Three recent Law School graduates, Krista Perry, ’16, Nick Harper, ’15, and Gilbert Dickey, ’12, have earned clerkships on the US Supreme Court beginning in October. Perry and Harper will clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Dickey will clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas.
“We are tremendously proud of Krista, Nick, and Gilbert,” said Dean Thomas J. Miles, the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics. “They will be outstanding clerks on the Supreme Court, and their accomplishments are a testament to the extraordinary students we have here at the Law School.”
Perry, who is currently clerking on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for Judge William H. Pryor Jr., said she was excited to learn that two other Law School graduates will be clerking on the same term.
“I am so thrilled, and I’m incredibly grateful for all of the people at the Law School who helped make it happen,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to doing valuable, interesting work for such a good man and conscientious jurist.”
As a student, Perry was Topic Access Editor of the Law Review, served as president of the Federalist Society, participated in the Edward W. Hinton Moot Court Competition, and worked as a research assistant for Senior Lecturer Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Law.
Senior Lecturer Dennis Hutchinson, chair of the Law School’s Clerkship Committee, said that Perry couldn’t be more deserving of the clerkship.
“Krista is one of the most impressive students I have taught in the last several years,” he said. “In class, she always listened and responded carefully, and between serving on the Law Review, being president of the Federalist Society, and being an active member of the Law School community, she was just an all-around fantastic student.”
Nick Harper currently works in the Appellate Group at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Washington, DC. He found out that he would be clerking for Kennedy on the same day that he interviewed.
"Justice Kennedy is a brilliant jurist, and from what I’ve heard from his previous clerks, he’s also a very caring and thoughtful person,” Harper said. “I’m really looking forward to learning from a justice who has such a broad range of legal knowledge and experience. And now that I found out that Krista is going to be there, I’m even more excited.”
Harper is grateful for the Law School’s continuing emphasis on the Socratic Method, which he hopes will prepare him for hashing out difficult issues and engaging in rapid-fire legal analysis during his clerkship. William Baude, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Law, taught Harper in his Federal Courts course and said that Harper was an incredibly quick study who within weeks of learning about a new legal subject could master it completely.
“Nick is one of the strongest students in the history of the Law School, and yet has such an easygoing, mature demeanor that you might miss it,” Baude said. “His judgment and intellectual firepower are a perfect fit for the job of a Supreme Court law clerk.”
Harper—who participated in the Federalist Society, was Comments Editor on the Law Review, and was a member of Amicus—is especially excited to confront the unique hurdles that clerking on the Supreme Court will offer.
“I'm excited to grapple with extremely difficult and important legal issues, and I'm hoping to learn how the Supreme Court's unique institutional role affects the way legal issues are presented and analyzed,” he said. “It's going to be a completely different challenge, and that's something I'm really looking forward to.”
Dickey secured his clerkship with Thomas shortly after he interviewed, and said that when he found out, “it was really incredible—it’s a great opportunity that I never expected I would have, and it was just an amazing day.”
Like Perry, Dickey also clerked for Pryor after graduating from the Law School. Afterward, he worked for a private firm in Birmingham, Alabama, and currently is an assistant attorney general in West Virginia.
“I remember when I was at the Law School, I would read some of Justice Thomas’ opinions for class,” he said, “and I always found him to be a very thoughtful and principled jurist. I am really excited to see first-hand how he works through a case and to learn from him.”
As a student, Dickey participated in the Hinton Moot Court Competition, was an officer in the Federalist Society, and was a member of the Edmund Burke Society as well as the Christian Legal Society. Looking back on his time as a student, he remembers the Law School being a place filled with bright students, outstanding faculty, and serious discussion—it was environment, he said, that will prepare him for working in the Supreme Court.
Lecturer in Law Adam Mortara clerked for Thomas after graduating from the Law School, and taught Dickey in his Federal Jurisdiction and Federal Habeas Corpus courses.
“I was not at all surprised that Gilbert received a clerkship offer from Justice Thomas,” Mortara said. “He has a quality that Justice Thomas looks for but sadly few with Gilbert's incredible legal intellect possess, which is genuine humility. Gilbert’s success is proof that nice people do finish first and he provides a great example for our Law School community.”
Dickey was happy to learn that two other Law School graduates will be clerking on the same term as him. “I know Krista because we both clerked for Judge Pryor,” he said. “And I know of Nick Harper. We haven’t met yet, but we will.”