Like his sister had done before him, Philip Alito, son of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr., is following in his father’s footsteps, after finishing up clerking for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit, and has even landed a position as an associate for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, beginning this fall. This leads to an interesting situation. Gibson does a lot of supreme court work, with over 100 cases involved in the high court. It has a 30 percent success rate securing petitions these last five years, as compared to one percent average rate. That means that there could be a conflict of interest regarding young Alito and his father.
But of course there is a policy to address such happenstance, a 20-year-old legislation that decrees what to do when relatives bring cases to the supreme court. Justices on the supreme court do not need to recuse from such cases, so long as their relatives are not lead counsel – which probably won’t happen for an associate – or if the case would influence the relatives earnings from his firm. Gibson has stated in 2003 that “Until further notice, income from the firm’s Supreme Court litigation will be excluded from Eugene Scalia’s earnings on a permanent basis.”
This last refers to Eugene Scalia, another supreme court justice’s relative who works at the firm, but they could send a similar letter for Alito. Philip Alito will be joining another son of a justice at the firm, which seems to be collecting such unique figures.
“Phil Alito is a smart, talented and hard-working young lawyer with impressive credentials,” said Gibson in a statement, as reported by The Blog of Legal Times. “We are delighted that he has chosen to begin his career with Gibson Dunn and look forward to welcoming him this fall.”