Counting the recent selection of Merritt E. McAlister, a 2007 School of Law graduate, as a U.S. Supreme Court judicial clerk for the October 2009 term, the law school will have had graduates serve the nation’s highest court in this capacity for four out of five years. McAlister will clerk for Justice John Paul Stevens.
“A Supreme Court clerkship is one of the most prestigious positions available to recent law school graduates,” said Rebecca H. White, dean of the law school. “We are delighted for Merritt and are proud that the legal education she received at Georgia Law has enabled her to join a very select group. For a law student, a U.S. Supreme Court clerkship is akin to an undergraduate receiving a Rhodes Scholarship.”
“It is such a rare opportunity and an extraordinary privilege,” McAlister said. “I am looking forward to being exposed to that level of legal thinking and decision making.”
McAlister said law school faculty members encouraged her to apply, while law school’s recent history of Supreme Court judicial clerkship success bolstered her confidence.
Currently, she is serving as a judicial clerk for Judge R. Lanier Anderson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. This September, she will join the law firm King and Spalding in Atlanta as an associate before leaving to work for Stevens in 2009.
Besides graduating first in her class at the law school, McAlister also participated in the advocacy program, worked as a teaching and research assistant, served as executive articles editor for the Georgia Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif.
Her clerkship selection brings the total number of UGA law school graduates who have clerked for Supreme Court justices to eight.