Friday, September 13, 2013

Legal Web Site Suggests That Federal Judicial Clerks Are Not Capable Of Answering The Office Telephone

Hugo Black Courthouse
A law-related Web site suggests that federal judicial clerks should not be allowed to answer office telephones, in the wake of our reporting on a clerk in the Northern District of Alabama.

As the great columnist Dave Barry often has said, "I am not making this up."

Judicial Clerk Review (JCR) bills itself as "an oasis for law students and lawyers who are applying for judicial clerkships."  JCR then describes its mission: "We provide tailored support to our clients, removing uncertainty in the application process and ensuring they put their best foot forward as they apply for what we consider to be THE BEST law jobs."  

In furtherance of that goal, JCR's Web site includes a blog, which picked up on our recent reports about David Waters Jr., who clerks for U.S. Magistrate T. Michael Putnam at the Hugo Black Courthouse here in Birmingham. We have shown in a series of posts that Waters and Putnam have a clear conflict in my wife's pending employment case against Infinity Insurance, Waters showed supreme arrogance in hanging up on me once, Waters showed even more rudeness when hanging up on me a second time, and I had the pleasure of telling him off before the whole thing was over.

How did JCR describe the action? Let's take a look, from a post titled "Legal Schnauzer Sniffs Out Law Clerk":

Blogger and journalist Legal Schnauzer (aka Roger Shuler) is on a tear against U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Michael Putnam and Judge Putnam’s law clerk, David Waters, Jr. Legal Schnauzer has accused Putnam of presiding over his wife’s employment discrimination case despite an existing conflict of interest. According to Legal Schnauzer, at the heart of that conflict is the law clerk, whose dad is a partner in the law firm that represents the defendant employer in Legal Schnauzer’s wife’s lawsuit.
Schnauzer called chambers, apparently to inquire about this potential conflict, and got Waters on the phone. Twice. Both times, Waters hung up on Schnauzer, who recorded their second exchange. Legal Schnauzer has taken aim at Waters, accusing Waters of residing comfortably within the one percent and claiming to target Waters’s “finely manicured face” with a verbal assault over the phone. It’s personal, folks.

I kind of like it at this point, although I disagree about it being personal, from my standpoint. I don't have anything personally against David Waters Jr.; my ire comes from the fact that Waters is part of a broken system, and he seems to have an indifferent attitude about the corruption that I know is rampant in the Hugo Black Courthouse where he works.

My jaw dropped when JCR addressed the larger issues that my posts present. I thought their first item was interesting, the second one was absolutely on target, but the third one . . . well, it was a stunner. You can read here for yourselves:

What might be the bigger lessons here? (1) Had the law clerk simply gone about his business and, instead of clerking, entered the relative anonymity of law firm associate-dom after law school, he likely would have avoided this attention. I guarantee the clerkship experience is worth it. (2) If clerkships were truly open to a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences, the thread of elitism that undergirds Legal Schnauzer’s accusations would not have much traction. (3) Maybe law clerks shouldn’t be permitted to answer the phone in chambers. Many judges and their staff shield the law clerks from public interaction on behalf of chambers. Not just for the good of the law clerk but to save chambers any embarrassment as well.

Now, I admire JCR for its statement in No. 2, and it's a rare dash of candor from someone in the legal profession: "If clerkships were truly open to a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences, the thread of elitism that undergirds Legal Schnauzer’s accusations would not have much traction."

JCR seems to be admitting that nepotism, cronyism, and elitism is at the heart of the clerk selection process. In fact, the blog suggests the process is closed off to many capable candidates.

But JCR truly baffles me when it hints that maybe law clerks aren't capable of answering the phone and dealing with the public. The ones who get coveted clerkships are supposed to be "the best and brightest" of the young legal crop? Lord, have mercy.

JCR seems to ignore the real issue at the heart of my communications with David Waters Jr. If my wife's case were being handled according to the law, I never would have contacted him. If Judge Putnam had recused himself from the outset, as the law requires, David Waters and I never would have crossed paths.

Waters didn't come off sounding bad in my interview because he's a blockhead. It's just that he was put on the spot, facing honest and tough questions for which he had no answer. 

If Putnam had been following the law, I wouldn't have called in the first place. But assuming I had called anyway, Waters could have calmly explained the applicable law, and I probably would have understood and gone on about my business.

