George Mason Supreme Court Clinic Featured in WaPo

February 28th, 2012

A very nice piece:

George Mason University law student Matthew Long still has three months of schoolwork before graduation, but this week he and two classmates had a case before the Supreme Court.

The group of students is part of a new class dedicated to Supreme Court work at the Fairfax, Va., school. Nationwide, more than a half dozen law schools offer similar courses.

The students don’t get to argue the cases. They aren’t even lawyers yet. But students participating in the so-called Supreme Court clinics get to do everything else: research issues, draft briefs and consult with the lawyer actually presenting the case to the high court.

Each clinic is supervised, usually by a professor or a lawyer at a firm with extensive Supreme Court experience. Students, for their part, may work to identify lower court cases that they believe the Supreme Court will be interested in reviewing. When a clinic takes a case, students may then draft petitions asking the court to hear the case and, if the case is accepted, research and help craft legal briefs for the court.

“One thing we’ve told students from the very start is, ‘You should approach this like a job,’” said Thomas McCarthy, a partner at a Washington law firm who graduated from George Mason and now oversees its clinic with a colleague, William Consovoy.

And a quotation from my smurf!

Corey Carpenter, 25, one of the students involved in George Mason’s clinic, said he does see one potential downside in participating in the clinic: going back to ordinary cases after getting a taste of the Supreme Court.