I interviewed for a clerkship with the Chief during the summer after I graduated from law school in 1992, and by that time I was pretty sure I wanted to become a law professor. I was still a bit shy about saying so, not because I thought it a bad job, but because I wasn't sure I was good enough for the job. The Chief asked me during the interview what I wanted to do with my life, and I told him, ready to supplement my response with caveats about not being certain I would get hired or would be any good at it. But as soon as I said I wanted to be a law professor, he asked, with a clear look of puzzlement on his face: "Why?" I was a little taken aback, as no one had asked me that before, or I should say no one had implied, by asking, that teaching law might not be a great choice.

In response I said something fatuous about loving law school and being intrigued by legal puzzles, which did nothing to alter the Chief's puzzled expression. I then said that I hoped some day to have a family and wanted to have a career that would allow me to spend time with them. An academic schedule, it seemed to me, would be flexible enough to afford me time with my children during their waking hours. At this, his face brightened, and he began nodding to signal that I had finally started making sense to him...

 

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