Harvard Law students can aim higher than clerking for Trump judges

An entrance to a building at Harvard Law School.
An entrance to a building at Harvard Law School.Steven Senne/Associated Press

With an incoming class of 12 Fulbright scholars, five Rhodes scholars, and one “Survivor” contestant, Harvard Law students hardly need to be reminded to compete for prestigious opportunities. We are all type A enough, thank you. Yet Harvard Law School’s Office of Career Services recently scolded students for not applying for clerkships with Trump-appointed judges, and urged students to remedy these “wasted opportunities” (“Some at Harvard Law balk on Trump judges,” Page A1, Jan. 10).

Yale Law School received widespread criticism for encouraging students to clerk for Judge Alex Kozinski, whose reputation for being accused of workplace sexual harassment was known to professors, so I was surprised by Harvard’s misguided nudge. Several of these judges are staunchly opposed to LGBTQ rights, lack trial experience, and have been rebuked by the legal profession at large. Should I be encouraged to work for someone with whom I disagree? Maybe. Do I want to clerk for a judge who has received a rating of “not qualified” by the American Bar Association? No. Legal expertise should not be sacrificed for diversity of thought or prestige.


If all third-year Harvard Law students forgo working for judges appointed by President Trump, let that be a testament to the legal professionalism and ethics we are studying.

Gina Starfield


The writer is a first-year student at Harvard Law School.