Is clerking worth it?

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D Brooks
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Is clerking worth it?

Postby D Brooks » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:44 pm

Is the 50k market-rate CoA clerkship bonus and the $115 in foregone salary for the year worth it? Simply put, does the learning/networking experience and prestige the clerkship provides make up for the money one could have made in biglaw that year?

For full disclosure: I'm an unabashed prestige whore.

fsohn
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby fsohn » Sat May 01, 2010 12:00 am

D Brooks wrote:Is the 50k market-rate CoA clerkship bonus and the $115 in foregone salary for the year worth it? Simply put, does the learning/networking experience and prestige the clerkship provides make up for the money one could have made in biglaw that year?

For full disclosure: I'm an unabashed prestige whore.


Simply put, if you are looking at everything in dollar and dollar-equivalent terms, you have bought into the absurd just-so-story that is modern American economics.

Go smoke a pipe, drink a bourbon, and think about it. Then make a choice, and do it. You'll be dead in 70 years time anyway.

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DerrickRose
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby DerrickRose » Sat May 01, 2010 12:07 am

D Brooks wrote:Is the 50k market-rate CoA clerkship bonus and the $115 in foregone salary for the year worth it? Simply put, does the learning/networking experience and prestige the clerkship provides make up for the money one could have made in biglaw that year?


Well for one thing, a CoA clerkship is a hell of a thing to have on your resume. Its not unlike LR, or Order of the Coif or whatever, it really shows that you are the best and brightest.

Secondly, even though the pay isn't great, its still a heck of a way to spend a year. You basically get to be an appellate court judge, with none of the responsibility. The hours are good, the work is interesting, and you'll meet a lot of impressive people.

And thirdly, and this never gets brought up on TLS with regards to any subject, I imagine its a great professional development opportunity. Being able to watch and learn from a federal appellate judge every day would surely be of more help to your legal career than a year of 2100 hours billed poring over meaningless paperwork.

For full disclosure: I'm an unabashed prestige whore.

Lol. I gathered.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Sat May 01, 2010 12:14 am

D Brooks wrote:Is the 50k market-rate CoA clerkship bonus and the $115 in foregone salary for the year worth it? Simply put, does the learning/networking experience and prestige the clerkship provides make up for the money one could have made in biglaw that year?

For full disclosure: I'm an unabashed prestige whore.


Depends in part on where you are going to be clerking and what you're giving up for a year. But to quote a hiring partner that has recruited at my school... "working for a judge is never a bad thing."

Most firms like it and will happily hold your offer for a year if that's something you want to do. In fact, sometimes a slightly more prestigious firm will hire you because you've clerked. So to put it simply, it's considered an honor, more or less.

If you're into "prestige" then clerking is often considered just that (to some degree, but especially so if you land a federal appellate court). If you're after $$$ explicitly, then maybe it's not for you. It's something you should do because you want to.

Also... I'm told by one guy who clerked that it was a great opportunity to learn what the more successful lawyers did practice-wise. How they handled things, and overall how judges view things... this is never a bad thing to know about.

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D Brooks
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby D Brooks » Sat May 01, 2010 12:16 am

I wouldn't clerk if it wasn't a federal CoA.

Where is TTT-LS? Anyone who is actually clerking this upcoming fall have any opinions.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Sat May 01, 2010 12:20 am

D Brooks wrote:I wouldn't clerk if it wasn't a federal CoA.

Where is TTT-LS? Anyone who is actually clerking this upcoming fall have any opinions.


At least in my mind... if you land a federal CoA, then it's a no-brainer. Go clerk and be happy. Federal CoA is more competitive than biglaw, as far as I know, but in a different way (fwiw, the Supreme Court only takes people who have already done a federal clerkship, so you get to be a part of a much smaller pool as well if you continue and compete for that).

I don't know of any 3Ls doing that on TLS right off the bat. Most of the people I've met involved in clerking are people I've met personally. I'm sure there have to be some on here though. Come on, where are you guys?? I'm kind of interested in this topic as well.

