University of New Hampshire Law Review


[Excerpt] “In a previous article, I examined judicial opinions in cases in which law clerks have gone wild, principally by doing things that law clerks just aren‘t supposed to do, such as convening court, conducting independent factual investigations into matters before their judges, or leaking drafts of opinions to the press. Here, I focus on opinions in federal cases that discuss two other categories of unusual law-clerk activity, serving as a source of evidence, and going to court, as a litigant.

The article is informed by my ten years of experience as a trial court law clerk in the state and federal courts of New Hampshire. Things that caught my eye, and made it into the article, are incidents I read about in judicial opinions that struck me as very different from anything I had ever seen or heard about through the law-clerk grapevine. My purpose is two-fold. First, many of the opinions I discuss are downright entertaining. But beyond that, the unusual fact patterns that make those opinions entertaining also serve to point out things that might happen to a law clerk that are not covered in law school or the typical law-clerk training program. Accordingly, I intend for the article to have a practical dimension that underpins its entertainment value.

In Part II, I explore opinions in which law clerks have become sources of evidence in cases they were working on, as producers of exhibits, as affiants, or as witnesses. In discussing those opinions, I focus on both the process by which law clerks have become sources of evidence and the topics on which they have been asked to give evidence. Part III is devoted to cases in which law clerks have been litigants, and it serves as a guide to situations in which litigation is, and is not, a productive option for a law clerk who believes that he or she has been wronged.”

Repository Citation

Parker B. Potter, Jr. , Law Clerks Out of Context, 9 U.N.H. L. REV. 67 (2010), available at http://scholars.unh.edu/unh_lr/vol9/iss1/6