Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

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PLATONiC
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Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby PLATONiC » Tue May 18, 2010 2:41 am

In other words, if you're coming from a T14 law school, and decided to pursue a clerkship that happens to be something other than SCOTUS or state supreme, would it be better not to pursue the clerkship if the ultimate goal is to join the litigation staff at biglaw?

Put more generally: How much are clerkships valued at law firms?

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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 18, 2010 6:40 am

oops, didn't mean to post anon
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thesealocust
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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby thesealocust » Tue May 18, 2010 6:40 am

oops
Last edited by thesealocust on Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Thane Messinger
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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby Thane Messinger » Tue May 18, 2010 6:49 am

PLATONiC wrote:In other words, if you're coming from a T14 law school, and decided to pursue a clerkship that happens to be something other than SCOTUS or state supreme, would it be better not to pursue the clerkship if the ultimate goal is to join the litigation staff at biglaw?

Put more generally: How much are clerkships valued at law firms?


Clerkships are valued, for several reasons. Among them are two key benefits: learning how the law actually works, and learning from a respected senior member of the bar (i.e., the judge). A third benefit is that intangible-but-no-less-valuable subjective key: getting to know who's who.

Yes, there is a hierarchy here as elsewhere, but it would be unusual for a clerkship not to add value. Unless you're giving up something of greater value--boating with the Solicitor General, per chance?--a clerkship is almost always a good deal, especially for those interested in litigation.

One litigator associate I knew got his job from his boss, a judge. He was a clerk for a bankruptcy judge. Not high on the federal totem pole, to be sure, but high enough. (And we didn't do a lot of bankruptcy in those days, so it wasn't a pure power play.) It's a bit of an exaggeration to state that all it took was a phone call . . . but that's pretty close. It was the judge's say-so, and as the associate was otherwise presentable, that was good enough.

I hope this helps,

Thane.

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ggocat
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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby ggocat » Tue May 18, 2010 9:54 am

Hiring decisions are not made in a black & white way; they don't necessarily take your resume and give you points for everything on it and then hire the applicant with the highest score. In other words, it is difficult to measure the tangible benefit of a state clerkship compared to a federal clerkship, other than knowing a federal clerkship is generally "better."

But a good rule of thumb is that no clerkship will make you much more competitive for a biglaw job than you were before the clerkship. This is likely why you will often see state trial level clerks go into smaller firms; they often do not have the creds for biglaw (although I do know someone who summered at biglaw, got deferred, and then did a state trial level clerkship). This is also likely why many federal clerks end up in biglaw; they were already competitive for it. There is a presumption that the creds for a federal clerkship are greater than for biglaw. So clerkship to biglaw is an easy and understandable progression. (Note: I'm not saying, though, that a clerkship won't open any doors; some firms prefer to hire clerks from certain courts.)

EDIT: So in conclusion, if you're contemplating a clerkship primarily to add "value" to your resume, then I think you should probably not do it. Instead, focus on obtaining your end goal.

Renzo
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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby Renzo » Tue May 18, 2010 11:22 am

All of the above is true, but some firms don't pay clerkship bonuses for non-federal, non-supreme court clerkships.

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SteelReserve
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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby SteelReserve » Tue May 18, 2010 11:27 am

The point is somewhat moot if you are asking whether you can miss 2L OCI, then become a federal clerk, then get into biglaw post-clerkship.

It's moot because by all measures getting a federal clerkship is TOUGHER than getting into biglaw. I know at my school the # of students who got into big/midlaw is far greater than the # who got into federal clerkships.

Clerking is just the ultimate thing to do which is why it's so competitive. Btw the decent federal salary and the clerkship bonus from a big-firm, it's silly to not want to take a nice easy 9 to 5 job as a sort of 'eye of the hurricane' between law school and biglaw.

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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby thesealocust » Tue May 18, 2010 12:04 pm

oops
Last edited by thesealocust on Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SteelReserve
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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby SteelReserve » Tue May 18, 2010 12:18 pm

all clerkships are different, but many of them aren't even close to 9-5 gigs. And I'm not just talking about kozinski's 80 hour weeks, either.


I suppose I admittedly know nothing about Circuit clerkships, I was talking district court. Maybe you also reference SDNY district clerkships which are their own world.

But I live in a populous coastal state and I know a lot of fed clerks and it really is a 9 to 5 job and they don't have the stress of 'taking work home' with them. I suppose your mileage may vary depending on location. But NY ain't the whole wide world ;)

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TTT-LS
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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby TTT-LS » Tue May 18, 2010 12:28 pm

,
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bceagles182
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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby bceagles182 » Tue May 18, 2010 12:28 pm

I have a hard time believing that the thread topic title is true. If you are clerking, at a bare minimum, you should be networking. If the judge you are working with likes you and has contacts that can help you (both of which are fairly likely), it certainly wouldn't be entirely useless.
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ggocat
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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby ggocat » Tue May 18, 2010 12:31 pm

SteelReserve wrote: it's silly to not want to take a nice easy 9 to 5 job as a sort of 'eye of the hurricane' between law school and biglaw.

Although I think your other points are correct, the number of hours worked varies incredibly by judge. Some judges may keep less stringent hours, but many clerks at all levels work more than 9-5. (I've known some that worked often 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. or left early and went back to work after dinner.)

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PLATONiC
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Re: Non-Federal/Supreme Clerkship = Useless for Biglaw????

Postby PLATONiC » Wed May 19, 2010 1:18 am

I'm very interested in litigation, and I have a feeling that I won't be work in a courtroom much throughout the first few years as an associate in biglaw. I really want to understand how everything works, and even a state court clerkship will help deliver that. My primary concern is that I won't be able to land a job at biglaw.

1. During interviews on OCI, would I be able to bid for firms and inform the interviewers that I've applied for a clerkship that happens not to be federal/supreme?
2. Would it hurt my chances of employment if I were to tell the employer that I'm in the process of applying for a clerkship at OCI?
3. How would the interviewer's attitude differ if I said that I'm pursuing a federal/appellate clerkship?




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