Recent Grads, Law Student Secure Prestigious Placements with Delaware Judiciary
For students of corporate law, the state of Delaware is the most coveted location in which to be a law clerk. More than half of the Fortune 500 companies and about 60 percent of companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange are incorporated there. Companies are drawn to the state partly because of its unique court system, which consists of a Court of Chancery with special expertise in corporate matters like mergers, acquisitions, and shareholder suits and a Supreme Court with similar expertise.
“Delaware is the center of corporate law, and the Delaware judiciary is one of the most well respected in the country,” says Hillary Sale, the Walter D. Coles Professor of Law and professor of management. “Receiving a Delaware clerkship means that our students and recent graduates, in addition to gaining hands-on experience in corporate law, will be interacting with judges and corporate lawyers on a daily basis.”
As a result, Delaware corporate judicial clerkships are especially competitive—which makes it all the more impressive that three Washington University School of Law students have recently secured Delaware clerkships, and one is headed for an externship after working in a firm this summer. Zach Greenberg, JD ’13, clerked for Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron T. Steele before Steele’s retirement in 2013. Greenberg then clerked for Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy J. Holland. Andrew Blumberg, JD/MBA ’14, is clerking for Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard. Second-year law student John Gauthier will be an extern this fall for Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons, Jr., and Mandy Stein, JD ’14, will clerk for Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock. Glasscock taught a weekend course, Problems in Corporate Law, at the law school this past spring, and both Holland and Parsons are adjunct faculty members at the law school. Indeed, all three members of the judiciary will teach at the law school in the 2014-15 academic year.
Blumberg, who hopes to ultimately practice corporate law in Delaware, says he was drawn to the clerkship because of the reputation of the Delaware judges in corporate law. In an earlier externship with Holland, he gained experience writing memoranda, which he will be doing for Bouchard. “The relationship that I built with Justice Holland played a part in securing my clerkship with Chancellor Bouchard,” he says, adding that taking Glasscock’s Problems in Corporate Law refreshed his understanding of corporate law and the complex issues before the Court of Chancery.
Gauthier says the chance to extern for a Delaware vice chancellor for a semester is an incredible learning opportunity that he could not pass up. He observes, “Because of Delaware's importance to corporate law in America, its courts are on the cutting edge of corporate issues.” Gauthier interned for Judge Audrey G. Fleissig, JD ’80, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri last summer, and he is a research assistant for Sale. This summer he is working at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in New York City. After his externship this fall, he will return to St. Louis to finish law school, and then he plans to return to New York.
Like Gauthier, Stein has worked as a research assistant with Sale. In fact, she traveled to New York with her for a meeting of DirectWomen, an organization dedicated to educating women attorneys about public company boards. Stein spent the summer between her second and third years in law school working at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York City. She also met Glasscock at his Problems in Corporate Law class, and she will work with him in his Georgetown, Delaware, office, commuting to Wilmington as needed.
In addition to Sale, Stein credits Charles Burson, senior lecturer in law, with piquing her interest in corporate law. “His experience as general counsel at Monsanto and his work in the White House gave me a very practical, hands-on understanding of corporate law,” she says.
Blumberg, Gauthier, and Stein can look to Delaware veteran Greenberg for advice on making the most of their clerkships. “You will find that many of the cases you deal with garner national headlines,” he says. “Take the time to soak it all in, attend a Supreme Court appeal if you have the chance, and go to a Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance event, especially if your judge is giving a lecture.”
Greenberg, who will join Greenberg Traurig LLP (no relation) in Phoenix at the end of his clerkship with the Delaware Supreme Court, also encourages clerks to voice their opinions. “Don’t be afraid to challenge your judge—part of your role is to sniff out the flaws and inconsistencies in parties’ arguments. Though the judge will not always adopt your view, he or she will appreciate your perspective,” he says.
Timothy J. Fox, Spring 2014