Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

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Gonzo Lubitsch

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Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby Gonzo Lubitsch » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:14 am

First substantive post I have made, but I have read some advice threads on this board:

I am from the PNW and have been out of school a few years, and I am looking to land a Federal Clerkship somewhere in the west. I have offers of admission to:

Harvard
NYU $$$
Michigan $$$ <-Cheapest T14 COA, with living, etc.
Duke $$
Berkeley ??
University of Washington ??

??- Pending financial aid decisions.

I am also waiting for admissions decisions from Columbia (interview), Chicago (interview), and UVA (Why do you torment me UVA? No response since December when my application went complete). I will be able to cover quite a bit from savings, and only Harvard will run me significant debt. Thoughts?

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby Nebby » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:20 am

Best bet is Berkeley with $$

Gonzo Lubitsch

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby Gonzo Lubitsch » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:22 am

I am hoping for some cash from them. Originally I was west coast all the way, but I've definitely had some friends and local attorneys push the Harvard agenda pretty hard.

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rpupkin

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:31 am

Gonzo Lubitsch wrote:I am hoping for some cash from them. Originally I was west coast all the way, but I've definitely had some friends and local attorneys push the Harvard agenda pretty hard.

HLS is great, but it's not worth sticker for someone who wants to work on the West Coast and who receives a bunch of money from Berkeley. Wait until you have all your scholarship info and then ask again.

T3TON

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby T3TON » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:42 am

Gonzo Lubitsch wrote:First substantive post I have made, but I have read some advice threads on this board:

I am from the PNW and have been out of school a few years, and I am looking to land a Federal Clerkship somewhere in the west. I have offers of admission to:

Harvard
NYU $$$
Michigan $$$ <-Cheapest T14 COA, with living, etc.
Duke $$
Berkeley ??
University of Washington ??

??- Pending financial aid decisions.

I am also waiting for admissions decisions from Columbia (interview), Chicago (interview), and UVA (Why do you torment me UVA? No response since December when my application went complete). I will be able to cover quite a bit from savings, and only Harvard will run me significant debt. Thoughts?


What do you mean by "west"? NDCA/CDCA and the 9th circuit are fiercely competitive. Geography notwithstanding, Harvard gives you a big leg up over any school not named Yale or Stanford there. Even at Harvard you'll need good grades but you'll at least have a reasonable shot. Harvard has a large statistical advantage in less competitive districts/circuits as well but you might feel safe enough applying without it.

Cost matters a lot. What would be your total COA be at each school? What are your post-clerkship goals?

runinthefront

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby runinthefront » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:45 am

A federal clerkship is generally a one-year-long temporary position. What do you want to do afterwards?
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Gonzo Lubitsch

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby Gonzo Lubitsch » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:16 am

T3TON wrote:
What do you mean by "west"? NDCA/CDCA and the 9th circuit are fiercely competitive. Geography notwithstanding, Harvard gives you a big leg up over any school not named Yale or Stanford there. Even at Harvard you'll need good grades but you'll at least have a reasonable shot. Harvard has a large statistical advantage in less competitive districts/circuits as well but you might feel safe enough applying without it.

Cost matters a lot. What would be your total COA be at each school? What are your post-clerkship goals?


End goal is probably mid-law litigation in my home state, where I have significant ties and know the market well. I want to clerk based on conversations with current and past clerks who have enjoyed and recommended the experience.

NDCA/CDCA are not super important to me, not saying I wouldn't seek positions there, but Oregon, Western Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska or Hawaii would all suit my purposes. COA would be cool, but I feel like you pretty much have to be a rockstar no matter where you go to land that

As far as cost, Michigan is by far the cheapest at this point, and I would not need to take any debt. NYU gave a little more than Duke but with the cost of living adjustment, they are about the same, maybe a little debt. Harvard, lots of debt.

rpupkin wrote:HLS is great, but it's not worth sticker for someone who wants to work on the West Coast and who receives a bunch of money from Berkeley. Wait until you have all your scholarship info and then ask again.


Yeah that's my read of the statistics as well, but all the richest, most powerful and successful people I know are the ones saying most strongly to go there. I do have an interest in government. If it turns out I AM a law school rockstar (ask me after 1L maybe?), I would be gunning for government, not biglaw. It's hard to determine from the outside if the Harvard connections, network, prestige, etc. is worth it even for that career path.