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pany1985
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby pany1985 » Sat May 01, 2010 12:36 am

Clerking is probably also a good idea if you dream of getting into academia someday

Anonymous Loser
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby Anonymous Loser » Sat May 01, 2010 12:40 am

Is anyone actually still offering a $50k COA bonus?

270910
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby 270910 » Sat May 01, 2010 1:07 am

D Brooks wrote:I wouldn't clerk if it wasn't a federal CoA.

Where is TTT-LS? Anyone who is actually clerking this upcoming fall have any opinions.


Comments like these are hillarious. If you're a 0L or a 1L, there's no reason why you should know the ins and outs of clerkships, so I don't mean to be too critical. But this is basically what you need to do to have a fighting (>50%) chance at landing a CoA clerkship:

T4-T20 or so: Be within the top handful of students at your school

T14: Be in the top 5% of the class

HYS: Not certain, but probably still to 10-20%

You can speculate, you can fantasize, you can pretend, you can plan. There's nothing wrong with any of that. But the level of competition involved in getting a Federal Court of Appeals Clerkship makes it play like theatre of the absurd for a 0L on the internet to start a post saying basically "LOLOOLOLOLOllOLOL CKELKING DOESNT PAY GOOD ROFL WUTS WITH THAT RITE? I WOULDNT DO THAT SHIT UNLESS IT WERE AN APPALET COURT FUCKIN' TTT DISTRICT COURTS WHO DO THEY THINK I AM?"

Nothing is harder to accomplish, better for your resume, better for your job prospects, better for you education, better for your network, more prestigious, more entertaining, better for your professional development, sexier, etc. than a Federal Court of Appeals Clerkship. It's the ultimate realistic accomplishment.

But yeah man, you're too cool. I mean, whatever. Guys in your high school clerked for federal judges all the time. It was no big deal.

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D Brooks
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby D Brooks » Sat May 01, 2010 1:13 am

disco_barred wrote:
D Brooks wrote:I wouldn't clerk if it wasn't a federal CoA.

Where is TTT-LS? Anyone who is actually clerking this upcoming fall have any opinions.


Comments like these are hillarious. If you're a 0L or a 1L, there's no reason why you should know the ins and outs of clerkships, so I don't mean to be too critical. But this is basically what you need to do to have a fighting (>50%) chance at landing a CoA clerkship:

T4-T20 or so: Be within the top handful of students at your school

T14: Be in the top 5% of the class

HYS: Not certain, but probably still to 10-20%

You can speculate, you can fantasize, you can pretend, you can plan. There's nothing wrong with any of that. But the level of competition involved in getting a Federal Court of Appeals Clerkship makes it play like theatre of the absurd for a 0L on the internet to start a post saying basically "LOLOOLOLOLOllOLOL CKELKING DOESNT PAY GOOD ROFL WUTS WITH THAT RITE? I WOULDNT DO THAT SHIT UNLESS IT WERE AN APPALET COURT FUCKIN' TTT DISTRICT COURTS WHO DO THEY THINK I AM?"

Nothing is harder to accomplish, better for your resume, better for your job prospects, better for you education, better for your network, more prestigious, more entertaining, better for your professional development, sexier, etc. than a Federal Court of Appeals Clerkship. It's the ultimate realistic accomplishment.

But yeah man, you're too cool. I mean, whatever. Guys in your high school clerked for federal judges all the time. It was no big deal.


You're awesome, cool.

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DerrickRose
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby DerrickRose » Sat May 01, 2010 1:29 am

Hey man, prestige whoring is what we do here.

Speaking of which, I just want to point out that in CoA clerkships, the 10th circuit is SO TTT.

If you don't want to be doing doc review in a van down by the river ITE its 2nd/7th/9th or bust, MAYBE DC w/$$$.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Sat May 01, 2010 1:33 am

I wasn't going to put it quite that way, but basically disco_barred states it pretty clearly. If you get a clerkship for the Federal CoA, you do it. Simple as that. Even in biglaw, you're not going to meet all that many people who got one. Even amongst your professors, not all of them will have done it (though a much larger percentage will have). It's an honor in every way within the legal field. So I guess to answer your original question, of whether clerking is worth it AND you're not willing to do it unless it is one that prestigious, then the answer is definitively yes.

