Lungren Bill to Provide Congressional Clerkships for Law School Graduates
Dean Larry Kramer was singled out on the floor of the United States House of Representatives for his role in spearheading H.R. 6475, the Daniel Webster Congressional Clerkship program, which will create clerkships for law school graduates and which passed in the House September 9, 2008. The bipartisan bill was cosponsored by Congressman Dan Lungren and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.
Congressman Lungren's Office issued this news release and video of his comments on the House floor, in which he quotes Dean Kramer:
“Larry Kramer, Dean of Stanford’s Law school, and I shared our concern that the concept of popular sovereignty, the foundation of our Constitutional democracy, has been giving way to a highly court-centered view of law and the legal system,” Lungren said.
Currently, both the judicial and executive branches have well-established programs that attract highly talented law students. Judicial clerkships, in particular, offer both prestige and practical legal experience for such students. Only the Congress does not – yet – have a comparable program.
According to Dean Kramer, “Clerking for a trial or appellate judge provides young lawyers with an invaluable insider’s understanding of the judicial decision-making process. And precisely because these are the top law school graduates, former law clerks go on disproportionately to assume leadership positions in the bar and in the profession—explaining in part why the legal profession in this country is so heavily tilted toward the courts.”
"Providing young lawyers with the opportunity to work in the Congress will do much to elevate the stature of the legislative branch in the larger context of the legal system. While not detracting in any way from the prestige of the judicial clerkship program, it is only appropriate that the popularly elected branch of government should likewise cultivate a greater awareness of its inner workings with this and future generations of lawyers,” Lungren added.
“These will be highly competitive positions that will attract graduates of the same caliber as those currently vying for judicial clerkships. Not only will congressional clerks gain invaluable experience and knowledge about the legislative process, but they will then move into other leadership positions, bringing that understanding of the workings of Congress to bear as they progress in their careers, whether within the legislature or elsewhere.”