Book a Breakthrough Call

Fighting Workplace Injustice in the Law

It was a big day. 

Aliza Shatzman had just found out she passed the DC bar exam, and went into her judicial clerkship feeling excited and hopeful for what was to come. 

Later that day, the judge called her into his chambers, and got in her face saying: “You’re bossy, and I know bossy, cuz my wife is bossy.” 


Unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated incident. 

Over the course of her clerkship, he called her bossy, nasty, and aggressive.

He told her she had personality issues, and kicked her out of the courtroom saying he “just felt more comfortable” with her male co-clerk. 

When she looked into being reassigned to a different judge, she found out her workplace didn’t have a resolution plan for employee disputes. Her attorney mentors told her to stick it out. 

In March of 2020, when the world transitioned to remote work, Aliza moved back to Philadelphia to stay with her parents. For six weeks, her calls, texts, and emails to the judge went unanswered. 


At the end of April, he finally called her. He let her know he was ending her clerkship early because she made him uncomfortable and lacked respect for him. 

Then he hung up. 

She was devastated. When she finally got back on her feet, applying for jobs was a nightmare. Everyone wanted to know why her clerkship ended early and why the judge wasn’t listed as a reference. 

Eventually, she found a way to secure her dream job in the DC US attorney's office. She moved back to DC, ready to put everything behind her. 

Two weeks into training, her job offer was revoked. 

She found out the judge had made negative comments about her during her background investigation, and she wouldn’t be able to get the security clearance she needed. 


Huge decisions were being made about her legal career, and no one would tell her what the judge said or give her an opportunity to dispute it. 

Eventually, in January 2022, the judge issued a clarifying statement addressing some of his claims. But by then, the damage had already been done, and she was blackballed from her dream job. 


Aliza’s clerkship experience is not rare, but it is one that is rarely shared publicly because of the culture of fear and silence in the law. 

Today, Aliza is working to change this culture. She founded the Legal Accountability Project, a nonprofit aimed at improving the clerkship experiences for law clerks. 

She shares the full story and more about the work she does on my latest podcast episode: Fighting Workplace Injustice in the Law.


If you’ve done a judicial clerkship, my call to action for you today is to go to and write candidly about your experience. 

We can no longer stay silent about our experiences in the law, positive or negative. 

If your daughter or son was going to law school and applying for a judicial clerkship, what would you want them to know? What information would you want to protect them with?

This is the next generation of people who are going to be in charge of the legal system. They’re going to be making decisions and giving legal consequences.


Let’s help them become the most well-equipped, empowered people they can be. 

Until next time, 


Join the Community