It might even be worth it to do a district court one (*gasp). Oftentimes that is a springboard to getting a CoA one if you didn't quite make the cut the first time around.

I think one of the best places to start is by talking to your professors who have clerked. If you are attending MVPB (like your profile says), you should have a fair share of profs who did (at my school there are 5 who clerked for someone on the S.Ct. at one time or another, and a few more who did CoA). It's probably the most accessible resource you have. However, you might be cautious about asking them for biglaw advice as well. Professors are often the types of people who give up a ballin' biglaw job because they wanted to do something else.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Sat May 01, 2010 1:35 am

DerrickRose wrote:Speaking of which, I just want to point out that in CoA clerkships, the 10th circuit is SO TTT.


Hehe, speak for yourself. If I got a CoA in the 10th, I'd take it. Not that many people seem to want to do legal shenanigans in the mountains for some reason...
Last edited by You Gotta Have Faith on Sat May 01, 2010 2:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

Mr. Pablo
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby Mr. Pablo » Sat May 01, 2010 1:37 am

You're a prestige whore? What the fuck are you thinking if you are considering money in the pursuit of prestige? Sure, you are missing out on the possibility of making a little extra money, but the status is worth it, right?
Stop with the dumbfuckery. A federal CoA clerkship is an invaluable learning experience and career opportunity; there are not many people who have that credential. To be a working member of our judicial system at nearly its highest level is an honor and distinction, to shun it for a few thousand dollars would expose you as an ambulance-chasing schmuck.

/not trying to be a dick, but really.

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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby D. H2Oman » Sat May 01, 2010 1:46 am

D Brooks wrote:
disco_barred wrote:
D Brooks wrote:I wouldn't clerk if it wasn't a federal CoA.

Where is TTT-LS? Anyone who is actually clerking this upcoming fall have any opinions.


Comments like these are hillarious. If you're a 0L or a 1L, there's no reason why you should know the ins and outs of clerkships, so I don't mean to be too critical. But this is basically what you need to do to have a fighting (>50%) chance at landing a CoA clerkship:

T4-T20 or so: Be within the top handful of students at your school

T14: Be in the top 5% of the class

HYS: Not certain, but probably still to 10-20%

You can speculate, you can fantasize, you can pretend, you can plan. There's nothing wrong with any of that. But the level of competition involved in getting a Federal Court of Appeals Clerkship makes it play like theatre of the absurd for a 0L on the internet to start a post saying basically "LOLOOLOLOLOllOLOL CKELKING DOESNT PAY GOOD ROFL WUTS WITH THAT RITE? I WOULDNT DO THAT SHIT UNLESS IT WERE AN APPALET COURT FUCKIN' TTT DISTRICT COURTS WHO DO THEY THINK I AM?"

Nothing is harder to accomplish, better for your resume, better for your job prospects, better for you education, better for your network, more prestigious, more entertaining, better for your professional development, sexier, etc. than a Federal Court of Appeals Clerkship. It's the ultimate realistic accomplishment.

But yeah man, you're too cool. I mean, whatever. Guys in your high school clerked for federal judges all the time. It was no big deal.


You're awesome, cool.


He is awesome, he just thoroughly pwned you.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Sat May 01, 2010 2:36 am

disco_barred wrote: "LOLOOLOLOLOllOLOL CKELKING DOESNT PAY GOOD ROFL WUTS WITH THAT RITE? I WOULDNT DO THAT SHIT UNLESS IT WERE AN APPALET COURT FUCKIN' TTT DISTRICT COURTS WHO DO THEY THINK I AM?"

Disco is right throughout his post, but particularly with this comment - this is how your post came across. It is highly unlikely you know just what clerking entails or how difficult this is to achieve a District Court clerkship, let alone a COA clerkship, if you're asking a question like this. That's okay, but now you know that Article III clerkships are not a sort of fallback opportunity - they are immensely valuable and highly sought after, and you'll want to be LR and around top 5-10% at a T10 to have any sort of realistic shot at a COA level clerkship.

