Judges and law schools must do more to protect law clerks

Timothy Kowal, Esq.
January 27, 2023

Aliza Shatzman’s dream of a judicial clerkship turned into a nightmare. Just to get the experience, and the career credit, of a judicial clerkship, Shatzman would have put up with her judge calling her “bossy” like his wife, and telling her he preferred the company of her male co-clerk. But then her judge terminated her clerkship early—and gave her a negative reference—because, he said, she made him uncomfortable and she “lacked respect” for him.

Her HR complaint? Shatzman was reminded judges are special people and HR doesn’t have any control over them. What about the misbehaving judges’ colleagues? “Judges are notoriously unwilling to discipline their own.”

As for judicial complaints, they are routinely mishandled, and this mishandling sends the message: suffer in silence—don’t bother sending up further complaints.

In this clip from episode 39 of the California Appellate Law Podcast, Aliza Shatzman shares the origin story of the Legal Accountability Project, and why misbehaving employers need to be held accountable—even when the misbehaving employer is a judge.

Watch the clip here.

This is a clip from episode 39 of the California Appellate Law Podcast. Listen to the full episode here.

Tim Kowal helps trial attorneys and clients win their cases and avoid error on appeal. He co-hosts the Cal. Appellate Law Podcast at www.CALPodcast.com, and publishes a newsletter of appellate tips for trial attorneys at www.tvalaw.com/articles. His appellate practice covers all of California's appellate districts and throughout the Ninth Circuit, with appellate attorneys in offices in Orange County and Monterey County. Contact Tim at tkowal@tvalaw.com or (714) 641-1232.

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