Weighing clerkship placement in LS decision

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Weighing clerkship placement in LS decision

Postby airwrecka » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:24 pm

I wasn't sure if I should post this in this forum or the Ask a Student/Graduate forum, so please move, mods, if necessary.

My question is simple: how much emphasis or weight should I give a school's clerkship placement/reputation when choosing a law school?

I know I want to do PI work long term, but I am very, very interested in doing a clerkship (or two) immediately after school/before starting the PI-work.

Since a clerkship is such a short-term thing, should I focus less on clerkship placements when choosing where to go to school and more on the factors that will affect my career long-term (and money, obviously)? Or is a clerkship so important that clerkship placement should be a huge factor in my decision (assuming I really want to do one)?

Thanks for any advice! For what it's worth, my two top choices at this point are NYU and Michigan. I've already posted a thread specifically about those two schools elsewhere, so I'm not looking for advice on which school to choose, unless you feel very strongly one way or the other as it relates to clerking (or think I should be considering a different school entirely--I've been accepted to most of the T14).


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Re: Weighing clerkship placement in LS decision

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:27 pm

A lot of the clerkship factors you want to consider aren't really available to you (which judges know which professors, what their GPA cutoffs are for those particular schools, etc.) So of the factors you do have access to, no. Both schools will give you access to federal clerkships if you place well in your class.

In terms of a strong preference one way or the other, take a good look at both school's LRAP programs, because those are absolutely crucial for a PI track.

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Re: Weighing clerkship placement in LS decision

Postby mjb447 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:37 pm

Yeah, as between those two schools I wouldn't think about clerkship placement that much, if only because they aren't THAT far apart in terms of outcomes if you do reasonably well.

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Re: Weighing clerkship placement in LS decision

Postby RSN » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:16 pm

Your considerations in choosing schools within the T14 should be

1. Cost




16. Clerkship placement

Between the two schools you named the difference in the number of people getting clerkships each year is maybe in the low double digits? I could be off a bit, but it's certainly nothing drastic. So the short answer to your question is, very little.

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Re: Weighing clerkship placement in LS decision

Postby Lavitz » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:48 pm

Not sure how to answer this in the abstract without knowing more about your career goals and whether a clerkship will further them. But in general, no, a clerkship is not "so important that clerkship placement should be a huge factor." You should focus on cost and which school is best for you in the long-term.

And between those two schools, there's virtually no difference in clerkship placement so the question is moot.

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Re: Weighing clerkship placement in LS decision

Postby cron1834 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:49 am

If you're so prestige-obsessed as to want to do multiple clerkships before having any idea if they'll actually be sensible for your career (this is very, very debatable), as a 0L, you'll probably just go to the higher ranked school regardless.


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Re: Weighing clerkship placement in LS decision

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:55 am

Eh, I think that's kind of unfair. The actual experience is what draws a lot of people, and I also think clerking is probably helpful for lots of PI (since PI's not corporate transactional).

I agree it shouldn't be a big factor in choosing schools, because so much of success in getting a clerkship is about what you do, not just the school name; and especially here, even if there are different percentages, I don't believe NYU and Michigan are at all measurably different. Someone who does well at either is going to have a good shot at a clerkship.

And I'm sure prestige is part of it. But to a lot of people it also just looks like a cool job.

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