Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas has selected Jenn Bandy ’12 as a clerk for the 2014-2015 term. Bandy is the eighth Duke Law graduate to be chosen for a Supreme Court clerkship since 2010.
“It’s like being struck by lightning,” Bandy said of being offered the clerkship. “There are so many qualified people applying, and it just has to be the right fit at the right time with a healthy dose of luck. I felt really lucky. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about Justice Thomas as a boss, as someone who’s really invested in his clerks, and I have extraordinary respect for him as a jurist.”
Bandy spoke with two fellow Duke Law graduates who Thomas also selected as clerks – Allison Jones ’07, who clerked for him during the 2010-2011 term, and Katie Yarger ’08, who is currently clerking for him.
“They helped me a lot in preparing for my interview and just giving me advice about the process,” Bandy said.
Bandy spent last year clerking for Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Birmingham, Ala.
“I learned a lot from him,” Bandy said of her time with Judge Pryor. “He is an excellent judge. He really cares about producing thoughtful written opinions but doing so in a minimalist fashion. He never reaches out and decides an issue that is not necessary to the decision, and he is incredibly thoughtful, kind, and encouraging. I couldn’t have asked for a better clerkship experience.”
Bandy said an appealing aspect of clerking is the variety of work involved.
“You get to dabble in so many areas of law,” she said. “It’s exciting to see the way the issues are presented and shaped for appeal. In law school, you can see what the most interesting issue is, but in an appellate clerkship you face the issue as it’s presented to you — whether it was correctly argued and preserved for appeal below, and how it’s been briefed and argued to the court.”
Following her clerkship with Judge Pryor, Bandy joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Washington, D.C., where she worked during her 2L summer.
“Spending some time in private practice has been exceptionally valuable for me,” Bandy said. “I’ve appreciated the opportunity to learn from so many wonderful lawyers at the firm about writing and crafting arguments. I’m particularly grateful for the opportunity to work with Chris Landau, the head of Kirkland’s appellate practice, who has been a mentor to me since my first summer with the firm.”
As a student at Duke Law, Bandy was executive editor of the Duke Law Journal, a Guardian ad Litem in Durham County, and a research assistant to Professors Guy-Uriel Charles and Ernest Young. As a 3L, she shared the faculty award for outstanding achievement in the area of constitutional law and civil rights law.
“Jenn was an outstanding student: hard-working, careful, articulate, and exceptionally bright,” said Professor Lisa Kern Griffin. “She has a lively mind and welcomes a challenge. We are proud of her accomplishments and confident that she will be a stellar clerk, and that the experience will enrich and inform her legal career.”
“This is wonderful news about Jenn,” said Dean David F. Levi. “She was a star student at Duke and worked hard to earn this terrific opportunity. Her year with Justice Thomas will be the experience of a lifetime. I’m very proud of these eight students and what their success, focus, and achievement say about the quality of our entire student body at Duke Law.”