In 2018, a diverse group of 49 Northwestern Law alumni secured clerkships with state, federal, and even international courts, continuing the school’s recent clerkship successes. In addition, 22 ...
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law alum Brendan Duffy (JD ’17) will clerk for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett for the October 2020 term. Duffy is one of four clerks selected by Justice Barrett, and the only of her clerks who has not previously completed a Supreme Court clerkship. He also clerked for Justice Barrett in the Seventh Circuit in 2018-19.
“It is a privilege and an honor to have the chance to serve as a law clerk for Justice Barrett. She is a truly brilliant jurist, so I feel particularly fortunate to have this opportunity to spend another year working with her as a Supreme Court clerk,” Duffy says. “Clerking on the Supreme Court is a dream come true—I am excited to be exposed to a wide array of complex legal issues and new ideas, in addition to learning from some of the best minds in the legal profession.”
Duffy also clerked for Judge Paul Kelly in the Tenth Circuit in 2017-18. He spent the last year working as an associate at Covington & Burling in Washington D.C.
“I’m not sure there’s a better job in the world for a young lawyer than to work as a law clerk. I was fortunate that both Judges I clerked for were fantastic teachers. The experience not only provided exposure to interesting and varied areas of the law but also honed my writing and analytical skills,” he says. “I know this has been said before, but Justice Barrett is as kind a person as you have heard. I admire her intellect and her work ethic, which are second to none, but I also admire how she has maintained such a sense of normalcy in her life—while also raising seven kids!”
At Northwestern Pritzker Law, Duffy served as Notes Editor of the Northwestern University Law Review, and his note, “In States We Trust: Self-Settled Trusts, Public Policy, and Interstate Federalism” was published in December 2016. He was also the president of the St. Thomas More Society. “Brendan is the eighth Northwestern Law graduate to clerk on the U.S. Supreme Court in the past ten years,” says Interim Dean Jim Speta. “We are proud of his doing so, and think these statistics speak to the quality of Northwestern students and the education they receive.”
“I am truly grateful that Northwestern prepared me so well, as I know that without my experience there, I would not be where I am today,” he says. “I never imagined that I would have a chance to clerk on the Supreme Court, and I owe so much to professors at Northwestern who not only helped me fall in love with the law but also went to bat for me during the clerkship hiring process.”
In this excerpt of his recent memoir, The Making of a Justice: Reflections on My First 94 Years, the late Supreme Court Justice remembers the Northwestern Law courses and professors who ...