When Kirkland & Ellis sent a junior associate to a status conference, Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas Garaufis had a bit of a fit. For the BigLaw firm to send an associate instead of a partner, for it to "think so little of this court," was "outrageous, irresponsible, and insulting," Garaufis said. Then he refused to continue the conference. "I've been a lawyer for 41 years and a judge for 16 years and I'm not having this discussion with you," he told the Kirkland associate, according to the New York Daily News.
But Garaufis may be the exception, not the rule. While young associates have been increasingly shut out of court in recent years, working more as glorified law clerks than litigators, some judges are making a point to demand fresher blood in the courtrooms.