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Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 11 posts ] 

State trial court or state appellate/supreme court?
State trial court 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
State appellate/supreme court 100%  100%  [ 9 ]
Total votes : 9
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 Post subject: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:16 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:34 pm
Archived Posts: 37
I have an opportunity to work individually with a state superior court (the highest trial court in our state) judge this summer. There will be no other interns so I will get a lot of individual attention. Also, I am interested in litigation, and think it will be a lot more enjoyable to see trials/learn litigation skills than to do research with a number of other interns at the state appellate courts.

However, the state appellate court or supreme court is obviously more prestigious. I am interested in working at a larger private firm in the same state (my home state). Would taking the superior court internship instead of the state appellate/supreme court internship put me at a disadvantage during OCI next year? Some folks have said go with the more prestigious options. Others have said that your 1L summer (outside of a paying big firm job) is largely irrelevant so long as it is something related to the law.

All else being equal, I would prefer the trial court internship, because of the individual attention and my interest in litigation.

Opinions?


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 Post subject: Re: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:49 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:51 pm
Archived Posts: 680
Have you asked each judge what your typical duties will be? I don't think the level of prestige matters much. But I would be sure that you select a summer job that will allow you to create a short (5-10 pages) non-academic writing sample. If you will have the opportunity to write for the trial judge, go for it.

Have you asked about splitting? I split my 1L summer with a trial judge and appellate judge. I think that being able to talk about my exposure to both trial and appellate work and why I preferred different aspects of each was beneficial in later interviews.

Personally, I would go with the highest state appellate court, but I prefer extensive research/writing rather than watching hearings/trials. Plus, discretionary review = awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:42 pm
Archived Posts: 670
Also think about what you want to do for your 2L summer. If you plan on trying for an SA gig, the extensive research and writing at the appellate level will be a benefit. If you want to do something in PI or DA/PD the trial level will probably do more for you. You can't really go wrong, its just figuring out where your 1L summer will fit into your overall career plan :)


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 Post subject: Re: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:34 pm
Archived Posts: 37
Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it.

I did think about splitting, but it seems like a logistical nightmare, finding a place to live for each half of the summer. I know it will "look better" if I can show the firms a lot of research/writing experience, but I feel like I will still get more of that at the state trial court. The reason is the number of interns at the state appellate courts. We have a lot of law schools in the state, and a lot of internship positions open in the appellate courts. Having supervised interns in my previous job, I know how difficult it is to meaningfully supervise large numbers of interns and attend to your other responsibilities. Admittedly, this is specific to my previous field (healthcare), and this may not be an issue at the state appellate courts (where i have zero previous experience).

I guess my question is whether anybody felt as though there were so many interns that teaching/supervision and quality of assignments suffered when they interned at the appellate levels?

I feel like at the trial court level I could definitely generate a good writing sample, and practice good time pressured research (the judge basically identifies the legal issue and has a few hours/maybe a few days for research). I would of course talk this up in OCI interviews. However, I would miss the more in depth research skills that an appellate court internship would provide.

Also, I am very happy to hear that the prestige factor (in terms of court level) was not relevant during OCI.


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 Post subject: Re: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:11 pm
Archived Posts: 343
Alyosha wrote:
Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it.

I did think about splitting, but it seems like a logistical nightmare, finding a place to live for each half of the summer. I know it will "look better" if I can show the firms a lot of research/writing experience, but I feel like I will still get more of that at the state trial court. The reason is the number of interns at the state appellate courts. We have a lot of law schools in the state, and a lot of internship positions open in the appellate courts. Having supervised interns in my previous job, I know how difficult it is to meaningfully supervise large numbers of interns and attend to your other responsibilities. Admittedly, this is specific to my previous field (healthcare), and this may not be an issue at the state appellate courts (where i have zero previous experience).

I guess my question is whether anybody felt as though there were so many interns that teaching/supervision and quality of assignments suffered when they interned at the appellate levels?

I feel like at the trial court level I could definitely generate a good writing sample, and practice good time pressured research (the judge basically identifies the legal issue and has a few hours/maybe a few days for research). I would of course talk this up in OCI interviews. However, I would miss the more in depth research skills that an appellate court internship would provide.

Also, I am very happy to hear that the prestige factor (in terms of court level) was not relevant during OCI.


I think I read somewhere that splitting is one of the worst things you can do...but this was in relationship to firm internships, so I am not sure if it pertains to your situation.

Congrats on the offers though!


