Handwriting envelopes?

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lawschoolftw
Posts: 338
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:34 pm

Handwriting envelopes?

Postby lawschoolftw » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:09 pm

Stupid question, but is there anything wrong with handwriting envelopes to send cover letters/ resumes to judges for 1L summer judicial internships?

Thanks.

dakatz
Posts: 2460
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:19 pm

Re: Handwriting envelopes?

Postby dakatz » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:11 pm

I asked this question not too long ago, and the overwhelming majority of people told me that it would be better to do a printed label or envelope. Seems odd seeing as I'm sure the majority of the judges I sent to had their secretaries open it, but I feel like there is a certain heightened degree of formality when it comes to judges.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Handwriting envelopes?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:13 pm

As long as you don't have terrible handwriting, I'd say no. I'm a law clerk who takes the materials out of the envelopes, ranks them, and brings them to the judge. I definitely don't care if they're handwritten, as long as your handwritten is not horrid or you don't do something awful like one of our applicants did and spell chief "cheif". (The judge will probably see that envelope.)

dakatz
Posts: 2460
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:19 pm

Re: Handwriting envelopes?

Postby dakatz » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As long as you don't have terrible handwriting, I'd say no. I'm a law clerk who takes the materials out of the envelopes, ranks them, and brings them to the judge. I definitely don't care if they're handwritten, as long as your handwritten is not horrid or you don't do something awful like one of our applicants did and spell chief "cheif". (The judge will probably see that envelope.)


Seeing as you are a clerk and handle these matters, do you mind of I ask you a few quick questions? What gets an applicant "ranked" higher? Is it pretty much all based on grades? What little things can an applicant do in order to increase his/her chances of securing a summer internship?

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Handwriting envelopes?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:46 pm

dakatz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As long as you don't have terrible handwriting, I'd say no. I'm a law clerk who takes the materials out of the envelopes, ranks them, and brings them to the judge. I definitely don't care if they're handwritten, as long as your handwritten is not horrid or you don't do something awful like one of our applicants did and spell chief "cheif". (The judge will probably see that envelope.)


Seeing as you are a clerk and handle these matters, do you mind of I ask you a few quick questions? What gets an applicant "ranked" higher? Is it pretty much all based on grades? What little things can an applicant do in order to increase his/her chances of securing a summer internship?


The most obvious things:
1) Problems with the cover letter. Seriously, have the correct city the judge sits in the cover letter. Don't tell a judge who sits in one part of the state, you love another city in that state. Don't end with "I would love to be a summer associate at your firm." You will never get a judicial internship having this in your cover letter, and it probably appears in 10% of ours. Recognize the difference between the difference types of judges (because it stands out to law clerks and judges obviously). Don't tell a bankruptcy, magistrate or circuit court judge that you want to work in district court. Don't tell a circuit judge, you're dying to sit in on trials. If you're still fuzzy on the practicalities of what each of these types of chambers might be like, talk with prof who clerked before writing a factually incorrect cover letter.
2) Proofread. This cannot be overstated enough. I see tons of typos and grammatical errors, and I usually highlight them for my judge to make sure the candidate doesn't get an interview. If you don't proofread your cover letters, I don't want you helping me on projects this summer. Period.
3) We understand you're still learning to bluebook, but the better this is in your writing sample the more impressed I am that you took the time to try to learn this during a super stressful semester. Different chambers and law clerks/judges will care about this to varying degrees, but most law clerks were on law review and appreciate diligence in that regard.
4) Grades matter, but so does school, coursework (if you're a 2L), previous experience (we care quite a bit about this), public interest/volunteer work, etc. In general understand that chambers are small, small environments--a judge with a staff of 2-3 clerks/assistants and having one or two (or more) full time interns is an adjustment. We care about someone who is professional and mature, who will act like an attorney and not a college student, exercise discretion, be pleasant and not someone who needs to be babysat.
5) To the extent that you can and are not spamming judges, use your cover letter to tell the judge why him or her. This is certainly not a must, but may help. Don't kill yourself to do this; you could get slammed in the interview for it. But if you're excited about bankruptcy, say it. If you heard the judge speak at your law school, add it in.
6) Neutralize the politics from your resume and/or target judges based on appointment. Don't have your volunteer work with McCain for President on your apps to the latest Obama nominees. Some judges are politically neutral; many are not. That being said, McCain for President may help you in some more politically charged chambers. Either be politically neutral or be politically targeted.

