By Emma Coleman Jordan
Today's NYT provides a look at the clerkship hiring records of the Justices. Linda Greenhouse reports that although women represented almost 50% of law school graduates in 2005,only 7 of the 37 clerkships went to women for the 2006-7 term that begins on October 2. The coming term will be the first time since 1994 that the number of women clerks has been in the single digits.
In a review of the number of women hired by each Justice in the seven hiring periods since 2000, the Times rank orders the Justices as follows.
Faculty have been working very hard over the last few weeks to provide letters of recommendation to judges at every level. Do we have a role in reducing the number of women who are recommended for "feeder" Circuit clerkships? What role do faculty play in seeking out and mentoring our most able women to participate in the clerkship tournament? Are the number of women law school graduates declining enough to produce this effect? Is this just a statistical anomaly? What are the major factors responsible for this decline in the number of women who have the opportunity to serve in these highly coveted, career-shaping jobs?