Clerks Taking Questions

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 230581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:41 am

Well this sucks. Glad I read the whole thread before this happened. Hopefully someone will take over for him...

sheD
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:41 pm

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby sheD » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:11 am

Seriously. Didn't realize I needed to PDF TLS threads.

Tyrion Lannister
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:11 pm

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Tyrion Lannister » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:Well this sucks. Glad I read the whole thread before this happened. Hopefully someone will take over for him...


Looks like The Clerkship Scramble is gone too.

Anonymous User
Posts: 230581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:49 am

acrossthelake wrote:
nymario wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:Official Mod Response

Please keep speculation/discuss to a minimum.


I don't know that the mod thread responded to anything here. Or are you just saying this is an account deletion that we are not supposed to discuss?


The latter. Sorry I can't elaborate more.


Well that...sucks.

G.T.L.
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:10 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby G.T.L. » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:12 am

Hey everyone, sorry for the abrupt departure - I did not mean to be mysterious about it. Lately I have not had time to maintain the site they way I wanted to, and have become a little burned out as well (facing the same questions again and again, etc.). So I decided a clean break was the best way to move on.

I really enjoyed the discussion here. I will miss it. It was very gratifying to see so many fellow posters succeed in their clerkship applications and to play a small part in that. As for the blog, I am working on handing the content over to others so it will continue to be useful. The project was a community-wide effort, after all. Without your tips and permission from the mods to promote the site here it would not have been possible. Best of luck to all of you!

User avatar
GeePee
Posts: 1273
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:35 pm

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby GeePee » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:15 pm

G.T.L. wrote:Hey everyone, sorry for the abrupt departure - I did not mean to be mysterious about it. Lately I have not had time to maintain the site they way I wanted to, and have become a little burned out as well (facing the same questions again and again, etc.). So I decided a clean break was the best way to move on.

I really enjoyed the discussion here. I will miss it. It was very gratifying to see so many fellow posters succeed in their clerkship applications and to play a small part in that. As for the blog, I am working on handing the content over to others so it will continue to be useful. The project was a community-wide effort, after all. Without your tips and permission from the mods to promote the site here it would not have been possible. Best of luck to all of you!

Just wanted to thank you once more for all of your help over the last couple of years. This information has been incredibly helpful in gearing up for clerkship season, regardless of if it pans out. Thanks so much and good luck in the future!

Anonymous User
Posts: 230581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:08 am

G.T.L. wrote:Hey everyone, sorry for the abrupt departure - I did not mean to be mysterious about it. Lately I have not had time to maintain the site they way I wanted to, and have become a little burned out as well (facing the same questions again and again, etc.). So I decided a clean break was the best way to move on.

I really enjoyed the discussion here. I will miss it. It was very gratifying to see so many fellow posters succeed in their clerkship applications and to play a small part in that. As for the blog, I am working on handing the content over to others so it will continue to be useful. The project was a community-wide effort, after all. Without your tips and permission from the mods to promote the site here it would not have been possible. Best of luck to all of you!


Thanks again, you were the highlight of this board. It figures that the day after your retirement, I get a call from a Court of Appeals judge's chambers to set up an interview next week. (rising 3L off-plan) I'm totally freaking out and need you to hold me G.T.L.!!!!

User avatar
Scotusnerd
Posts: 813
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:36 pm

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Scotusnerd » Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:34 am

G.T.L. wrote:Hey everyone, sorry for the abrupt departure - I did not mean to be mysterious about it. Lately I have not had time to maintain the site they way I wanted to, and have become a little burned out as well (facing the same questions again and again, etc.). So I decided a clean break was the best way to move on.

I really enjoyed the discussion here. I will miss it. It was very gratifying to see so many fellow posters succeed in their clerkship applications and to play a small part in that. As for the blog, I am working on handing the content over to others so it will continue to be useful. The project was a community-wide effort, after all. Without your tips and permission from the mods to promote the site here it would not have been possible. Best of luck to all of you!



