I joined the Federal Circuit clerk community mid-way through the term of what I believe may have been the most epic class of superclerks ever to ascend the steps of Madison Place. Not only were my new colleagues the brightest and most academically inspiring people I had ever met, they were rowdy, and fun, and had fascinating personalities. Granted, my standards were pretty low.
The concept of having a weekly poker game among the clerks was born shortly before most of these particular clerks came on the scene, but it developed into a thriving tradition mostly due to the social connection that these clerks had with each other (and alcohol). Poker night was a chance for the clerks to vent about the week at work, get to know each other, and develop the essential legal skill set required for drafting memos while enduring a pounding hangover. It became such a cherished ritual that the poker regulars who went on to firms or government jobs in DC kept coming back.
It has now been two years since my first set of colleagues at the court graduated, and I have joined the ranks of the alumni as well. Poker attendance has now become a mix of current clerks and two generations of alumni. We have different relationships to the court, but we are all still part of the same amazing community. Whether we sit on the bench, in the balcony, or at counsel table, we play an important role in a grand institution that strives to better the world by promoting the progress of science and useful arts. That our friendships transcend the differences in our roles only strengthens this institution.
Over the years, we have welcomed new babies, consoled heartaches, warmed new houses, congratulated new jobs, and made hilarious mistakes. Now, we have comforted each other following the loss of a beloved family member. Rest in peace, Judge Friedman. Moving up in our careers will undoubtedly bring new challenges, but I am more convinced than ever that the half-assed remnants of this awkward assembly is worth it. As such, I guarantee this much: no brief on your desk that bears my signature, and no opinion or reply that you pen in response, has any relevance to my weekly invitation that you join in the drunken debauchery, shattered glass, contentious romances, terrible singing, fistfights, and laughter that keeps my downstairs neighbors awake until the wee hours of every Thursday morning.
Join us at [——–] around 8pm tonight. Please RSVP to let me know whether to expect you.
And wear your favorite bow tie. If you don’t know how to tie one, don’t worry. We’ll teach you. We learned from the best.
I hope to see you all there tonight, and every week, forever.