3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

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3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:07 pm

CCN, top 5%, published, no LR

2011: D. Ct. (not SDNY, but close)
2012: CoA (2/9/DC)

Happy to answer some questions about this crazy clerkship application cycle.

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vanwinkle
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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:18 pm

Wait. You've already got a clerkship for 2012 lined up?

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby GeePee » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:19 pm

Thanks for taking questions.

Could you talk about your publication process? When did you start, how did you find a topic, and were you affiliated with the journal that published your work?

Also, how do you assess the relative value of publication in the clerkship process?

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:21 pm

vanwinkle wrote:Wait. You've already got a clerkship for 2012 lined up?


Yep

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby spondee » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Wait. You've already got a clerkship for 2012 lined up?


Yep


Wow. Were you interviewing for both simultaneously?

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:28 pm

GeePee wrote:Thanks for taking questions.

Could you talk about your publication process? When did you start, how did you find a topic, and were you affiliated with the journal that published your work?

Also, how do you assess the relative value of publication in the clerkship process?


Sure. For me, picking a general topic was pretty easy. I took a few interesting seminars and chose to write on an issue that we touched on, but did not thoroughly discuss, in class. If you can't come up with something, professors are usually willing to help out, especially in small seminar classes.

No, I published in a different school's journal (submitted through Expresso). I think publishing helped me get the CoA clerkship, but the district court judges didn't seem to care all that much.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:33 pm

spondee wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Wait. You've already got a clerkship for 2012 lined up?


Yep


Wow. Were you interviewing for both simultaneously?


Yes, but I wasn't planning on it. This was the general sequence of events (happened to a few people I know):

Me: "Hi, I'd like to clerk for you next year"
D. Ct. judge: "Sure, sounds great"
CoA judge: "Well, I like your resume, but I really prefer hiring former clerks or people with some experience at a firm. Also, I don't have any spots open until 2012"
Me: "Well, it just so happens that I will be clerking on a D. Ct. next year. What do you think?"
CoA judge: "Super, your're hired for 2012"

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:50 pm

When did you submit to expresso / start your article (since you said it originated from a seminar idea)?

Also, why no LR? Were your grades good enough that you didn't feel you needed it, or did you not make it but kicked ass as a 2L to get to top 5%?

And damn, fewer CoA spots available for the class of '12.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When did you submit to expresso / start your article (since you said it originated from a seminar idea)?

Also, why no LR? Were your grades good enough that you didn't feel you needed it, or did you not make it but kicked ass as a 2L to get to top 5%?


I submitted in early March. I wrote the article for a seminar in the fall, got comments from some profs, and tweaked it before submitting in March.

I graded-on to LR but declined. I worked instead (needed the $$). I guess I could have done LR, too, but not without sacrificing every minute of my free time. I wasn't willing to do that.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:And damn, fewer CoA spots available for the class of '12.


Honestly, I think I only know a couple of kids who got CoA clerkships for 2011. More and more, the CoA judges (esp. in the competitive circuits) are hiring their clerks a year early and asking them to do a D. Ct. clerkship, or sometimes work at a firm, before clerking on the CoA. It might be different for less competitive circuits, but I don't know because I applied fairly narrowly.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:10 pm

What do you think were the biggest factors for getting your clerkships? Was it grades (and did you do about the same 1L and 2L)? Prof recommendations? The publication?

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What do you think were the biggest factors for getting your clerkships? Was it grades (and did you do about the same 1L and 2L)? Prof recommendations? The publication?


Grades/LR/School are pretty much the universal "first cut" screen. Let's say I applied to about 100 judges. My grades/school combo probably got my app pulled from the pile quite a bit of the time, lets say 30%/30 apps. However, a lot of judges require LR, so that knocks off about 10-15 apps. Now I'm in the final pile for about 15-20 judges. From there, prof calls make a big difference. I got two CoA interviews, and both judges mentioned that one of my profs called and spoke highly of me. I got a few district court interviews without any prof calls, but that was kind of random. One judge like my work experience, but other than that, I don't know.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:08 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Congrats dude. Also, I agree with what you said about competitive COAs focusing more and more on hiring people two years out. The pool of extremely talented alumni available to apply before the hiring plan season has contributed to this, but there are other factors involved as well.


