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Stanford Clinic Scores Supreme Success

Publication Date: 
July 07, 2008
California Lawyer
Brett Kendall

The Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic is the subject of a California Lawyer article that quotes Pam Karlan and notes Jeff Fisher and Tommy Goldstein:

"Everyone is working at 125 percent capacity right now," says Pamela Karlan, the clinic's codirector.

Karlan cofounded the clinic with veteran Supreme Court advocate Thomas Goldstein of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, D.C., and in 2006 added a second professor, Jeffrey Fisher, with significant Supreme Court experience. Fisher, a rising talent in the Supreme Court bar, came to the clinic with two landmark criminal-law victories under his belt: Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), which strengthened a defendant's right to confront his accusers in court, and Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), which barred judges from increasing a criminal's sentence based on facts not found by a jury.


The clinic's 15 students play an important role too, acting as much more than research assistants, according to Karlan. "We're trying to have them actually lawyer the cases," she says, noting that students do substantial work on writing briefs and preparing for arguments.

In fact, Karlan hopes to persuade the high court to change a rule that bars students from being identified in the clinic's legal filings. "The students," she says, "do so much of the work that they deserve to hold up a copy of the brief and say, 'There's my name.' "