1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

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Borhas
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1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby Borhas » Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:43 pm

Can you point me in the right direction? I've tried a google search but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. Basically, what's the timeline for this sort of goal? What should I do/have to be competitive, etc? Do I have to have everything ready to go on Dec 1 like other "jobs?" I'd like to work for any judge in Northern California/Bay Area, not necessarily Federal or Appellate. Does working for a judge in 1L make PD offices think I'm not committed to be a PD or something? Etc...

I'll appreciate any help, or a link to the relevant threads

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traehekat
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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby traehekat » Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:59 pm

Also interested.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:05 am

Borhas wrote:Can you point me in the right direction? I've tried a google search but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. Basically, what's the timeline for this sort of goal? What should I do/have to be competitive, etc? Do I have to have everything ready to go on Dec 1 like other "jobs?" I'd like to work for any judge in Northern California/Bay Area, not necessarily Federal or Appellate. Does working for a judge in 1L make PD offices think I'm not committed to be a PD or something? Etc...

I'll appreciate any help, or a link to the relevant threads


Not sure of the timeline, but the earlier the better. (I think it’s completely up to the judge’s clerks when they want to interview – typically it’s the clerks that will hire you).

To be competitive-- it all depends on the judge and location. E.g. District Court judges in the Northern District of Illinois probably get 200-300 applications for 3 or so spots. (Competitive, but no where near the 1500+ applications each of the judges got for clerkships.) State court judges are a different ball game. You can get an internship with a state trial court judge fairly easily (particularly if it isn't a big city you are aiming at).

In all honesty, if you are sure you want to work at a PD’s office after you graduate, I would just volunteer at one this summer. I don’t think that working for a judge your 1st summer, in anyway, will make PD offices think you aren’t committed to be a PD, but working for a judge is typically mostly research and writing orientated (you’ll draft memos and if you’re lucky part of opinions). I am currently volunteering at a PD’s office this semester, so I can tell you first hand that there is nearly no research and writing involved in trial level criminal law (I’m actually writing this attorney’s one brief for a motion to quash and this is the only thing he has had this entire semester so far). So volunteering at a PD’s office will probably be a better experience for you if you are sure you want to be a PD after you graduate since it will be a lot closer to what you want to do (i.e. trial level criminal defense work, and not general civil litigation, which requires a lot of research and writing). Now if you want to work at an appellate defender’s office or something like that, then that’s different.

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Borhas
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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby Borhas » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:21 am

Let me clarify a bit

I'm aiming for a post-graduate clerkship (ideally Federal) but those are really tough to get, and I figure it would help to have at least some judicial/research experience before I try for that.

Slightly below that goal is doing Federal PD work... which unfortunately seems to be about as competitive. I think Fed PD work is more writing and research oriented. The San Diego Fed PD organization specifically wants excellent writing/research skills from their prospective hires.

I'd also like to do state criminal PD work, but I'm not so sure about that. I love the tremendous amount of client interaction, but I want a combination of client interaction, and working through complicated legal issues. I fear that PD work may be much more on the human, emotional side, and not so much on the intellectual side. So yeah I guess I want my cake and eat it too (Some sort of balance between research and actual client advocacy).

If I can do judicial externship 1L summer I'd be better positioned to get a 2L summer gig w/ a Fed PD outfit and still not be ruled out from state PD work.

If I do PD work this summer, I'd be in a precarious position 2L summer, because I wouldn't have the research experience to be competitive for a post-grad judicial clerk position (assuming I'd even have the grades for that sort of thing), and maybe not even enough for a Fed PD gig.

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vamedic03
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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby vamedic03 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:14 am

Borhas wrote:If I do PD work this summer, I'd be in a precarious position 2L summer, because I wouldn't have the research experience to be competitive for a post-grad judicial clerk position (assuming I'd even have the grades for that sort of thing), and maybe not even enough for a Fed PD gig.


This is really just wrong. There is no need to do a judicial internship 1L summer to get a clerkship. If you want to clerk, your first three priorities are Grades, Grades, and Grades followed by cultivating a relationship with your professors.