Yup. Some COA judges will also hire in tandem with certain district judges. So for instance, this past year 3/4 Katzmann clerks (2nd circuit) were former Rakoff clerks (SDNY).

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby XxSpyKEx » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:37 pm

Okay, so you're not on law review, but are you on another journal? If you are on another journal, are you on the executive board for that journal?

What else is there that you aren't telling us (I think there has to be more here than going to CCN, top 5%, and being published)? What type of past work experience do you have (e.g. military?)? What else did you do in law school (e.g. moot court, other extracurriculars)? What type of summer work experiences did you have? What types of relationships did you have with professors that wrote you recommendations? Did they make calls for you? Etc, etc.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:06 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:Okay, so you're not on law review, but are you on another journal? If you are on another journal, are you on the executive board for that journal?

What else is there that you aren't telling us (I think there has to be more here than going to CCN, top 5%, and being published)? What type of past work experience do you have (e.g. military?)? What else did you do in law school (e.g. moot court, other extracurriculars)? What type of summer work experiences did you have? What types of relationships did you have with professors that wrote you recommendations? Did they make calls for you? Etc, etc.


No journal, no moot court, no military, no Rhodes scholar or anything comparable. Worked in government 1L summer and at a firm 2L summer. I'd guess my recs were great, but I'm not sure (I never read them). I have some interesting pre-law school work experience. As I mentioned, prof calls were a huge factor in my CoA interviews. However, I got the D. Ct. interviews and clerkship without the benefit of any prof calls. Overall, I think people overestimate the importance of specific credentials (journal, including LR; moot court; name of your firm, etc.) when it comes to getting clerkships. Judges want to work with "the best," so you have to prove you're "the best" in whatever way you can. Sure, being EIC of Harvard Law Review is one way to prove you're top-notch, but there are other ways, too.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:
No journal, no moot court, no military, no Rhodes scholar or anything comparable. Worked in government 1L summer and at a firm 2L summer. I'd guess my recs were great, but I'm not sure (I never read them). I have some interesting pre-law school work experience. As I mentioned, prof calls were a huge factor in my CoA interviews. However, I got the D. Ct. interviews and clerkship without the benefit of any prof calls. Overall, I think people overestimate the importance of specific credentials (journal, including LR; moot court; name of your firm, etc.) when it comes to getting clerkships. Judges want to work with "the best," so you have to prove you're "the best" in whatever way you can. Sure, being EIC of Harvard Law Review is one way to prove you're top-notch, but there are other ways, too.


Yeah, many people treat LR as a de facto requirement for a good clerkship, but it's really not (though it certainly does help). I worked for a second circuit judge this summer (not a "feeder," but well-respected and has sent several clerks to the Supreme Court). Of the four clerks, 3 were not on LR at their respective schools.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:42 am

Everyone should remember the almost-complete crapshoot that the clerkship process is. I got a COA job despite not being at a top school, with a judge who has no connections to my school, and no professors called to tell him to look at me. It's not like I'm 'that awesome' in any other aspect, either (on LR and top 10 but not EIC or anything).

For some reason, he read my application and found something he liked (still not sure what, exactly, but I think he was one of the few judges who actually reads letters of rec at the early stages).

Meanwhile, classmates with almost the exact same credentials haven't gotten even a single call. I feel bad telling them I got a job...it's like being in a wreck where I'm the only one who survived: I feel great but also extremely lucky.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby XxSpyKEx » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:Okay, so you're not on law review, but are you on another journal? If you are on another journal, are you on the executive board for that journal?

What else is there that you aren't telling us (I think there has to be more here than going to CCN, top 5%, and being published)? What type of past work experience do you have (e.g. military?)? What else did you do in law school (e.g. moot court, other extracurriculars)? What type of summer work experiences did you have? What types of relationships did you have with professors that wrote you recommendations? Did they make calls for you? Etc, etc.