The only honest answer Waters could have given me on this occasion was: "Look, you know your wife is being cheated, I know your wife is being cheated, but I'm just Judge Putnam's law clerk and I can't do anything about it."

Knowing such an answer would have cost him a job, Waters chose to stumble and fumble around, coming across as an arrogant jackass who really doesn't care whether the public receives justice or not.

David Waters Jr. might not be that kind of shallow person. But the more deeply entrenched he becomes in a broken system, the more often he's going to sound like a shallow person.

That's the real lesson here: Corrupt judges make life difficult for everyone around them--litigants, lawyers, even law clerks who make the mistake of answering the phone.


Anonymous said...

This is quite a hoot, LS. I guess law clerks are supposed to hide from the public. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see your reporting on young Mr. Waters is making the rounds of legal Web sites. It should be an embarrassment for the legal community.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised the Judicial Clerk Review Web site admitted that many clerkships go to those with connections. Very interesting, indeed.

Anonymous said...

David Waters had a real easy answer he could have given when you inquired about your wife's case:

"Mr. Shuler, your wife's case is being handled strictly according to law. Judge Putnam and I are duty bound to ensure that all cases are decided based on the rule of law, and that's what is happening in this case. I know litigation can be upsetting for participants, but rest assured all parties will be treated fairly under the law in this case."

Why didn't he say that? I can only assume it's because it wasn't true, and he knew it wasn't true.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for an insightful comment, @10:05. I hadn't thought of it in those terms, but I think you are right.

Anonymous said...

How many judicial law clerks does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Four. One to hold the bulb and three to turn the ladder.

Anonymous said...

Oh God, I can hear a whole line of judicial clerk jokes coming now. This could be priceless.

Anonymous said...

David Waters is the gift that keeps on giving.

Anonymous said...

Should judicial clerks be allowed to clean themselves after a bowel movement? Questions like these keep me awake at night.

Anonymous said...

How do you get a one-armed judicial clerk out of a tree?

Wave to him.

Anonymous said...

How do you know if a judicial clerk has been using a computer?

There's whiteout on the screen.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, LS. This part stands out to me, about clerks not being allowed to answer the phone:

"Not just for the good of the law clerk but to save chambers any embarrassment as well."

A couple of questions:

(1) Federal judges hire the brightest law students for clerkships, but they think the clerks might cause them embarrassment?

(2) Why should judges be embarrassed if they are handling cases correctly and fairly, under the law?

Spasmoda said...

I have some experience working in a corrupt organization, so I know how they tend to work.

They want to hire "insiders" because they know those types are more likely to keep secrets. It's all about "keepin' it down home, Cuz."

That's probably why David Waters Jr. was hired. Putnam knew that daddy Waters worked at Jones Walker, and Jr. was likely to follow the path to Jones Walker. Junior was born into the tribe, so he is highly likely to keep tribal secrets.

Waters Jr. might not be smart enough to answer the telephone, but he's likely to keep secrets, and that's why he got the job.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear about the judicial clerks who froze to death outside a movie theater?

They were waiting to see "Closed for the the Winter."

Anonymous said...

Did you hear about the helicopter that crashed with a bunch of judicial clerks on board?

The pilot got cold, so he turned off the fan.

Anonymous said...

Great comment, Spasmoda. I think you nailed it.

You should write a book called "The Psychology of Corrupt Organizations." Could be a best-seller.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear about the judicial clerk who locked his keys in the car?

He had to get a coat hanger to get his family out.

Anonymous said...


"A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a twitter account "Article II Clerk." It purported to be a young federal judicial clerk to an older judge [Bio: "Current law clerk for a Senior U.S. District Judge on the East Coast. He's really f---ing
old, so I roll the dice of justice on my own"], and he tweeted with the arrogance of, well, some young federal judicial law clerks.

I had a suspicion it was a joke. It was over the top.

The opposition you filed was god----unreadable. You think I want 10 more typo-ridden pages about what light I should view evidence in?

It was actually funny. He thought out loud about the stupidity of pleadings he received, claimed his judge was never around [and senile] so he was running the place, and he had 127 followers.

But it was also well strong.

Judge called from home today to "check in." I got it under control you senile f---. Go back to napping underneath 20 blankets.