My recommendation:

1L Summer - work for public defender and see if its the sort of work you would like to do + this will give you some public interest credentials for later on.

2L Summer - try to work for a firm. Why? Three reasons: (1) gives you a chance to make sure you wouldn't like to do it, (2) entry level public interest is tough to get and going to a firm gives you a chance to get some training first, and (3) its your best chance to get into a firm

Final recommendation - don't make the assumption that state level work doesn't get into complex legal issues.

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hmlee
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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby hmlee » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:26 pm

Borhas wrote:Let me clarify a bit

I'm aiming for a post-graduate clerkship (ideally Federal) but those are really tough to get, and I figure it would help to have at least some judicial/research experience before I try for that.

Slightly below that goal is doing Federal PD work... which unfortunately seems to be about as competitive. I think Fed PD work is more writing and research oriented. The San Diego Fed PD organization specifically wants excellent writing/research skills from their prospective hires.

I'd also like to do state criminal PD work, but I'm not so sure about that. I love the tremendous amount of client interaction, but I want a combination of client interaction, and working through complicated legal issues. I fear that PD work may be much more on the human, emotional side, and not so much on the intellectual side. So yeah I guess I want my cake and eat it too (Some sort of balance between research and actual client advocacy).

If I can do judicial externship 1L summer I'd be better positioned to get a 2L summer gig w/ a Fed PD outfit and still not be ruled out from state PD work.

If I do PD work this summer, I'd be in a precarious position 2L summer, because I wouldn't have the research experience to be competitive for a post-grad judicial clerk position (assuming I'd even have the grades for that sort of thing), and maybe not even enough for a Fed PD gig.


While I can't comment on the PD thing, have you checked to see if your school offers a summer class to go along with a judicial externship? Mine did, and the people who teach the class usualyl have a pretty decent idea of how to go find an externship / timelines and all that.

Edit: On the firm thing for your 2L summer. While it's probably not a bad idea for you to participate in whatever type of OCI process your school offers (given this economy, PI jobs are hard to come by), do be aware that working at a firm your 2L summer can definitely be a turn off for getting a PI job right after graduation. You could always lateral from the firm a few years down the road, but there is something to the whole "true believer" idea.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:23 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
Borhas wrote:If I do PD work this summer, I'd be in a precarious position 2L summer, because I wouldn't have the research experience to be competitive for a post-grad judicial clerk position (assuming I'd even have the grades for that sort of thing), and maybe not even enough for a Fed PD gig.


This is really just wrong. There is no need to do a judicial internship 1L summer to get a clerkship. If you want to clerk, your first three priorities are Grades, Grades, and Grades followed by cultivating a relationship with your professors.
My recommendation:

1L Summer - work for public defender and see if its the sort of work you would like to do + this will give you some public interest credentials for later on.

2L Summer - try to work for a firm. Why? Three reasons: (1) gives you a chance to make sure you wouldn't like to do it, (2) entry level public interest is tough to get and going to a firm gives you a chance to get some training first, and (3) its your best chance to get into a firm

Final recommendation - don't make the assumption that state level work doesn't get into complex legal issues.


I’d argue that being on law review (or at least some journal) and publications are equally as important as grades in getting a clerkship. An executive board position on a journal is pretty helpful too. Moot court is a plus, but not necessary.


Borhas wrote:Let me clarify a bit

I'm aiming for a post-graduate clerkship (ideally Federal) but those are really tough to get, and I figure it would help to have at least some judicial/research experience before I try for that.

Slightly below that goal is doing Federal PD work... which unfortunately seems to be about as competitive. I think Fed PD work is more writing and research oriented. The San Diego Fed PD organization specifically wants excellent writing/research skills from their prospective hires.

I'd also like to do state criminal PD work, but I'm not so sure about that. I love the tremendous amount of client interaction, but I want a combination of client interaction, and working through complicated legal issues. I fear that PD work may be much more on the human, emotional side, and not so much on the intellectual side. So yeah I guess I want my cake and eat it too (Some sort of balance between research and actual client advocacy).