Thanks for all your work man. I learned a lot from your threads. You even answered PM questions when I had them. I wish you the best of luck! I'm sure you'll do awesome wherever you are going! :lol:

Anonymous User
Posts: 230581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:38 am

Not much going on post-bar, so I'd be happy to take some questions for those preparing for the on-plan rush. Haven't started clerking yet but would be happy to share from my own application experience. Also want to bump the thread so that current clerks wrapping up, former clerks, and incoming clerks can help guide TLSers especially with clerkship transitions happening soon. As for myself personally, non-T14, LR, top 1%, clerking for two COA judges.

Anonymous User
Posts: 230581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:09 am

Different Anon here. I'm also glad to help - T14 grad, starting a COA clerkship next year.

apparentlynew
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:56 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby apparentlynew » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:11 am

I'd love both of your responses to these questions:

Did you clerk in a district court first?

When did you start looking for any clerkship at all?

Do your judges or other judges whose habits you can speak to consider LR a requirement?

If LR isn't a requirement, is editorial board of your journal?

How many professors did use for recommendations?

Did a professor make a phone call for you? Did more than one professor do so?

Anonymous User
Posts: 230581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:28 am

Second Anon who posted above here.

Q: Did you clerk in a district court first?

A: No, though I would be open to doing so if something last-minute comes up.

Q: When did you start looking for any clerkship at all?

A: A little over a year ago.

Q: Do your judges or other judges whose habits you can speak to consider LR a requirement?

A: My judge does not, but some others do.

Q: If LR isn't a requirement, is editorial board of your journal?

A: No, though certainly helpful.

Q: How many professors did use for recommendations?

A: Two to my future judge but three overall.

Q: Did a professor make a phone call for you? Did more than one professor do so?

A: Yes, one did.

apparentlynew
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:56 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby apparentlynew » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:37 am

Sorry, I should have been more specific - when in law school did you start looking for clerkships?

Anonymous User
Posts: 230581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:03 am

apparentlynew wrote:Sorry, I should have been more specific - when in law school did you start looking for clerkships?


3L year.

apparentlynew
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:56 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby apparentlynew » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:26 am

Again, these questions are for any and all clerks interested in sharing:

May I ask what month in your 3L year, and was it at the beginning or the end of that month?

How did you start looking for clerkships - talking to professors, or your school's clerkship office, or looking on Oscar?

How much work had you done with the professor who called for you - one class, two, RAing, all of the above, or more?

In your clerkship interviews, how much attention did your writing sample get? What topics were the most commonly discussed - the judge's past opinions, your personal development, your published work?

What advice do you think you would give someone who aspires to clerk for a Federal judge, either district or CoA or both, that you think would be non-obvious?

What things do you think you could have done to make your application, and your interview, stronger? What non-grade, non-LR distinctions do you think you had that got you picked over other applicants?

lolwat
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby lolwat » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:45 am

I'm clerking at district court, so answers may differ slightly on COA/DCT specific questions, but the rest should be fine.

May I ask what month in your 3L year, and was it at the beginning or the end of that month?


If you're interested in clerking, by 2L winter/spring you should already be trying to get things in motion. 2L summer is when you should already be applying to off-plan judges, 3L labor day is when the hiring plan goes into effect.

How did you start looking for clerkships - talking to professors, or your school's clerkship office, or looking on Oscar?


All of those are good resources, so I wouldn't take anyone's personal experience ("I did X") as the one thing you should do. Certain schools' clerkship offices are better than others though, and take their advice with a grain of salt as they have their own agenda sometimes. Do some personal research into the district/circuits you'd like to work for since they operate differently from each other. 4th Circuit and a large chunk of 9th Circuit hires off-plan for example. I don't know if there are any more blogs in existence that are particularly helpful now that Clerkship Scramble is gone, unfortunately.

How much work had you done with the professor who called for you - one class, two, RAing, all of the above, or more?


I didn't have a professor make a call for me, but I would have any professor that you felt you established a good enough connection with do it. If they make a call for you they’ll want to be able to talk substantively about how awesome you are. But this is one of those “can only help” situations—at worst they’ll say no, they’re not going to make a call to trash talk you to the judge. :p

In your clerkship interviews, how much attention did your writing sample get? What topics were the most commonly discussed - the judge's past opinions, your personal development, your published work?


