Undergrad Federal Appellate Judicial Externship as soft factor?

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Undergrad Federal Appellate Judicial Externship as soft factor?

Postby Aquinas » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:09 pm

Hi all,

When I was an undergrad, I spent a summer working as a judicial extern for a federal appellate judge with a pretty good reputation as feeder for Supreme Court clerkships. I obviously wasn't writing opinions, though I did get to produce a lot of other writing (think speeches, inter-chambers memos to concurring judges, etc.) for the judge, who is writing one of my LORs. I'm curious as to how this experience might be viewed as a soft factor in law school admissions--can anyone shed some light on that subject? Where might such an externship rank in the panoply of law school soft factors--I know it's considerably less impressive than a Rhodes or a Marshall or something of that ilk, but is this still the sort of thing that would intrigue admissions officers?

Thanks much in advance.

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Re: Undergrad Federal Appellate Judicial Externship as soft factor?

Postby armc808 » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:45 pm

As a disclaimer I'm also applying this cycle, so I'm learning the intricacies of the admissions process with you. From my experience talking to admissions officers, pre-law advisers, and friends who are current law students, the admissions committee doesn't really seem value one kind of professional experience over another. So while it's great you were able to extern for a prominent judge, I don't think the fact that it was a legal externship will necessarily give you a leg up over someone else who brings with them a non-legal professional background. I think the important thing to highlight in your externship experience is not simply that it was law-related or tied to Supreme Court clerkships, but rather how you were able to contribute something of substance during your time in the judge's chambers, or better yet, how that experience contributed to your decision to apply to law school. You constantly want to be thinking about how your previous experiences have shaped you into the person you are today, and finding ways of showing that through your application. If you can do that with respect to your externship, I think it will come across as an intriguing soft factor in your application.


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Re: Undergrad Federal Appellate Judicial Externship as soft factor?

Postby grades?? » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:52 pm

Not gonna help

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Re: Undergrad Federal Appellate Judicial Externship as soft factor?

Postby mjb447 » Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:02 pm

Agreed that it won't help much, although it's good that you got a LOR out of it. I suppose it demonstrates that you've been interested in law for a few years, but otherwise it doesn't say much because (1) undergrad externships aren't that hard to come by, particularly if unpaid and (2) most undergrad externs don't do that much helpful work for chambers.

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