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Posted July 21, 2010

Burke ’08 and Moran ’10 to Clerk for Justice Scalia

Moran, Burke
John Moran, left, and Donald Burke will clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

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Contact: Rob Seal

Two University of Virginia Law School graduates will clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia next year. John Moran ’10 and Donald Burke ’08 will be among Scalia’s four clerks for the 2011-12 term.

“When I received the call from Justice Scalia, I was — and still am — both excited and humbled,” Moran said. “I know that I will learn a great deal being at the court and working with Justice Scalia, and I also know that I have a lot to learn as a young lawyer coming right out from law school.”

Burke said he looks forward to getting an inside perspective on how cases are decided at the highest level, and said he eagerly anticipates the opportunity to observe some of the best lawyers in the country.

“I know that the members of the Supreme Court Bar are some of the best advocates out there and I’m looking forward to getting a close-up view of their work,” Burke said.

Though they didn’t know each other until recently, Burke and Moran have much in common beyond their upcoming clerkships. Both grew up in Northern Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C., and both obtained their undergraduate degrees from UVA. The pair also participated in the Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, and both are currently clerking for judges on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Burke is clerking for Judge Raymond M. Kethledge and Moran for Judge Jeffrey Sutton.

“I have been working in Judge Sutton's chambers since the beginning of June, and one afternoon while I was in the office, I got a call from Justice Scalia,” Moran said. “He told me that he wanted to offer me a position for the 2011 term, and I think I accepted before he had finished.”

Burke, who said he was “tremendously excited” to get a similar call, will finish his current clerkship in September and will spend the intervening time at  Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the judges they are currently clerking for, both Burke and Moran credited the Law School faculty and alumni with providing assistance during the Supreme Court clerkship application process.

“I relied on advice from several faculty members, as well as a couple of UVA Law alumni who had been through the process before, just to get an idea of what it would be like,” Burke said.

Moran, who was part of the winning team during the 81st Annual William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition, said the faculty clerkship committee and the school’s Office of Judicial Clerkships were indispensable resources, and also credited the school’s alumni network.

“I spoke with at least a dozen alumni during the process who helped with everything from advice about formatting paper applications to conducting a practice interview before the real thing. And I know that my responsibility is to do the same going forward because all of the alumni told me that they were just doing what others had done for them before,” he said.

The two also listed the Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic among their favorite Law School experiences. The yearlong clinic offers students the chance to work on live Supreme Court cases.

“The group of instructors and students were all very committed to doing quality work, and the cases were interesting,” Burke said. “We did a lot of legal writing, and our instructors really focused on providing constructive feedback on our work.”

Both Burke and Moran saw cases in which the clinic was involved go before the court. Burke was a clinic student in 2008 when the Supreme Court decided Indiana v. Edwards, and Moran was part of the clinic in March when the court decided Bloate v. United States.