If I can do judicial externship 1L summer I'd be better positioned to get a 2L summer gig w/ a Fed PD outfit and still not be ruled out from state PD work.

If I do PD work this summer, I'd be in a precarious position 2L summer, because I wouldn't have the research experience to be competitive for a post-grad judicial clerk position (assuming I'd even have the grades for that sort of thing), and maybe not even enough for a Fed PD gig.


I was told by our CSO that it’s extremely rare for anyone to get hired as a federal PD right out of law school (because federal PD’s typically aren’t hired right out of law school).

To be honest, the client interaction is probably the worst part of being a PD. I thought I wanted to do blue collar criminal defense work when I came to law school (which is why I’m volunteering at a PD’s office right now) but 99% of the people we defend are scumbags and not really people I prefer to be talking to. E.g. you’ll be representing some fat pedophile, who admitted to having sex with a 8 year old, at a violation of parole/probation hearing because he failed to complete his sex offender treatment – basically trying to explain why this guy couldn’t complete his treatment, missed the last hearing he had scheduled for violation of parole/probation, and when he will be able to get all that together (when you know damn well this guy is a bum and is just going to wind up not doing shit because he just doesn’t care).

There’s also a lack of complicated legal issues/intellectualism in trial level PD work IMO. The guy I work with basically has 2 big days out of the week – preliminary exams, and hearings (other days he does things like sitting by the phone to answer the public’s questions, etc.). The hearings are boring as hell and basically it’s just violation of parole/probation hearings and plea bargaining. There’s not many cases that go to trial (albeit more than in civil cases). I think this attorney has had 4 trials this last year. I haven’t done preliminary exams yet, but I’d be surprised if there was anything there that required much thinking. I think the appellate defender’s office is probably more in line with what you are looking for (i.e. legal research and writing, and getting to argue more complex legal issues – although you won’t get client interaction, but IMO, I really don’t see why you would want it – these guys are such scumbags and not pleasant to talk to at all).

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dood
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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby dood » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:28 pm

...
Last edited by dood on Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby dood » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:36 pm

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Last edited by dood on Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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vamedic03
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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby vamedic03 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:03 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
Borhas wrote:If I do PD work this summer, I'd be in a precarious position 2L summer, because I wouldn't have the research experience to be competitive for a post-grad judicial clerk position (assuming I'd even have the grades for that sort of thing), and maybe not even enough for a Fed PD gig.


This is really just wrong. There is no need to do a judicial internship 1L summer to get a clerkship. If you want to clerk, your first three priorities are Grades, Grades, and Grades followed by cultivating a relationship with your professors.
My recommendation:

1L Summer - work for public defender and see if its the sort of work you would like to do + this will give you some public interest credentials for later on.

2L Summer - try to work for a firm. Why? Three reasons: (1) gives you a chance to make sure you wouldn't like to do it, (2) entry level public interest is tough to get and going to a firm gives you a chance to get some training first, and (3) its your best chance to get into a firm

Final recommendation - don't make the assumption that state level work doesn't get into complex legal issues.


I’d argue that being on law review (or at least some journal) and publications are equally as important as grades in getting a clerkship. An executive board position on a journal is pretty helpful too. Moot court is a plus, but not necessary.


Borhas wrote:Let me clarify a bit

I'm aiming for a post-graduate clerkship (ideally Federal) but those are really tough to get, and I figure it would help to have at least some judicial/research experience before I try for that.

Slightly below that goal is doing Federal PD work... which unfortunately seems to be about as competitive. I think Fed PD work is more writing and research oriented. The San Diego Fed PD organization specifically wants excellent writing/research skills from their prospective hires.

I'd also like to do state criminal PD work, but I'm not so sure about that. I love the tremendous amount of client interaction, but I want a combination of client interaction, and working through complicated legal issues. I fear that PD work may be much more on the human, emotional side, and not so much on the intellectual side. So yeah I guess I want my cake and eat it too (Some sort of balance between research and actual client advocacy).

If I can do judicial externship 1L summer I'd be better positioned to get a 2L summer gig w/ a Fed PD outfit and still not be ruled out from state PD work.

