By the summer of 1992, I had interviewed with numerous prospective employers, including partners in law firms, career prosecutors, and federal appellate judges. Each interview generally included a moment when the interviewer would ask something along the lines of "What do you want to do in your legal career?" I occasionally stumbled over my response as I sought to tailor my answer to what I assumed would impress the potential job-giver. So I was not surprised in the summer of 1992 when Chief Justice Rehnquist posed his version of the question about halfway through my interview for a clerkship position.

I paused momentarily, cleared my throat, and announced that I wanted to return to Montana to practice law and someday start my own law firm. The Chief immediately perked up and described his years of private practice in Phoenix in the 1950s and 1960s. He had chosen this unconventional route after completing his clerkship with Justice Jackson in 1952 when he bypassed the big law firms of Washington, D.C., and New York and instead headed west with his wife...

 

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