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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 01, 2010 2:50 am

What would it take to get a COA clerkship coming from Yale?

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Sat May 01, 2010 2:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:What would it take to get a COA clerkship coming from Yale?


Especially since Yale doesn't really do grades the same way that most law schools do, I'm not totally sure. But my understanding is that to get one directly out of even Yale you'd still want to at least be on a journal. Beyond that, I'm not totally sure. 40% or so of their class does a clerkship, and not all of them are CoA (though I'm sure many who do a District one go on to do CoA). Do your own figuring, or ask a Yale Law person :D

I don't actually know nor do I claim to. These are mere observations.

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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby Tofu » Sat May 01, 2010 3:48 am

You Gotta Have Faith wrote:At least in my mind... if you land a federal CoA, then it's a no-brainer. Go clerk and be happy. Federal CoA is more competitive than biglaw, as far as I know, but in a different way (fwiw, the Supreme Court only takes people who have already done a federal clerkship, so you get to be a part of a much smaller pool as well if you continue and compete for that).


Nahhh, there are exceptions (i can think of one atm)

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Sat May 01, 2010 4:36 am

Tofu wrote:
You Gotta Have Faith wrote:At least in my mind... if you land a federal CoA, then it's a no-brainer. Go clerk and be happy. Federal CoA is more competitive than biglaw, as far as I know, but in a different way (fwiw, the Supreme Court only takes people who have already done a federal clerkship, so you get to be a part of a much smaller pool as well if you continue and compete for that).


Nahhh, there are exceptions (i can think of one atm)


Really?! Please do tell. I was under the impression that was more or less common practice (though not the written rule, per se).

I'm open to hearing about it, just didn't realize it didn't have to always be that way. The S.Ct. clerks I've met all did something else first.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Sat May 01, 2010 4:36 am

.
Last edited by You Gotta Have Faith on Sat May 01, 2010 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Sat May 01, 2010 4:36 am

.
Last edited by You Gotta Have Faith on Sat May 01, 2010 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tofu
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby Tofu » Sat May 01, 2010 4:48 am

You Gotta Have Faith wrote:
Tofu wrote:
You Gotta Have Faith wrote:At least in my mind... if you land a federal CoA, then it's a no-brainer. Go clerk and be happy. Federal CoA is more competitive than biglaw, as far as I know, but in a different way (fwiw, the Supreme Court only takes people who have already done a federal clerkship, so you get to be a part of a much smaller pool as well if you continue and compete for that).


Nahhh, there are exceptions (i can think of one atm)


Really?! Please do tell. I was under the impression that was more or less common practice (though not the written rule, per se).

I'm open to hearing about it, just didn't realize it didn't have to always be that way. The S.Ct. clerks I've met all did something else first.


http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/samaha

haha it seems like it's basically impossible to clerk for the supreme court after having only done a state clerkship, as samaha was on the law review and was rewarded the sears prize and fay diploma

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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 01, 2010 4:54 am

I'm a 3L doing a COA clerkship in the fall. People have already pretty much covered the reasons to clerk. It's great experience. You'll get to see a ton of lawyering and then have a sitting federal judge give you his or her personal opinion on what the lawyers did right or wrong. You get great practice writing. You're given extremely high level work (often drafting opinions). You have a mentoring relationship with a highly regarded and well connected judge that often lasts most of your career. And of course it looks good on the resume.

I'm a little surprised with the focus on COA clerkships. Though I'm doing COA, the difference in prestige is not that big, and district courts are probably better learning experiences for anyone who wants to litigate. District court clerkships are still extremely hard to get. I would definitely not pass up either experience. I'm thinking of applying for a district clerkship for the following year.

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PSLaplace
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Re: Is clerking worth it?

Postby PSLaplace » Sat May 01, 2010 5:47 am

Curious hair-splitter here - what is the tier list for federal CoA clerkships?

I know the 2nd, 9th, and DC Circuits are generally the most competitive. Are the rest of them roughly equally competitive (though I'd imagine the 7th is ahead of the others)? And what about the Federal Circuit?




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