Academic journal article Albany Law Review

Clerking for the Chief

Academic journal article Albany Law Review

Clerking for the Chief

Article excerpt

Once, shortly after I began my clerkship with Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, at a gathering of people waiting to hear the Chief Judge deliver a speech, a very friendly gentleman approached me. The conversation was a quick and jovial one, and it went something like this:

"So, you're clerking, that's great! How long have you known Johnny!?"

"Not long enough to call him 'Johnny,' I assure you!" I jokingly replied.

"Ha ha, that's true! You're very lucky, and you'll learn a lot. He's a great man."

Of course, those familiar with the Chief know that--on all counts--he could not have been more correct.

Many have written and spoken in praise of Judge Lippman's exceptional character, wisdom, and judgment, and in that regard I echo the entirely deserved superlatives others have employed in chronicling his impactful career. In particular, it is difficult to imagine how anyone could have a temperament more suited for the Chief Judge role; he is rightly celebrated, and all New Yorkers are lucky to have him at the head of our judiciary. I, however, am only qualified to make a modest contribution to the material concerning Chief Judge Lippman, and I take great joy in making it: I will add very briefly what it is like to clerk for the Chief.

As he does so graciously outside of chambers, likewise within chambers Chief Judge Lippman leads by example. On both professional and personal levels, he is attentive to and respectful of everyone he comes into contact with and, in turn, those around him naturally carry themselves in accordance. Chambers is a constructive, dynamic, and always engaging place to work in which people are efficient and productive as they take great care in preparing for the upcoming term's cases and addressing the Court's daily issues. (1) Judge Lippman's approach and the results he garners from his team represent a victory for those who believe a truly talented leader is one who is both respected and loved. …

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