Alumna to Clerk for Chief Justice of the United States

Alumna to Clerk for Chief Justice of the United States

Conlon_SiegalCindy Conlon (l), Julie Karaba Siegal

Julie Karaba Siegal (BS10, JD14) will begin clerking for Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., on the United States Supreme Court in July of 2018, fulfilling a longtime dream that first took root in Cindy Conlon’s Annenberg Hall classroom.

Siegal was a sophomore studying social policy when she fell in love with Conlon’s Legal Aspects of Education class. Conlon (BS72, PhD79), who teaches using the Socratic method – a tool that focuses on giving students questions, rather than answers – quickly noticed Siegal’s deep curiosity about the Supreme Court and encouraged her to attend law school.

“Professor Conlon showed me that you really can follow your passions,” Siegal said. “She was always concerned with the whole health of her students, not just how we were doing in class but also how we were coping with stress and other challenges. She’s a great mentor in that way.”

As part of her senior research project with Conlon, Siegal coauthored the article “May it Please the Court: Questions About Policy at Oral Argument” which was published in the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy.

Last fall, Siegal spoke to Conlon’s Legal Aspects of Education class, which explores how Supreme Court decisions shape education policy at the K-12 level.

Conlon, an adjunct professor, also teaches a seminar class on the Supreme Court that involves a trip to Washington D.C.; Siegal hopes she’ll be able to meet with SESP students if they come to watch a Supreme Court oral argument.

“I find the problem-solving aspect of law endlessly interesting,” Siegal said. “Law affects every part of our lives, whether we realize it or not, and it is hugely rewarding to play even a small role in finding the right answers.”

Law clerks help prepare justices for oral arguments and assist in editing opinions. They also help process petitions the court receives.

Siegal said she felt well prepared for her first meeting with Roberts, thanks to support from her mentors and a few of his previous clerks.

“The interview felt like a culmination of sorts because I’d been working toward the goal for so long,” she said.

She received the good news that she’d landed one of 38 highly coveted slots in the middle of another job interview. When her phone began buzzing with missed calls and texts from several people, including a friend who had clerked for Roberts the prior year, her interviewers encouraged her to answer it. Later, they took her out for drinks to celebrate.

“Given her intelligence, diligence, and confidence, I had no doubt that she was the rare student who would excel at law school and actually have the opportunity to serve as a law clerk should she set that intention,” Conlon said.

In addition to Conlon, Siegal credited other mentors with helping her secure the position, including four law school professors and two judges she clerked for in the past.

In 2016, Siegal was named a Bristow Fellow with the U.S. Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). The one-year fellowship is generally awarded to four recent law school graduates with outstanding academic records who have federal appellate clerkship experience.

While at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Siegal served as senior articles editor for the Northwestern University Law Review and on the executive board of the Women’s Leadership Coalition.

Her senior research project, co-authored with Professor Martin H. Redish, was published as “One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Multidistrict Litigation, Due Process, and the Dangers of Procedural Collectivism,” in the Boston University Law Review. Reuters recognized the piece as one of the most important procedure articles of the year.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 3/7/18