Kelsi Corkran and Josh Rosenkranz Discuss Improving Gender Diversity in the SCOTUS Bar


Orrick’s Kelsi Corkran and Josh Rosenkranz were recently interviewed for a Law360 feature about the dearth of women who argue before the U.S. Supreme Court – and how to fix it. 

Kelsi was one of only 16 female lawyers to argue before the court during the last argument session – and one of only four in private practice – the lowest number in the past decade. “It reflects that we’ve made pretty much no progress at all in the context of the free market and private practice,” said Kelsi.

Kelsi noted that the number of women at top appellate practices is “not so small as to explain” why, out of the 45 attorneys from private law firms who argued at the court last term, only four were women. “I think there has to be something else going on to exacerbate the disparity,” she said.

Josh, head of Orrick’s Supreme Court & Appellate practice, has helped address this at Orrick by restricting himself to no more than two Supreme Court arguments per term, which he said helps gives his colleagues opportunities while allowing him to concentrate his efforts on the cases that he argues.

According to Kelsi, Josh’s approach was “directly correlated” to her own appearance before the court in the 2017 term representing a former Kansas police officer in his civil rights lawsuit against the city of Hays. Kelsi won her case.