Desert Fox wrote:Even if you are sure you want appellate, which you admit you aren't, it is not worth it.
~10% of HLS students get appellate clerkships, which is essential prerequisite. Duke is probably about 3%. That is only a 7% difference. And the vast majority of people who do appellate clerkships don't do any appellate work in big law. I think 25% would be very generous. So that 7% is now 1.75%. Lets call it 2%.
150k for a 2% differential? Is it worth 7.5 Million to you? Because that is how you are valuing it. Hell even if you got with a full 7% difference that is 2.1 million.
To do a job you heard is cool.
I agree with DF's reasoning here. As he suggested, his estimates are generous: way fewer than 25% of former appellate clerks specialize in appellate law. Appellate groups are tiny. Firms—including the prestigious ones you mentioned—generally can't afford to have associates working full time on appellate matters. Even if you get that COA clerkship and then land in an appellate practice group, you are still likely to be tasked with plenty of non-appellate litigation.