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby T3TON » Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:05 am

Gonzo Lubitsch wrote:
T3TON wrote:
What do you mean by "west"? NDCA/CDCA and the 9th circuit are fiercely competitive. Geography notwithstanding, Harvard gives you a big leg up over any school not named Yale or Stanford there. Even at Harvard you'll need good grades but you'll at least have a reasonable shot. Harvard has a large statistical advantage in less competitive districts/circuits as well but you might feel safe enough applying without it.

Cost matters a lot. What would be your total COA be at each school? What are your post-clerkship goals?


End goal is probably mid-law litigation in my home state, where I have significant ties and know the market well. I want to clerk based on conversations with current and past clerks who have enjoyed and recommended the experience.

NDCA/CDCA are not super important to me, not saying I wouldn't seek positions there, but Oregon, Western Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska or Hawaii would all suit my purposes. COA would be cool, but I feel like you pretty much have to be a rockstar no matter where you go to land that

As far as cost, Michigan is by far the cheapest option so far, and I would not need to take any debt. NYU gave a little more than Duke but with the cost of living adjustment, they are about the same, maybe a little debt. Harvard, lots of debt.

rpupkin wrote:HLS is great, but it's not worth sticker for someone who wants to work on the West Coast and who receives a bunch of money from Berkeley. Wait until you have all your scholarship info and then ask again.


Yeah that's my read of the statistics as well, but all the richest, most powerful and successful people I know are the ones saying most strongly to go there. I do have an interest in government. If it turns out I AM a law school rockstar (ask me after 1L maybe?), I would be gunning for government, not biglaw. It's hard to determine from the outside if the Harvard connections, network, prestige, etc. is worth it even for that career path.


Note that the PNW can be a tough market to break into, even with ties. Harvard may help you get your foot in the door. And if you do rock out 1L year, Harvard has a definite advantage in terms of government placement. But depending on how much it costs this may or may not be worth it. Without your specific numbers there is no way to give more tailored advice. Either way, you are giving something up and gaining something in return. Every year applicants face this choice. They are both in different senses both risk-seeking and risk-averse. This will come down to which types of risk you are most ok with.

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby Fiddlesticks » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:23 am

I'd do Berkeley if they shell out money, or Michigan because you said it will be the cheapest. Both do well with Clerkships.
Last edited by Fiddlesticks on Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:39 am

As mentioned above, it's more important to consider what you want to do before/after the clerkship. Most district court clerkships now require a year of work experience, and you'll be clerking for two years at most. Match your school to your career desires, and don't plan everything around a clerkship, because you don't know how you'll place in your class.

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quiver

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby quiver » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:16 am

cavalier1138 wrote:As mentioned above, it's more important to consider what you want to do before/after the clerkship. Most district court clerkships now require a year of work experience, and you'll be clerking for two years at most. Match your school to your career desires, and don't plan everything around a clerkship, because you don't know how you'll place in your class.

This.

rpupkin wrote:
Gonzo Lubitsch wrote:I am hoping for some cash from them. Originally I was west coast all the way, but I've definitely had some friends and local attorneys push the Harvard agenda pretty hard.

HLS is great, but it's not worth sticker for someone who wants to work on the West Coast and who receives a bunch of money from Berkeley. Wait until you have all your scholarship info and then ask again.
Also, this.

I think we need real numbers to give real advice. You say "a lot", but how much debt are we talking from HLS? Come back when we can compare that with your Berk offer.

Gonzo Lubitsch

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby Gonzo Lubitsch » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:06 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:As mentioned above, it's more important to consider what you want to do before/after the clerkship. Most district court clerkships now require a year of work experience, and you'll be clerking for two years at most. Match your school to your career desires, and don't plan everything around a clerkship, because you don't know how you'll place in your class.


I get that, I really do. I have a handshake deal with partner in a well respected local litigation firm that is essentially "go to law school, get a clerkship, come work for me." I'm pretty sure I could land a state court clerkship from any reasonable school, but I want to shoot for Fed as I think it would be a more impressive resume builder for later career moves.