User avatar
dood
Posts: 1639
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Re: Handwriting envelopes?

Postby dood » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:58 pm

i dont like it when people write too much in a reply.

Anonymous User
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Re: Handwriting envelopes?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dakatz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As long as you don't have terrible handwriting, I'd say no. I'm a law clerk who takes the materials out of the envelopes, ranks them, and brings them to the judge. I definitely don't care if they're handwritten, as long as your handwritten is not horrid or you don't do something awful like one of our applicants did and spell chief "cheif". (The judge will probably see that envelope.)


Seeing as you are a clerk and handle these matters, do you mind of I ask you a few quick questions? What gets an applicant "ranked" higher? Is it pretty much all based on grades? What little things can an applicant do in order to increase his/her chances of securing a summer internship?


The most obvious things:
1) Problems with the cover letter. Seriously, have the correct city the judge sits in the cover letter. Don't tell a judge who sits in one part of the state, you love another city in that state. Don't end with "I would love to be a summer associate at your firm." You will never get a judicial internship having this in your cover letter, and it probably appears in 10% of ours. Recognize the difference between the difference types of judges (because it stands out to law clerks and judges obviously). Don't tell a bankruptcy, magistrate or circuit court judge that you want to work in district court. Don't tell a circuit judge, you're dying to sit in on trials. If you're still fuzzy on the practicalities of what each of these types of chambers might be like, talk with prof who clerked before writing a factually incorrect cover letter.
2) Proofread. This cannot be overstated enough. I see tons of typos and grammatical errors, and I usually highlight them for my judge to make sure the candidate doesn't get an interview. If you don't proofread your cover letters, I don't want you helping me on projects this summer. Period.
3) We understand you're still learning to bluebook, but the better this is in your writing sample the more impressed I am that you took the time to try to learn this during a super stressful semester. Different chambers and law clerks/judges will care about this to varying degrees, but most law clerks were on law review and appreciate diligence in that regard.
4) Grades matter, but so does school, coursework (if you're a 2L), previous experience (we care quite a bit about this), public interest/volunteer work, etc. In general understand that chambers are small, small environments--a judge with a staff of 2-3 clerks/assistants and having one or two (or more) full time interns is an adjustment. We care about someone who is professional and mature, who will act like an attorney and not a college student, exercise discretion, be pleasant and not someone who needs to be babysat.
5) To the extent that you can and are not spamming judges, use your cover letter to tell the judge why him or her. This is certainly not a must, but may help. Don't kill yourself to do this; you could get slammed in the interview for it. But if you're excited about bankruptcy, say it. If you heard the judge speak at your law school, add it in.
6) Neutralize the politics from your resume and/or target judges based on appointment. Don't have your volunteer work with McCain for President on your apps to the latest Obama nominees. Some judges are politically neutral; many are not. That being said, McCain for President may help you in some more politically charged chambers. Either be politically neutral or be politically targeted.


This is quite helpful.

Regarding the writing sample, should we take extra care to make sure it is free from any bluebooking errors? (i.e., Would such errors be deal breakers?)

Regarding politics, would it be best to leave off an experience at a think tank known for leaning a certain way if the judges I'm applying to tend to lean the opposite way? (Would this apply to firm jobs as well?)

Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Handwriting envelopes?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
dakatz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As long as you don't have terrible handwriting, I'd say no. I'm a law clerk who takes the materials out of the envelopes, ranks them, and brings them to the judge. I definitely don't care if they're handwritten, as long as your handwritten is not horrid or you don't do something awful like one of our applicants did and spell chief "cheif". (The judge will probably see that envelope.)


