I am the President and Founder of The Legal Accountability Project (LAP), a nonprofit aimed at ensuring that law clerks have positive clerkship experiences, while extending support and resources to those who do not. I founded LAP in June 2022 in order to foster beneficial clerkship experiences, diversify the clerkship applicant pool, and protect the next generation of attorneys against workplace mistreatment.
LAP was born out of my personal experience with gender discrimination, harassment, and retaliation during and after my DC Superior Court clerkship, which I first publicly shared in written testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet last March, and have shared in numerous forums since then. I regularly write and speak about judicial accountability and clerkships in order to underscore that law clerks experiencing mistreatment are not alone.
LAP is the resource I wish existed when I was a WashU Law student applying for clerkships; a law clerk experiencing mistreatment and unsure where to turn for help; and a former clerk engaging in the formal judicial complaint process. LAP works on several initiatives in collaboration with law schools and other stakeholders aimed at increasing transparency in the clerkship application process; diversifying the clerkship applicant pool; holding judges accountable for misconduct; and ensuring safe judicial workplaces.
LAP’s main initiative this year is a Centralized Clerkships Reporting Database, where law clerk alumni from every institution can fill out post-clerkship surveys about their clerkship experiences—either positive or negative—and every law student at every participating institution can read all the survey responses, in order to identify judges who will create positive work environments and avoid judges who mistreat their clerks. The Database democratizes information and replaces the “whisper networks” which are currently one of the only ways for prospective clerks to obtain information about judges. This initiative ensures that law students have as much information about as many judges as possible, before making important career decisions, considering the outsized influence that a judicial clerkship, and a law clerk’s relationship with a judge, have on future career success. The Database also empowers more diverse students to pursue clerkships through access to information.
President & Founder, The Legal Accountability Project
Connect with me on LinkedIn / Follow me on Twitter @AlizaShatzman
Read my work on SSRN / Listen to me share my story