Fresh out of law school, Lindsey Keenan ’13 represented a client in a breach of contract case against American manufacturer Black & Decker that taught her an essential lesson for her future clerkships. Not only did Keenan, then an associate with Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman, prepare memoranda, deposition outlines, and briefs in the case, but she also witnessed the case’s singular importance to her client.
“Knowing what that case meant to the inventor who licensed his invention to Black & Decker, and the value of his intellectual property, has proven very grounding as a clerk,” explains Keenan, who in 2017 began her clerkship with fellow Fordham Law alumnus Judge Vincent L. Briccetti ’80 of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to Keenan, Briccetti reinforces the client-centered nature of judicial work; he instructs his clerks that each motion and case holds significant import to the individual or business before the court.
Keenan’s desire to clerk resulted from a matter-of-fact observation: Judges wrote the opinions in the cases she spent all her free time reading in law school, so clerking for one would provide helpful insights for her career.
Following her year at Kasowitz Benson, Keenan clerked with the Hon. Andrew J. Peck, a magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Clerking with Peck from 2014 to 2016 provided her an up-close vantage on how the electronic discovery expert handled di cult discovery disputes.
Keenan brought these insights with her when she moved from the judge’s chambers to Big Law giant Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. There, she represented Google in a breach of contract case for which she defended depositions, defended an individual client in a 10b-5 class action for which she managed discovery, and took her first deposition.
“Having seen high-level litigation in Judge Peck’s chambers—and how lawyers write to the court, interact in court, and handle discovery disputes— enabled me to participate in these matters,” she says.
Midway through her clerkship with Judge Peck, Keenan reasoned that a second clerkship, this time with a district judge handling federal criminal matters, would benefit her in seeking a position with the U.S. attorney’s office. Keenan credits Professor Daniel Capra for encouraging judges, such as Briccetti, to consider Fordham Law clerk applicants. Briccetti himself clerked in the Southern District for a fellow Fordham grad—the Hon. John Matthew Cannella ’33.
“Professor Capra works so hard and diligently on behalf of Fordham students,” Keenan says. “I don’t think I would have secured my first clerkship or this current clerkship without his help.”
Judge Briccetti’s day-to-day involvement with litigation matters has impressed upon Keenan a greater understanding of how cases go—from the moment a complaint is filed to the point at which a motion to dismiss or summary judgment occurs.
“Working for two judges has given me a greater appreciation for how hard it is to be a judge and how hard judges work to come to the right answer,” says Keenan, whose clerkship with Briccetti runs through October.