Seeing as you are a clerk and handle these matters, do you mind of I ask you a few quick questions? What gets an applicant "ranked" higher? Is it pretty much all based on grades? What little things can an applicant do in order to increase his/her chances of securing a summer internship?


The most obvious things:
1) Problems with the cover letter. Seriously, have the correct city the judge sits in the cover letter. Don't tell a judge who sits in one part of the state, you love another city in that state. Don't end with "I would love to be a summer associate at your firm." You will never get a judicial internship having this in your cover letter, and it probably appears in 10% of ours. Recognize the difference between the difference types of judges (because it stands out to law clerks and judges obviously). Don't tell a bankruptcy, magistrate or circuit court judge that you want to work in district court. Don't tell a circuit judge, you're dying to sit in on trials. If you're still fuzzy on the practicalities of what each of these types of chambers might be like, talk with prof who clerked before writing a factually incorrect cover letter.
2) Proofread. This cannot be overstated enough. I see tons of typos and grammatical errors, and I usually highlight them for my judge to make sure the candidate doesn't get an interview. If you don't proofread your cover letters, I don't want you helping me on projects this summer. Period.
3) We understand you're still learning to bluebook, but the better this is in your writing sample the more impressed I am that you took the time to try to learn this during a super stressful semester. Different chambers and law clerks/judges will care about this to varying degrees, but most law clerks were on law review and appreciate diligence in that regard.
4) Grades matter, but so does school, coursework (if you're a 2L), previous experience (we care quite a bit about this), public interest/volunteer work, etc. In general understand that chambers are small, small environments--a judge with a staff of 2-3 clerks/assistants and having one or two (or more) full time interns is an adjustment. We care about someone who is professional and mature, who will act like an attorney and not a college student, exercise discretion, be pleasant and not someone who needs to be babysat.
5) To the extent that you can and are not spamming judges, use your cover letter to tell the judge why him or her. This is certainly not a must, but may help. Don't kill yourself to do this; you could get slammed in the interview for it. But if you're excited about bankruptcy, say it. If you heard the judge speak at your law school, add it in.
6) Neutralize the politics from your resume and/or target judges based on appointment. Don't have your volunteer work with McCain for President on your apps to the latest Obama nominees. Some judges are politically neutral; many are not. That being said, McCain for President may help you in some more politically charged chambers. Either be politically neutral or be politically targeted.


This is quite helpful.

Regarding the writing sample, should we take extra care to make sure it is free from any bluebooking errors? (i.e., Would such errors be deal breakers?)

Regarding politics, would it be best to leave off an experience at a think tank known for leaning a certain way if the judges I'm applying to tend to lean the opposite way? (Would this apply to firm jobs as well?)


I meant these both as hints, and they are both chambers specific. With the bluebooking, people who have been on law review (including judges) appreciate proper citations. That being said we also know no 1L applicant will have law review experience yet. However, I notice the writing samples that cite courts properly, correctly abbreviate party names, and use proper short cites. And I notice the ones that didn't even try. I would say my judge is far less likely to notice this, and he picks the final applicants to interview and invite to be interns. But every chambers is different.

With regard to the politics, this is again extremely chambers specific. Keep in mind at the circuit and district court level judges are political appointees. Many had active political lives before becoming judges. While they (as a generalization) shelve politics and strive to be good judges and follow existing law, they are not looking for interns who are going to butt heads with them and their clerks all summer long (back to the small environment point). When I was interviewing for clerkships, I had a political position on my resume. Ninety plus percent of the interviews I received were from appointees of that party, and politics came up in nearly every interview. I would say it helped me land these interviews, but unknowingly, not sending a more neutral resume probably hurt me with tons of chambers on the other side. Again, all of this is so chambers specific, so don't stress about it too much. But if there is a judge (or handful of judges you really want), it is worth being strategic over.




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