I really, hope the Judge doesn't die while I'm clerking. I, being the all powerful with about 3,700 followers on twitter[some who actually aren't spam bots or porn peddlers] asked why he only had 127followers. Within the hour he had 40 more."

"Arrogance, twitter account deleted, and now he's gone. And for anyone practicing in his judge's court, that's pretty scary." Brian Tannebaum.

Murph's Mavericks

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing @12:14. Here is URL to a Web site by Brian Tannebaum, Is this where you found the material. Looks interesting. The blog is called "My Law License."

Anonymous said...

Why did the judicial clerk cross the road?

He couldn't get his dick out of the chicken.

Anonymous said...


The Hugo Black Federal Courthouse is a symbol of Raw Power. Can do whatever the benefactors of the system dictates. Kill you dead, kill your lawsuits. Kill your ability to be alive in the earth and call the act justice.

LS, the psychobabble the dark devious smarmy STINKS like to use as the dark art of toxic whatever to crawl inside the mind, the works of a devil so to speak, well the freaks of nature are just that.

Jewry Politics is also what Netanyahu uses, so does Obama, and all the psychotic so called 'leaders' are trained in how to manipulate the masses, clearly.

Pavlov when Stalin paid for him to get going again in the psychology of central nervous system breaking down, well he found TERRORISM by the many approaches worked.

Different forms of using mind control to engineer the human.

Subtle to gross. GITMO is gross.

Then on the blogs is the subtle.

Pavlov's story, in how a great storm caused a lot of deaths in the poor experimented on animals. But, the dogs that lived forgot the condition reflex of salivating and the discovery was greater for the psychopaths of the human species ... HOW TO CONTROL the experimented on via terror, abandonment, brainwashing.

Words of course the obvious, when words are carefully selected like the STINK does to read praises or remarks of accolades manipulating - of course the art of recognizing our faith in one another REALLY, is how we get enlightenment.

The drip, drip, drip, pituitary Chinese torture also begins when the victim finds the horror of what is the mind-brain.

LS, you're in dangerous waters with the year of the dark snake in Chinese as the symbol.

Think about the Hugo Black Bldg like a great bad snake in the waters of Alabama and how to get that reptile as one who knows how to use a flute and also whatever can be legally powerful as the refined subtle art you prove it is.

OOOPS there is a remark to flatter your ego and your spirit and whatever is a truth works.

Your adversaries are dangerous and use serial killer psychobabble. The blogger 'trolls' are schooled in secret places, where the tortured have been broken.

The robotic are professionally trained, and sociopaths, psychos, very brainwashed as an MKULTRA 'Manchurian Candidate' trained with lots of 'Obama' brand believe or as Bush said, with or against.

Get lots of the coalition Murph's Mavericks learning how to decode the anon's cookies.

Unknown said...

Conspiracy Theory?

NO, these are the owners of the American Courts and the whole darn population USA:

Table 1: The World’s Top 35 Asset Management Firms, in Trillions of Dollars (2012)

1 BlackRock US $3,560

2 UBS Switzerland $2,280

3 Allianz Germany $2,213

4 Vanguard Group US $2,080

5 State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) US $1,908

6 PIMCO (Pacific Investment
Management Company) US $1,820

7 Fidelity Investments US $1,576

8 AXA Group France $1,393

9 JPMorgan Asset Management US $1,347

10 Credit Suisse Switzerland $1,279

11 BNY Mellon Asset Management US $1,299

12 HSBC UK $1,230

13 Deutsche Bank Germany $1,227

14 BNP Paribas France $1,106

15 Capital Research and Management
Company US $1,071

16 Prudential Financial US $961.0

17 Amundi France $880.0

18 Goldman Sachs Group US $836.0

19 Wellington Management Company US $719.8

20 Natixis Global Asset Management France $710.9

21 Franklin Resources (Franklin
Templeton Investments) US $707.1

22 Northern Trust US $704.3

23 Bank of America US $682.2

24 Invesco US $646.6

25 Legg Mason US $631.8

26 Nippon Life Insurance Company Japan $600.0

27 Legal & General Investment
Management UK $598.5

28 Generali Group Italy $581.5

29 Prudential UK $570.2

30 Ameriprise Financial US $543.6

31 T. Rowe Price US $541.7

32 Wells Fargo US $534.9

33 Manulife Financial Canada $513.8

34 Sun Life Financial Canada $496.3

35 TIAA-CREF US $481.0

LS, YOU Murph's Law Mavericks leader you, get your notes out about those you've covered and OMG the trolls should never recover from the uncovering of the owners of the "psychobabble" "NLP", and all forms of control.

