thisamericanlife wrote:You state that you had about 150 judges on your list. How did you rank those judges. I have heard people use factors of geographic, past opinions, prestige, or former clerks to evaluate judges. Beyond those criterion, what else would you consider, and what factors do you think should students give more weight.
I used geography first. That's probably the easiest way to start creating a hierarchy for the judges, if you have some sort of geographical preference. And most likely you will have some sort of preference. Even if you're applying very broadly and are willing to go anywhere, I'm sure you'd prefer certain locations over others.
After that, I used all three of the other factors you mentioned, plus a couple more. I went to the Westlaw Almanac for the Federal Judiciary and looked at what attorneys had said about the judges. There's a lot of useful insight on there into the judges' personality and character, which can be tough to come by. I was really curious to know how the judges treated the attorneys, especially.
I also considered the age of the judge. This might fall into the category of "things students should give more weight," although it's totally personal preference. I assumed most younger judges would be a bit more energetic than the much older (70+) ones, which meshes better with my personality. Also, I was really interested in clerking for a judge with whom I could maintain a professional and friendly relationship after the clerkship, and of course with an older judge it's more likely that the relationship will end sooner. On the other hand, if you clerk for an older judge who's still active, they will usually be one of the most senior on the circuit, which comes with some advantages as far as case selection and what not. Just something to consider.