Originally I was UW or bust, because I love Seattle and it is the top PNW school. That was before I rocked the LSAT and got all these great offers from T14s. With the desire to maybe go into federal government or the judiciary some day, I'm struggling to quantify the value of prestige vs. location. I want to maximize flexibility, recognizing that my goals may change, as they do for many law students during school. I also have an IP background and want to keep that path open as well.

quiver wrote:I think we need real numbers to give real advice. You say "a lot", but how much debt are we talking from HLS? Come back when we can compare that with your Berk offer.


I'll come back with Berk numbers. It's hard for me to assess what my total debt will be, but I expect no need-based aid. I recently left my job to work freelance in the tech industry until the fall. I am also selling some real estate. I may also get some help from family. Ballpark Harvard debt 60-100k depending on summer earnings and other factors not set in stone.

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby T3TON » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:33 pm

Gonzo Lubitsch wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:As mentioned above, it's more important to consider what you want to do before/after the clerkship. Most district court clerkships now require a year of work experience, and you'll be clerking for two years at most. Match your school to your career desires, and don't plan everything around a clerkship, because you don't know how you'll place in your class.


I get that, I really do. I have a handshake deal with partner in a well respected local litigation firm that is essentially "go to law school, get a clerkship, come work for me." I'm pretty sure I could land a state court clerkship from any reasonable school, but I want to shoot for Fed as I think it would be a more impressive resume builder for later career moves.

Originally I was UW or bust, because I love Seattle and it is the top PNW school. That was before I rocked the LSAT and got all these great offers from T14s. With the desire to maybe go into federal government or the judiciary some day, I'm struggling to quantify the value of prestige vs. location. I want to maximize flexibility, recognizing that my goals may change, as they do for many law students during school. I also have an IP background and want to keep that path open as well.

quiver wrote:I think we need real numbers to give real advice. You say "a lot", but how much debt are we talking from HLS? Come back when we can compare that with your Berk offer.


I'll come back with Berk numbers. It's hard for me to assess what my total debt will be, but I expect no need-based aid. I recently left my job to work freelance in the tech industry until the fall. I am also selling some real estate. I may also get some help from family. Ballpark Harvard debt 60-100k depending on summer earnings and other factors not set in stone.


If your total debt graduating from Harvard really would be 60-100k, I would go to Harvard without hesitation. I admire your debt aversion, but over a 30+ year career the costs are small as compared to the benefits the degree would give you.

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby Gonzo Lubitsch » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:52 pm

T3TON wrote:If your total debt graduating from Harvard really would be 60-100k, I would go to Harvard without hesitation. I admire your debt aversion, but over a 30+ year career the costs are small as compared to the benefits the degree would give you.


I mean, 60-100k means selling my house, spending all of my liquid assets, making money in the summers, and a little help from my incredibly frugal and debt averse parents. I have been out of undergrad working successfully for 5 years. The transition to law is not about the money, but the opportunity cost for me to leave the path I am on is already so high that I am hesitant to add to the bill.

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quiver

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby quiver » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:55 pm

Gonzo Lubitsch wrote:
T3TON wrote:If your total debt graduating from Harvard really would be 60-100k, I would go to Harvard without hesitation. I admire your debt aversion, but over a 30+ year career the costs are small as compared to the benefits the degree would give you.


I mean, 60-100k means selling my house, spending all of my liquid assets, making money in the summers, and a little help from my incredibly frugal and debt averse parents. I have been out of undergrad working successfully for 5 years. The transition to law is not about the money, but the opportunity cost for me to leave the path I am on is already so high that I am hesitant to add to the bill.

Yeah, so let's wait for berk money first. HLS is certainly defensible for 60-100k in debt, but it seems like you have to do a lot to get it down to that price.

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby Gonzo Lubitsch » Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:02 pm

quiver wrote:Yeah, so let's wait for berk money first. HLS is certainly defensible for 60-100k in debt, but it seems like you have to do a lot to get it down to that price.


For sure, not wildly hopeful on that front. The TLS hive mind seems to think Berk is going to be giving light scholarships. I think I would have jumped on the Stanford Debt Express, but they hit me with a ding last week.

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Re: Best Choice for Fed. District Court 9th Circuit

Postby Gonzo Lubitsch » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:13 pm

Hey all, thanks for talking this through with me a while back. Berkeley came back with a goose egg (and not the golden variety). I visited all three schools and made the decision to go all in for Harvard. Good luck to everyone else out there still grappling with tough life choices! I know it was a huge relief for me once I switched from the mindset of *must make decision* to *get ready for the first day of school*



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