Dynamist Blog

Miers's Legal Record

A reader who practices law in Illinois writes:

Miers holds herself out as practicing law in the areas of Antitrust & Trade Regulation, and Litigation & Appeals. But over thirty years, she is only listed as an attorney on 16 decisions, arising from 13 cases. Seven of these decisions were appeals.

Some of this is due, no doubt, to her areas of practice. Complex litigation may take years to reach completion. Businesses tend to favor out-of-court settlements. But it is also more than likely that her skills in trade regulation were primarily exercised as a negotiator and scrivener in the conference room, not in the court room.

The number of cases involving large national businesses is also not encouraging. Companies like Microsoft have large legal teams, which may simply use local counsel to make sure that in-house filings are consistent with local practice, as well as provide "local color."

One other explanation for her relative paucity of reported decisions is that she has been involved in numerous trade associations, committees and charities. These are all laudable, but they most likely took away from traditional legal practice. As would management of a law firm.

My own area of practice -- environmental law -- would not fare well in comparison either. But I think lawyers can excel and have admirable careers and still not be well-qualified for the Supreme Court.

On a positive note, my hairdresser, who worked with her on a project to help abused children, says Miers is a sweet person. But he hasn't seen her in eight years.

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