No journal, no moot court, no military, no Rhodes scholar or anything comparable. Worked in government 1L summer and at a firm 2L summer. I'd guess my recs were great, but I'm not sure (I never read them). I have some interesting pre-law school work experience. As I mentioned, prof calls were a huge factor in my CoA interviews. However, I got the D. Ct. interviews and clerkship without the benefit of any prof calls. Overall, I think people overestimate the importance of specific credentials (journal, including LR; moot court; name of your firm, etc.) when it comes to getting clerkships. Judges want to work with "the best," so you have to prove you're "the best" in whatever way you can. Sure, being EIC of Harvard Law Review is one way to prove you're top-notch, but there are other ways, too.


Wow, congrats man. All things considered, you kicked some serious ass this clerkship cycle.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:32 pm

Thanks a lot. This was a brutal cycle, especially for 3L's applying on plan, so I feel very fortunate. My D. Ct. judge received over 1,500 applications for a single spot (he had filled the other spots with alumni). Some of my CCN LR friends got shut out, although they applied fairly narrowly. A lot of it is luck, but you also have to "play the game" well. In other words, when a judge calls, schedule your interview immediately and for the next available interview slot. So many judges give offers on a rolling basis. If you wait, you will likely miss the boat. This happened to a friend of mine. Super competitive stats (editor on LR, good grades, judicial externship w/ top judge), so when "less competitive judges" called, he scheduled his interviews for several days later, hoping to get calls from the "better judges" first. Long story short, only one or two "better judges" called, he didn't get an offer from those judges, and the other judges who really wanted him had already filled their slots. Great guy, great stats, no clerkship.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:38 pm

Also, this has been mentioned many times, but professor calls/recs are crucial (maybe necessary) for getting a competitive CoA clerkship. Your best shot at landing a top clerkship is to have one influential prof call a judge he knows and say "Student X is my best student. You should take a look at her." That beats LR, publications, writing sample, grades, etc.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby 00TREX00 » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:15 pm

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Last edited by 00TREX00 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:51 pm

Pretty sure OP is at Chicago, based on some of the judicial listserve things going on lately.

That said, several CoA judges were hiring for 2012 this year. Plan? Lolwutplan.

Edit: Also, this clerkship cycle was brutal. I got a CoA, but I didn't get a single call from any other judges. Granted, Chicago is retarded and only lets you apply to 50...

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby twistedwrister » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:59 pm

OP here. Thanks for the well wishes. Yes, my profs really got behind me for the CoA clerkship. I got two CoA interviews (and two offers), both from judges whom my profs called. I do think publishing helped. One of the CoA judges asked if I had a copy of my article, which I did. He read it while I was meeting with his clerks, and when I came back to see him, he offered me the job. I guess the motto is (1) be prepared, and (2) write well.

edit: decided to out myself to dispel the Chicago talk...

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:33 pm

twistedwrister wrote:OP here. Thanks for the well wishes. Yes, my profs really got behind me for the CoA clerkship. I got two CoA interviews (and two offers), both from judges whom my profs called. I do think publishing helped. One of the CoA judges asked if I had a copy of my article, which I did. He read it while I was meeting with his clerks, and when I came back to see him, he offered me the job. I guess the motto is (1) be prepared, and (2) write well.

edit: decided to out myself to dispel the Chicago talk...


How'd you build the prof relationships such that they'd call for you? I figure office hours will get a good recommendations, but how do you get them to recommend you as the best? Is it just talking with them and then owning in the class?

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Re: 3L, two clerkships (2011/12), taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:How'd you build the prof relationships such that they'd call for you? I figure office hours will get a good recommendations, but how do you get them to recommend you as the best? Is it just talking with them and then owning in the class?


(for clarification, I'm not the OP). One thing that helped me a lot was going to pick up my exams after the next semester began. The professors said that almost nobody did it, so it gave me a chance to talk one-on-one with the professor about classes, and if you did well on the exam, they'll remember your name and face. After that, you can come by and talk with them whenever you want.

One of my best recommenders was a professor that didn't even know my name DURING class--we started talking when I picked up my exam and have talked frequently since then.




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