I interviewed with maybe 5 judges overall (1 COA, 4 DCT). No interview discussed past opinions. One interview started with “tell me about yourself” and branched out from there. Two or three interviews had a discussion of my writing sample (which also happens to be my published work) somewhere in there. I’m sure it’s already been mentioned before, but judges are looking for “fit” by the time they interview you, so a lot of the interviews are really just you talking about whatever.

What advice do you think you would give someone who aspires to clerk for a Federal judge, either district or CoA or both, that you think would be non-obvious?


Skipping this one for the most part, as I can’t think of anything that isn’t at least somewhat obvious. Your 2L grades will matter for 99% of judges, unlike some of your friends that are in Biglaw SA and expect to get an offer from it.

What things do you think you could have done to make your application, and your interview, stronger? What non-grade, non-LR distinctions do you think you had that got you picked over other applicants?


Things that I couldn’t change at that point include not bombing my 1L first semester and getting on Law Review. I also should’ve just done a lot more practice interviews with people and gotten feedback on how I was presenting myself. It took a lot of personal trial and error to get to an interview that I didn’t walk out feeling like I messed something up.

I don’t think I really got picked over other applicants for any particular reason. I think your "interests" section on your resume might be what distinguishes you to some judges, though. Just be careful what you have on there.

apparentlynew
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:56 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby apparentlynew » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:53 am

Hey lolwat, thank you for chiming in.

Is being off-plan more common for CoA judges than district court judges? How many judges that you interviewed with were off-plan?

Did the judges you applied to express or have reputations for wanting to see that you'd taken certain classes? I am going to take fed courts, but I plan to take it 3L when I have more free time.

How dispositive was LR, either in your personal experience or through your knowledge of other students who succeeded or failed in getting hired?

lolwat
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby lolwat » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:00 am

Is being off-plan more common for CoA judges than district court judges? How many judges that you interviewed with were off-plan?


Generally to my knowledge, yes. A lot of circuit judges are already done hiring as of now, even. I interviewed with two judges off-plan, one COA and one DCT. The other three I applied to as an alum so I can't speak to whether they apply on or off plan.

Did the judges you applied to express or have reputations for wanting to see that you'd taken certain classes? I am going to take fed courts, but I plan to take it 3L when I have more free time.


I think only one ever mentioned anything about classes taken and it was a generally broad statement about my school (which isn't T14) having a decent number of classes that aren't fluff. I took fed courts and a pile of other substantive classes that were never mentioned, but that doesn't mean they didn't necessarily look at them.

How dispositive was LR, either in your personal experience or through your knowledge of other students who succeeded or failed in getting hired?


I believe the general consensus is that LR > any other journal by a mile. I also think most of the students from my school that ended up with clerkships were on LR. I wasn't on LR, and the rest of my stats were relatively awesome, so I certainly think it's a pretty significant factor with a lot of judges. (Edit: to clarify, I think my stats would have gotten me more interviews than I had if I were on LR. I struck out completely on the hiring plan.)

apparentlynew
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:56 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby apparentlynew » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:05 am

May I ask your classrank and school rank/range or other pertinent stats at time of hiring? I'm not on LR so I would like to know how stellar you have to be while non-LR in order to get hired.

lolwat
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby lolwat » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:13 am

apparentlynew wrote:May I ask your classrank and school rank/range or other pertinent stats at time of hiring? I'm not on LR so I would like to know how stellar you have to be while non-LR in order to get hired.


PM'd as the combination of this and other info I mentioned above gets really close to outing me. :)

apparentlynew
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:56 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby apparentlynew » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:00 pm

A lot of circuit judges are already done hiring as of now, even


Sorry, I wasn't clear about this part. They're done hiring now for what positions? Clerks who start fall 2012, 2013, 2014?

Did you find that the more selective courts tended to hire clerks earlier?

Anonymous User
Posts: 230581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:38 pm

apparentlynew wrote:
A lot of circuit judges are already done hiring as of now, even


Sorry, I wasn't clear about this part. They're done hiring now for what positions? Clerks who start fall 2012, 2013, 2014?

Did you find that the more selective courts tended to hire clerks earlier?


I wasn't the one who originally posted that message above, but I imagine all positions for fall 2012, most for fall 2013, and some for fall 2014 have already been filled at the COA level.

lolwat
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby lolwat » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:47 pm

I wasn't the one who originally posted that message above, but I imagine all positions for fall 2012, most for fall 2013, and some for fall 2014 have already been filled at the COA level.


