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News Posted on February 26, 2016

Class of 2016 Students Secure Prestigious Clerkships

Eleven members of the UC Davis School of Law Class of 2016 have secured judicial clerkships in prestigious state and federal courts, following in the footsteps of recent graduates now serving in the New York Supreme Court, Nevada State Supreme Court, Alaska State Supreme Court, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, and elsewhere.

Judicial clerkships, which allow recipients to research cases before the court and help judges to write decisions, are among the most sought-after jobs for new law graduates.  Competition to fill top positions is intense, and offers to outstanding prospects are often made well before graduation.  Current students who have accepted clerkship positions and the judges they will work with include:

  • Hope Alley '16: Judge Sharon Gleason '83, U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska (Anchorage, Alaska)
  • Cynthia Cheung '16: Justice John Manglona, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Supreme Court (Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands)
  • Andrea Gonzales '16: Judge Vanessa White, Alaska State Superior Court (Palmer, Alaska)
  • Meredith Hankins '16: Justice Michael Wilson, Hawaii Supreme Court (Honolulu, Hawaii)
  • Hallie Kiernan '16: Judge Troy Nunley, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento, California)
  • Jose Mafnas '16: Research Attorney for the Superior Court of Guam (Hagatna, Guam)
  • Laura Pederson '16: Judge Mary Beck Briscoe of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (Lawrence, Kansas)
  • Niall Roberts '16: Judge Vince Chhabria, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco, California), to be followed by a clerkship with Judge Marsha Berzon, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco, California)
  • Kanu Song '16: Judge William Alsup, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco, California)
  • Rebecca Vorpe '16: Judge Richard Clark, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges (San Francisco, California)
  • Abby Wolf '16: Judge Joseph Robert Goodwin, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Charleston, West Virginia)
  • Lauren Woods '16: Judge Deborah Thorne, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago, Illinois)

Hope AlleyHope Alley said that she was encouraged to apply for her clerkship by Natalie Butcher, Associate Director of Career Services and Judicial Clerkships at King Hall, who said the experience of working directly with a judge could prove invaluable as she pursued her intended career path in criminal defense. She discussed the possibility with her Criminal Procedure professor, Visiting Lecturer Daniel Broderick, who said that his experience clerking for U.S. District Judge Malcolm Lucas in the Central District of California had been vital to his success during more than 20 years with the Federal Defender's Office in Sacramento, including six years as Federal Defender for the Eastern District of California.

"He said it was one of the more valuable experiences he'd had, because you learn to read the law and present the law in a way that's going to be persuasive to a judge, and that's something you're going to have to do as an attorney no matter what field you go into," said Alley. "Because I want to be as effective an advocate as I can possibly be, I decided it was something I needed to do."

Alley, who became interested in criminal defense after working with federal prisoners as an ACLU intern in Colorado, chose UC Davis School of Law in part because its reputation for excellence in public service. Since arriving at King Hall, she has spent summers working with the Federal Defender in Sacramento and the Public Defender in Colorado. She said she looked forward to serving her clerkship at the U.S. District Court of Alaska before going into her criminal defense practice.

"I was hoping to go somewhere that would be kind of an adventure," she said. "You don't have to be barred in a state to clerk there, so it's an opportunity to go someplace new, even if you don't necessarily intend to practice there. I'm excited about seeing Alaska for the first time, and I'm confident the experience is going to help me be the best advocate I can be."