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SELLING A 'PRICELESS' EXPERIENCE
BY JENNIFER BALDINO BONETT
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Ruger, a member of the Clerkship Committee, held a clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and encourages students to consider geography and career goals as they apply: Where might they practice as lawyers? What type of law and what type of court appeal to them?

For Sigal Mandelker L'00, that court was the U.S. Supreme Court. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain an insider’s perspective into the nation’s highest court," says Mandelker, who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas in 2001-02. "I loved it. Justice Thomas was an incredible mentor."

Like most — if not all — U.S. Supreme Court clerks, Mandelker held a Court of Appeals clerkship before clerking with Justice Thomas. She clerked for Judge Edith Jones on the Fifth Circuit. As with Justice Thomas, clerking for Judge Jones provided an important opportunity to significantly enhance her legal skills. She has maintained close relationships with both judges and they have both helped guide her career. Having held several high-level attorney posts in the U.S. government, Mandelker is now a counselor to Michael Chertoff, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

Even so, she says, her U.S. Supreme Court clerkship will always be the pinnacle of her career. Mandelker and her three fellow clerks would join Justice Thomas in clerk conferences to discuss every case. "Everything you worked on...was important. Even a case that might not appear as interesting on the surface was exciting because of its national impact."
 
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