2014 Yellowstone Economic Seminar (YES) for Federal Judge Law Clerks

2014 Yellowstone Economic Seminar (YES) for Federal Judge Law Clerks

August 25-29, 2014 in Gallatin Gateway, Montana

The Background

Article III federal judges normally have two or three law clerks.  Clerks are typically selected during their third year of law school and begin with their judge in the September following graduation. 

Clerking for a federal judge strengthens the resume of a recent law school graduate.  As a result, many federal appellate judges receive hundreds of applications each year, some a thousand. Due to this intense competition, federal judges are highly selective when accepting clerks. These clerks have highly promising careers in practice or as professors.  

Judicial clerkships are highly coveted by law school graduates since they have such important career implications. Federal clerkships are the hardest to get, but can be very rewarding for one's legal career.... (US News & World Report, April 11, 2013.)

A law clerk is commonly described as the judge’s “right-hand.” Clerks research legal issues, draft opinions and discuss cases with their judge.  Appellate clerks work on complex legal issues binding on all district courts within its circuit. An appellate clerk writes bench memoranda opinions following oral arguments and recommends how the case should be decided. District clerks help their judge with trials and subsequent opinions. These individuals merit investments in the quality of economic education FREE has provided to federal judges for 25 years.

YES for Law Clerks

FREE’s proposed YES program would be of value to both the clerks and their judges. Many environmental cases make their way to federal courts. FREE is known for its decades of building and disseminating the New Resource Economics, the NRE.  This approach is based on property rights, the rule of law, the market process, and entrepreneurship. It fosters harmony among oft-competing values, responsible liberty, environmental quality, and prosperity.

FREE's YES program for new clerks is a "boot camp" for teaching the NRE environmental approach. Our work applying a law and economics perspective to environmental problems dates from my 1973 article “Externality, Property Rights, and the Management of Our National Forest” in the Journal of Law & Economics, then edited by Nobel Prize-wining economist Ronald Coase.

In past decades most Greens considered the NRE to be a radical perspective.  Indeed it was. We recognize the benefits of prudent regulation and governmental monitoring. However, we also consider the mischief and waste of government mandates. Consider corn's conversion to ethanol fuel, subsidies for solar and wind energy (we use both on our ranch without subsidies), and bullet train proposals.  All of these are best understood as financial favor via governmental directives. Clerks will be given an overview of how our balanced law and economics perspective applies to natural resource and environmental cases.

The Details

The dates are August 25 to 29, 2014.  Foundation grants to FREE will cover participants' transportation costs to Bozeman up to $550, room and meals while here, and the field trip through Yellowstone Park. 

The program will be based at Trout Chasers Lodge near Gallatin Gateway, Montana.   This lodge is twenty minutes from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and two miles from our ranch.  The conference will include an evening event at our ranch and an opportunity to experience fly-fishing. 

Bob Barbee, former (and famous) Yellowstone Park Superintendent has agreed to again be our tour guide through the Park.   Bob was Superintendent during the fires of 1988 and was deeply involved in returning the wolves to Yellowstone.   Bob was with the National Park Service for 37 years and often received highly sensitive assignments. 

March 3rd update: Our 2014 participants have been selected!