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 Post subject: Re: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:41 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm
Archived Posts: 1067
Inygma wrote:
I think I read somewhere that splitting is one of the worst things you can do...but this was in relationship to firm internships, so I am not sure if it pertains to your situation.

Congrats on the offers though!


I think splitting as a 2L = begging for two no offers, but splitting as a 1L doesn't seem like it would have the same problem, especially if at least one half of the summer is with a judge?


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 Post subject: Re: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:45 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:42 pm
Archived Posts: 670
thesealocust wrote:
Inygma wrote:
I think I read somewhere that splitting is one of the worst things you can do...but this was in relationship to firm internships, so I am not sure if it pertains to your situation.

Congrats on the offers though!


I think splitting as a 2L (Unless you're in TX) = begging for two no offers, but splitting as a 1L doesn't seem like it would have the same problem, especially if at least one half of the summer is with a judge?

Fixt and agreed :)

And with summers at firms getting shorter and shorter (8-10 weeks) its almost possible to do 2 full SA gigs :) (I think we have 17-18 weeks off here).

But I agree with OP that it doesn't seem very feasible if he/she would have to find different housing for each part of summer.


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 Post subject: Re: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:10 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:51 pm
Archived Posts: 680
Alyosha wrote:
I guess my question is whether anybody felt as though there were so many interns that teaching/supervision and quality of assignments suffered when they interned at the appellate levels?

I don't think teaching/supervision or quality of assignments suffered when I interned for appellate judges. Both aspects were different, but not necessarily worse in either system.

Regarding teaching/supervision, bear in mind that the appellate judge is more likely to have (or more likely to have more) clerks. So you might have less direct contact with the judge, but you will have (or have more) contact with clerks. I did not view this as a negative trade-off. The clerks are great people and typically very smart and good mentors. The judges were also happy to meet with their interns. There was, though, less day-to-day contact with the judges.

Regarding quality of assignments, I had more shorter assignments at the trial level and fewer longer assignments at the appellate level. While working for one appellate judge, I spent nearly five weeks writing one memorandum and a related opinion (and the opinion was still, admittedly, pretty bad). The amount of research is also more extensive, IMO, at the highest state appellate court because you are bound by less precedent. Thus, you can look to more persuasive precedent from any source (i.e., any judicial opinion in your state, outside your state, in the federal system, whatever). If you work for a state trial judge, you're going to probably only research decisions by the state appellate courts in your state (except on federal constitutional issues). You will probably have more time to complete assignments at the state supreme court, so you can do more research and refine your writing more. But you may be exposed to a smaller variety of issues.

Of course, keep in mind that anything I've said above could vary from judge to judge. These were my experiences but maybe shouldn't be taken as broad generalizations applicable to your situation.

Alyosha wrote:
Also, I am very happy to hear that the prestige factor (in terms of court level) was not relevant during OCI.

I wouldn't say it's wholly irrelevant--just not very relevant.


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 Post subject: Re: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:11 pm
Archived Posts: 343
I don't mean to hijack the thread, just interested...

How does a 1L get chosen to clerk for a judge before semester grades?

Is it based soley on Law School Ranking/Undergrad stats?

Do your professors right LoRs?


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 Post subject: Re: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm
Archived Posts: 1067
Inygma wrote:
I don't mean to hijack the thread, just interested...

How does a 1L get chosen to clerk for a judge before semester grades?

Is it based soley on Law School Ranking/Undergrad stats?

Do your professors right LoRs?


You (usually) send in a writing sample, a resume, a cover letter, and sometimes a list of references. To get the position before grades, ostensibly something there has to "impress" a judge enough for them to take you on before law school grades. I put impress in quotes because sometimes it's connections to an area, similar interests, etc. that do it, you don't have to be a freaky genius or anything. I've never heard of profs writing LoRs or making phone calls, but I'm sure it happens in rare instances.


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 Post subject: Re: 1L summer: state trial ct or appellate/supreme ct?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:52 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:51 pm
Archived Posts: 680
Inygma wrote:
I don't mean to hijack the thread, just interested...

How does a 1L get chosen to clerk for a judge before semester grades?

Is it based soley on Law School Ranking/Undergrad stats?

Do your professors right LoRs?

Every judge does his/her own thing.

I just sent a letter, resume, and list of references. No grades, no writing sample, no letters of recommendation. I received interviews/offers with both federal and state judges. Some judges requested that I supplement a writing sample and/or grades later. But some of the judges made offers without a writing sample or grades.


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