Vanderbilt Law Review


Robert Braucher

First Page



About the summer of 1875" Chief Justice Horace Gray of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts "began a practice, which he continued until the end of his judicial career, of employing a young graduate of the Harvard Law School as a secretary. At first he paid the expense of this from his own purse, but before he had been many years at Washington" as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States "the Government provided for the appointment of a clerk for each of the justices of the Supreme Court. His colleagues generally appointed as their clerks stenographers and typewriters, but Judge Gray continued his practice of securing each year a member of the graduating class from the Law School at Cambridge."' In the ensuing 98 years, Justice Gray's practice has become an established and familiar feature of the American judicial scene. Published accounts of the practice naturally have centered on the Supreme Court, and much of what we know rests on reminiscences of particular law clerks who served that Court.' But the practice prevails as well in most other appellate courts and in many trial courts.