This. All fall 2012 positions are filled for both COA and DCT--if you find one open it's probably a newly confirmed judge or for whatever reason a clerk had to leave all of a sudden. Many fall 2013 positions are already filled, but these are mostly COA only. Some fall 2014 positions are filled, again, mostly COA only.

Did you find that the more selective courts tended to hire clerks earlier?


Can't really answer this properly. It varies way too much by circuit/district and then varies by judges within that circuit/district. I mean, if you take DC/2d/9th circuits as the most selective, I believe DC 100% adheres to the hiring plan and doesn't hire early, many 2d Cir. judges do as well, while most of the 9th circuit judges don't.

Anonymous User
Posts: 230581
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:12 pm

This post got more replies sooner than expected, so here goes -- I am the original bumper of this thread:

Did you clerk in a district court first?


No.

When did you start looking for any clerkship at all?


I started thinking about it the spring of 2L year (maybe April-ish?) I started gathering my recommendations in late-May to apply to off-plan judges. If that helps.

Do your judges or other judges whose habits you can speak to consider LR a requirement?


Based purely on instinct, I think one judge does, the other does not. I will say that what you do with your LR position is much more important than whether you are on LR (e.g., have you been published?)

If LR isn't a requirement, is editorial board of your journal?


Same answer as above.

How many professors did use for recommendations?


Four, three at a time. By the time I applied for my second clerkship, I asked another professor who I felt knew my body of work better to write recommendation letters for me.

Did a professor make a phone call for you? Did more than one professor do so?


Yes. For clerkship #1, I asked one professor to make phone calls; for clerkship #2, two made phone calls (oddly enough, the judge I will be working for was not a contact of either professor, so I think there is still a lot to be said about being hired purely on the merits).

How did you start looking for clerkships - talking to professors, or your school's clerkship office, or looking on Oscar?


I started with my school's clerkship office, but, through no fault of our clerkship advisor, had to do a lot of legwork on my own. (We historically don't place a lot of graduates in Article III courts.) I spoke with professors, did my own research, figured out who might be able to contact which judges, etc.

How much work had you done with the professor who called for you - one class, two, RAing, all of the above, or more?


One or two classes.

In your clerkship interviews, how much attention did your writing sample get? What topics were the most commonly discussed - the judge's past opinions, your personal development, your published work?


A lot. I had five COA interviews, and during all but one of them my writing sample was brought up. The judge's past opinions less so, but I think for some of the more competitive COA clerkships, it would be helpful to show that you've done your homework and that you genuinely know who you would like to work for.

What advice do you think you would give someone who aspires to clerk for a Federal judge, either district or CoA or both, that you think would be non-obvious?

What things do you think you could have done to make your application, and your interview, stronger? What non-grade, non-LR distinctions do you think you had that got you picked over other applicants?


I'm going to take both questions as one and the same -- I think on top of grades, LR/journal, etc. (which are necessary but not sufficient), publication is a big factor for some COA judges. Courseload is another key factor for some COA judges -- they like to see that you've taken the heavy hitters and you've excelled. Finally, as a poster mentioned above, personality counts a lot -- by the time you are asked in for an interview, the judge has already figured that you've met the paper credential requirements.

In terms of things you have control over -- try to develop a rapport with two or three faculty members. Not just, "Oh, hello, can you write me a clerkship recommendation, I did well in your class!" -- but try to develop a genuine relationship with them. Drop by their office, ask them how they're doing, what they're working on in terms of scholarship, "How about that local sports team?" -- etc. Some faculty members are great people, and the more they get to know you personally, the more they will go to bat for you. Some profs, you won't be able to develop a connection with. But at the very least, give it a shot.

apparentlynew
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:56 am

Re: Clerks, taking questions for a bit

Postby apparentlynew » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:09 pm

Most recent anon: thank you for your responses.

I am sure the professor phone call works differently depending on the judge and the professor, but in your experience, when did your professor make the call? After you had all your materials ready for the judge's consideration? How much of your application did you have prepared before you broached the phone-call topic with your professor?

Same questions for LOR, too.




Return to “Judicial Clerkships”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.