Three University of Chicago Law School alumni will clerk on the US Supreme Court during the October 2023 Term. Sakina Haji, ’21, will clerk for Chief Justice John Roberts; Matt Pociask, ’20, will clerk for Justice Amy Coney Barrett; and John Tienken, ’18, will clerk for Justice Neil Gorsuch.
“It’s a great honor for the Law School to have our graduates clerking on the Supreme Court,” said William Hubbard, ’00, Deputy Dean and Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law.
Haji previously clerked for Judge Kevin Newsom of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. At the Law School, she was a Kirkland & Ellis Scholar, the articles editor for The University of Chicago Law Review, and a member of the Order of the Coif, the Federalist Society, the Law Women’s Caucus, and the Muslim Law Students’ Association. Haji also won the Joseph Henry Beale Prize for outstanding work in legal research and writing, and the Phil C. Neale Memorial Award.
“I am so happy for our alums like Sakina, who contributed so much to the intellectual life of the Law School as students,” said Hubbard. “It was not long after taking civil procedure as a 1L that Sakina was helping me edit my civil procedure casebook as a research assistant.”
Pociask is returning to clerk for Justice Amy Coney Barrett after clerking for her briefly from August to October in 2020, while she sat in the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. After Barrett was elevated to the Supreme Court, Pociask went to clerk for Judge Amul R. Thapar of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Gregory Katsas of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
At the Law School, Pociask was a Kirkland & Ellis Scholar, president of the Federalist Society, student director of the Corporate Lab Clinic—where he received the Corporate Lab Award of Excellence—and a member of the Order of the Coif. He graduated from the Law School with High Honors. “I have immense pride in being an alumnus of the Law School,” said Pociask.
Tienken, who also graduated from the Law School with High Honors, was an associate at Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, in Washington, D.C. Before that, he clerked for Judge Andrew S. Oldham of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Judge Amul R. Thapar of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
At the Law School, Tienken was a Patiño Fellow, a Kirkland & Ellis Scholar, a member of the Order of the Coif, the managing online editor for The University of Chicago Law Review, the external vice president of the Federalist Society, the vice president of the Chicago Law Foundation, and a member of the University Guild of Carillonneurs. Tienken also earned the Dean’s Award and the Thomas R. Mulroy Prize for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy.
"During my time at the Law School, I was so fortunate to develop relationships with members of the faculty who have become enduring mentors to me,” said Tienken. “It’s not just what I learned in their classes that have prepared me for my career, it is their shared wisdom.”
The Law School has had at least one graduate clerking on the Supreme Court for at least part of every term since 1972, and in 41 of the past 51 years, two or more clerks on the Supreme Court have been alumni of the Law School.