If I do PD work this summer, I'd be in a precarious position 2L summer, because I wouldn't have the research experience to be competitive for a post-grad judicial clerk position (assuming I'd even have the grades for that sort of thing), and maybe not even enough for a Fed PD gig.


I was told by our CSO that it’s extremely rare for anyone to get hired as a federal PD right out of law school (because federal PD’s typically aren’t hired right out of law school).

To be honest, the client interaction is probably the worst part of being a PD. I thought I wanted to do blue collar criminal defense work when I came to law school (which is why I’m volunteering at a PD’s office right now) but 99% of the people we defend are scumbags and not really people I prefer to be talking to. E.g. you’ll be representing some fat pedophile, who admitted to having sex with a 8 year old, at a violation of parole/probation hearing because he failed to complete his sex offender treatment – basically trying to explain why this guy couldn’t complete his treatment, missed the last hearing he had scheduled for violation of parole/probation, and when he will be able to get all that together (when you know damn well this guy is a bum and is just going to wind up not doing shit because he just doesn’t care).

There’s also a lack of complicated legal issues/intellectualism in trial level PD work IMO. The guy I work with basically has 2 big days out of the week – preliminary exams, and hearings (other days he does things like sitting by the phone to answer the public’s questions, etc.). The hearings are boring as hell and basically it’s just violation of parole/probation hearings and plea bargaining. There’s not many cases that go to trial (albeit more than in civil cases). I think this attorney has had 4 trials this last year. I haven’t done preliminary exams yet, but I’d be surprised if there was anything there that required much thinking. I think the appellate defender’s office is probably more in line with what you are looking for (i.e. legal research and writing, and getting to argue more complex legal issues – although you won’t get client interaction, but IMO, I really don’t see why you would want it – these guys are such scumbags and not pleasant to talk to at all).


1) In reference to law review versus grades with clerkships - the biggest focus for a 1L should be on grades. Law Review is important, but unless your school doesn't have any sort of grade-on, your grades will go hand-in-hand with getting onto LR. Related to that, my impression is that COA judges care far more about publications that D.Ct. - and, COA also happen to care far more about grades. As a 1L you generally can't publish, but you can focus on getting good grades.

2) I hope that anyone considering PD realizes that the vast majority of your clients, in either a state or federal court, will be guilty. You might even think that they're scum, but your job as the PD is to defend them or at least get the best possible deal for them.

3) I think you're really underselling trial PD work. I spend the past summer (1L summer) working for a local prosecutor's office, and while there's a lot of bread and butter, there's also interesting issue raised. Likewise, the preliminary hearings are often some of the most important hearings as that's when you get an idea of whether or not to make a deal and the strength of the prosecution's case. You should also realize that trials are not where the interesting legal issues are going to be raised. Rather, the interesting legal issues will be raised pre-trial in motions hearings.

4) If you don't like the PD trial work (intellectually) you probably won't like the appellate work that much. Depending on the state, your direct appeals will most likely be limited to issues raised and preserved during the trial - so, its not like you're going to come up with a brilliant new issue on appeal that wasn't already addressed. Further, you should realize that defense appellate work is very, very frustrating - as you will mostly lose (and, even when you win, it'll typically just be for a new trial).

Not trying to discourage or encourage, but the best way to figure out whether or not you really want to do PD work is to get your feet wet - and, you need to do that as soon as possible (i.e., over winter break or 1L summer) because, if its not the right fit for you, you don't want to blow your other career opportunities (i.e. firm work).

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wiseowl
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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby wiseowl » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:23 pm

"Earlier the better" is true only if a judicial internship is 100% the only thing you want. If you have any inkling of a firm or other government job next semester, you may find yourself in a pickle.

Not to hearken back to a popular flame war on this site, but if a firm offers you, no one cares if you turn them down. If a judge offers you, you're either taking it or scorching all the earth in your wake turning it down.

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Borhas
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Re: 1L Summer Judicial Intern/Externship

Postby Borhas » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:05 pm

wow, thanks guys, I really appreciate the help




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