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Clerkships dominate the conversation at 2022 Jurist-in-Residence visit

Leslie Ridgeway • May 17, 2022
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Hon. Adalberto Jordan, U.S. Court of Appeals, brings expertise to USC Gould

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Jurist-in-Residence program resumed in March with Hon. Adalberto Jordan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Miami, Fla., sharing his experience and expertise with students and faculty at the USC Gould School of Law.

The program, developed in 2018 by Dean Andrew Guzman, offers students and faculty an opportunity to hear from and meet with prominent judges both in and outside the classroom. While at USC Gould, Judge Jordan delivered a talk on “The Importance of the Oral Argument,” attended a Constitutional Rights Law course taught by Professor Daria Roithmayr and an Advanced Legal Writing class taught by Professor Sue Wright, and met with students for lunch and coffee – and a lot of discussion about clerkships.

“Clerkships were the overarching theme [of the visit],” said Judge Jordan, who served clerkships with Judge Thomas Alonzo Clark, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, Ga., and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. “They asked what goes into clerkship hiring, how I make decisions, what I am looking for, and how I distinguish between the top students. I told them what they can do to make their applications more competitive, what classes they should take if they’re planning to do a clerkship, and where they should apply.”

He enhanced that last piece of advice by recommending that students, many of whom prefer to stay closer to home for their clerkships, broaden their opportunities and consider less preferable, yet livable, locations.

“If your personal circumstances allow it, apply as far and wide as you are allowed,” he said. “It’s worth living almost anywhere for one year. And if you are applying for a clerkship in Omaha, there will be less competition than for a larger city. Don’t ignore those possibilities, even if you intend to come back to Southern California.”

Though it was a long wait before the visit happened, Judge Jordan said it was well worth it, having become familiar with USC Gould’s stellar reputation by reading through materials ranking law schools as a member of the Dean’s advisory board at the University of Miami, where he is also an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law.

Having participated in a couple of Jurist-in-Residence programs at other law schools, Judge Jordan said he appreciated the two-day length, which provided plenty of time for conversation with students, as well as a tour of the USC campus.

Judge Jordan said he’ll take good memories of the visit back to Miami.

“The students I met with were nice and good people who seemed to be very serious about what they were doing and had a real appreciation for the law school,” he said. “Everyone has shown wonderful hospitality, and thought and care to make sure everything was taken care of.”

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