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Article Title

The Judge and His Clerks

Abstract

In his memoir, Life and Times in the Three Branches, Judge Coffin recounts the history of the institution of the law clerk and observes, “I was the first such creature Maine had seen.” He served as a clerk from April 1947 to June 1949 for United States District Court Judge John D. Clifford, working in the same chambers that he would later inhabit as a judge. Over the course of his more than four decades on the Court of Appeals, Judge Coffin would have sixty-eight clerks of his own. Those of us lucky enough to be in that family of sixty-eight had an incomparable experience both personally and professionally. One of our number, Peter Byrne, captured the essence of a Coffin clerkship in an essay that was published in this journal in 1991. When asked about including a description of clerking for Judge Coffin in this tribute issue, we immediately thought of Peter’s piece, which remains a perfect reflection of the Coffin clerkship experience and the special relationship we each had with him.

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