Anonymous said...

Please, watch this girl beat the odds and win. So can you! Get up,fight the criminal with fabricated IDs usurping the presidency,fight corrupt judges, fight the ruling mafia You can do it, you can regain your right and your dignity, you can take your country back!


When will be a link on your website?

Noticed how you ranted about Feinstein fascism..

Noticed how Savage & Levine rant about dictator in chief should be impeached.

But yet no one talking about an unsung hero’s valiant attempt throught the corruption in the american courts…

How about alerting folks about the 8 court cases where barry soetora is default on 2 and failed to appear on 3 subpeonas with each judge delaying the consequences of these defaults and failing to rule when plaintiff asks.

Judge Lamberth has failed to rule to release the FOIA documents requested. Orly has a right but now they have played a game instead of ruling they “DELAY” to not do anything.

It would be great if your journalistic headline for just one hour would be..

8 court cases…2 default…3 subpeonas..average american would be in jail by now..

Anonymous said...


The crown has fallen and the crest is a caved in chest too?


As a result, there’s far less color-coding than usual — although I could have coded the entire speech in bullshit brown and liar’s red, that would have been just a stunt. Instead, I went through the speech in detail and peppered it with note after note, as if I were a policy debater again looking for points of weakness; and there are a rather lot of notes.

However, there is one particular rhetorical trick that Obama uses several times: Synecdoche (part for whole), and the way Obama uses it is extremely deceptive, almost like sleight of hand. He’ll focus your attention on a part that represents a whole; but by focusing on the part, you can’t focus on the whole. For example (see note 3), Obama says he wants to talk about “Syria.” But Syria is but one part of a whole Syrian crisis, which includes many other players like Russia, Iran, Turkey, and so on. But Obama doesn’t want to talk about all those players, since that would entail talking about the risk of a wider war, and so he says “Syria” in place of “Syrian Crisis.” He uses this device a number of times in the speech.

So, readers, despite the fact that this post is more than a little down in the weeds, I hope you find if fun and useful. I’m not a foreign policy wonk, so your corrections and additions will be very welcome.

Oh, and the contrasts between Obama’s speech, and speeches that Maggie Thatcher, Sir Edward Grey, and FDR gave in similar circumstances are interesting, and not in Obama’s favor.

Anonymous said...

phallic black hugo sticking AL
up up and away telephone poles too
not necessary in dicks picks

skewered on ITS' own hoisted
petard the fraudster teleprompted Hamlet and we
people America almost lost US

... There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,
They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
For 'tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petar'; and 't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.

Shakespeare welcomes you LS into his method of dealing with the criminals then and now. Shakespeare wrote about Queen Elizabeth taking the bankrupted money of Henry VII her father and making new coins, half-pennies and BINGO no more bankruptcy for GB.

Now we have digital corruption sold as though Strange and his Angel Head Aide with all the most brain compromised as MKULTRA 'judges' are in control.

... After modifying the letters, Hamlet escapes the ship and returns to Denmark. Hamlet's actual meaning is "cause the bomb maker to be blown up with his own bomb", metaphorically turning the tables on Claudius, whose messengers are killed instead of Hamlet. Shakespeare's use of "petar" (flatulate) rather than "petard" may be an off-colour pun.


Anonymous said...

When, how much longer, what will be required of, for the law abiding populous of Alabama citizens to rise publicly in one voice that one individual chosen by their majority speaking for all will be heard.

Anonymous said...


What fool can we not send, onto the world stage, to misrepresent the real US ...

Need to begin preparing for 2016, and what real representative do we choose to represent the real US!

GO LS, you have the power!

Anonymous said...

But we did not have to wait long for a demonstration. We got what we Southerners call a *General Nathan Bedford Forrest Confederate cavalry flank attack on Monday morning.




Unknown said...

Oh God, I can hear a whole line of judicial clerk jokes coming now. This could be priceless. anyway thanks a ton to share this great topic with us.