Help Wanted:

The Republic of Palau recently posted this interesting job listing (hat tip: University of Missouri lawprof Danny Sokol):


The Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau is seeking an Associate Justice to preside over trial and appellate proceedings. Palau, a small tropical island nation in Micronesia, is renowned for its unspoiled natural beauty and unique marine life. Until 1994 when it achieved independence, Palau was a United Nations Trust Territory under U.S. Administration: its legal system continues to borrow from U.S. common law while also recognizing local customs and traditions.


The Supreme Court is seeking individuals with a sense of adventure, an acute legal mind, and a commitment to the thoughtful development of Palauan law. At least five years quality legal experience is required, ten years preferred Salary: $80,000 U.S. Dollars, housing, relocation costs, and a health insurance stipend

How to Apply:

Interested persons should submit a letter of application (including personal contact information), resume, list of three references (including contact information), and a writing sample. Send your application via First Class United States mail (the rate is the same as to any U.S. state) to:

Judicial Nominating Committee Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau P.O. Box 248 Koror, Palau 96940 Deadline: 9/30/07

GMUSL (mail):
Anyone interested should probably check out this website. Those who don't like spiders the size of small dogs need not apply.
9.26.2007 10:58pm
ScottyD (mail):
I've worked with teachers and students from Palau in DC as part of Department of Interior civic education grants. It's a tiny set of islands and a small population -- 21,000. English is an official language. The country has been in a mostly-sovereign Compact of Free Association with the US since 1994 and that status may make for a unique (if remote) career choice.
9.26.2007 11:08pm
MRB (mail):
I recently had the distinct pleasure of working with Palau on some Law of the Sea issues and was sincerely impressed with the ambitious and well thought out approach the island nation is taking towards pollitical reform and economic development. Unlike many of their neighbours who have tragically squandeered their natural resources, Palau is taking the path of careful and considered resource development. I only wish that other states were as humble in reaching out for assitance rather than nepotistic promotion of unqualified nationals.
9.26.2007 11:08pm
Stuart Buck (mail) (www):
So what's the average life expectancy in Palau?
9.26.2007 11:33pm
A friend of mine got a job fresh out of law school with the Government of Palau.

He left after a few months.

Canned food and houses made of cinderblocks.

9.26.2007 11:44pm
Tom R (mail):
Do applicants first have to send their bank account details so the Govt of Palau can temporarily deposit a few million therein to protect it from the army officers who staged the coup which recentlly deposed the advertisement's author's father?
9.27.2007 12:11am
Good luck:
Class action cigarette suit didn't go just right?

On the other hand, the class action rules are a lot easier. If both people on the island have the same grievance...
9.27.2007 1:02am
Allen G. (www):
Too bad it's not on Yap instead. I hear you can make some really big bucks there.
9.27.2007 1:03am
ScottyD (mail):
Tom R,

Hopefully enough people have shared direct experience with Palau/Palauns that this "obscure country email scam" joke will fall a little flat even in your own eyes.

I'm sad to hear from Stephen M about the clerking legal culture. How different is that from most clerkships?

Also note, since the 1998 offshore banking act baking and finace could be another active area of law. Palau also just became one of the VPs of the UN General Assembly
9.27.2007 1:07am
Alberto Gonzales is available... his worst day as Associate Justice of the Palau Supreme Court will be better than his best day as US Attorney General...
9.27.2007 1:18am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
I'm curious, what sorts of cases does the Supreme Court of Palau get?
9.27.2007 1:43am
I once lived in a cinder block, tin-roofed house in the tropics. It was better than plenty of timber balloon frame houses I've seen in the USA.

Also - mirabile dictu - I once ate canned food.
9.27.2007 3:46am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Although some things must be imported, I would think that there would be an excellent supply of fresh seafood, no?
9.27.2007 4:58am
i note it says "quality legal experience". i see nowhere that it requires one actually be a lawyer.

generally speaking, this could be an improvement in the process of picking judges. does the SCOTUS require that a justice be a lawyer?

i think that's a general assumption, but i have no idea if it's actually a requirement.
9.27.2007 5:17am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Damn, I've only been a lawyer for 4 years.
9.27.2007 5:50am
Peter K. (mail):
I applied for this same position about 12 years ago. I still have the rejection letter.
9.27.2007 8:03am
Ilya Somin:
does the SCOTUS require that a justice be a lawyer?

No, nothing in the Constitution or any federal statute requires that SCOTUS justices or any federal judges be lawyers (though virtually all in fact are).
9.27.2007 8:22am
Any word on whether Palau is participating in on-campus recruiting?
9.27.2007 10:09am
JohnO (mail):

Re-read the job listing, it requires an "acute legal mind."
9.27.2007 10:41am
Lloyd George:
Isn't Palau one of those island countries that will be under water very shortly due to global warming?
9.27.2007 11:10am
visitor from Texas (mail) (www):

I once lived in a cinder block, tin-roofed house in the tropics. It was better than plenty of timber balloon frame houses I've seen in the USA.

Actually, there is a high quality hotel near the Supreme Court that many justices have lived in. Every report I've gotten is that it is a wonderful place to live and that the people are delightful.
9.27.2007 11:30am
If you like SCUBA diving and are a particularly big fan of sharks, this is definitely a winner of a job opportunity. If, however, you like being able to visit your relatives without taking 3 flights (Palau to Guam, Guam to Honolulu, Honolulu to mainland US), then I don't recommend applying.

And to respond to Lloyd: no, Palau should be fine. The airstrip is a good few hundred feet above sea level, as is most of the largest island. The beautiful rock islands are anywhere from probably 10-50 ft. tall but uninhabited. Peleliu is a pretty large island that also has several significant ridges that should easily survive a sea level rise like being predicted.
9.27.2007 2:57pm
NickM (mail) (www):
That could be a good way to get away from your in-laws.

9.27.2007 3:03pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
GMUSL (mail):
Anyone interested should probably check out this website. Those who don't like spiders the size of small dogs need not apply.
Thanks, that was a fun several hours. I may send a resume for some sort of bailiff/clerk/flunky job.
9.27.2007 7:39pm
Paul Karl Lukacs (mail) (www):
The Solicitor General, on the other hand, is required to be "learned in the law."
9.28.2007 12:00am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Presidents of Palau have a pretty short lifespan. They keep getting shot.

I had a friend who was on the Supreme Court of Palau, back when that was an appointment of the US president. He was otherwise a bond lawyer in Seattle.

One case he mentioned, in which he got outvoted 2-1, was about gun ownership. All you Libertarians would like Palau.
9.28.2007 4:13am
Tom R (mail):

Nigeria, by comparison, is not an obscure country. 90 million people, major oil producer, and being a non-American, I can tell it apart from Niger. It's the idea of advertising for a chief justice - not the "obscurity" (or other merits) of the country - that strikes me (dunno about you) as rather funny, in an "Onion"-y sort of way. I speak as someone whose friend once went to work as a volunteer in a Pacific island nation, not that far (by Pacific standards) from Palau, and ended up filling in as its Attorney-General at age 28.
10.1.2007 7:23pm