For the first time this fall, a group of Mason law students will be assisting on cases in front of the most powerful court in the land: the Supreme Court.
In a partnership with the Wiley Rein law firm based in Washington, D.C., Mason’s School of Law will launch what is being billed as a Supreme Court Clinic, a program that will offer pro bono legal representation for cases that make it to the High Court.
Over two semesters, anywhere from 12 to 15 students will work alongside Wiley Rein attorneys, helping clients and learning the ins and outs of Supreme Court litigation. Heading up the program on Wiley Rein’s end will be two Mason law school alumni: William S. Consovoy and Thomas R. McCarthy. Consovoy once clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and McCarthy clerked in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District. They are both 2001 grads.
So what will the lucky students do? For starters, they will identify cases of interest, research legal issues, and draft Supreme Court briefs.
In addition, students will receive classroom instruction, analyze federal and state appellate decisions for possible litigation opportunities, and attend at least one Supreme Court argument per semester.
High pressure, yes. But according to Daniel D. Polsby, dean of the School of Law, this is what the students signed up for.
“Our students eagerly seek field experiences,” he says, “and this program will give them new opportunities to observe and participate in the business of the highest court in the land.”