Monday, February 02, 2015

Supreme Court Law Clerks

A paper I wrote on the institution of the law clerkship on the Supreme Court of India was published in the International Journal of the Legal Profession, and is now available for free online. A draft of the paper had earlier been posted on SSRN as part of the Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession Research Paper Series. An earlier post about this on LAOT is available here. Here's an abstract of the paper:

"Since the 1990s, judges of the Supreme Court of India have hired law clerks to help them perform some of their routine tasks. However, while clerkships on the U.S. Supreme Court are considered very prestigious and are extensively written about, clerkships on India's Supreme Court are considered to be of significantly lower value by the local legal profession and teaching market in India. Instead, ironically, clerkships on the Supreme Court of India are often pursued by students interested in getting an advanced law degree (usually an LL.M.) at a U.S. law school. Relying on interviews conducted with law clerks and interns who have served on the Supreme Court of India, and using India as a case study, this paper argues that ambitious Indian law students are adopting strategies to “Americanize” themselves in order to culturally arbitrage U.S. law schools' misunderstandings of the global legal profession."

Interestingly, there's now a detailed "scheme" for hiring law clerks at the Supreme Court. 
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