the Legal Accountability Project.

BusinessHealth and SocietyLaw and PoliticsDEIJudicial ClerkshipsLegal Accountability ProjectMax GastonSocial JusticeThe Law SchoolTitle VII of the Civil Rights ActUniversity of Notre Dame

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