clerkship cover letters

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

clerkship cover letters

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:44 am

do you keep them simple or add info about yourself that they might not get from just looking through your packet?
if you don't have law review can you discuss what you have done to get the same skill set?
if you have a local connection, know a past clerk, etc. should you include this information?

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jonas
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:25 pm

Re: clerkship cover letters

Postby jonas » Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:do you keep them simple or add info about yourself that they might not get from just looking through your packet?

Both. Keep it simple and short, but feel free to mention one or two things that might not be apparent from your résumé etc. Just don't let the cover letter become a personal essay.

Anonymous User wrote:if you don't have law review can you discuss what you have done to get the same skill set?

Yes. If you've assisted a professor, done moot court, or worked on a secondary journal, mention it.

Anonymous User wrote:if you have a local connection, know a past clerk, etc. should you include this information?

Yes, definitely.

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

Re: clerkship cover letters

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:32 pm

current clerks that review apps - do you actually read the cover letters???

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

Re: clerkship cover letters

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:28 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:do you keep them simple or add info about yourself that they might not get from just looking through your packet?
if you don't have law review can you discuss what you have done to get the same skill set?
if you have a local connection, know a past clerk, etc. should you include this information?

We read the cover letters. Most are fine, but a few stand out in all the wrong ways. Like one guy who said something to the effect of "I have read your opinions, and, quite simply, I agree with them." Auto-ding.

My suggestion would be to keep your cover letters simple, but to add one or two enriching details when you can. So if you have a specific tie to the area where the judge sits, to the judge, or if a specific prof or former clerk recommended you apply, then mention that. I would not repeat stuff from your resume like moot court, etc. And whatever you do, don't get creative--this goes wrong far, far more often than it goes right.



Thank you! I was hoping you wouldn't mind answering a few more questions related to cover letters...

Should you go into detail about why you want to clerk and what you would like to do after your clerkship?
Can you mention your pre-law school work experience (I know its on the resume, but is it worth it to highlight some of the skills you acquired during that period?)? I am trying to find ways to really differentiate myself since my grades are probably average for clerkship applicants.

JusticeJackson
Posts: 454
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:26 am

Re: clerkship cover letters

Postby JusticeJackson » Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:06 am

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

zay
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 7:21 pm

Re: clerkship cover letters

Postby zay » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:54 am

My tip: CHECK YOUR MAIL MERGE. I cannot tell you the number of applicants that have sent cover letters addressed to the wrong judge, the wrong address, or the wrong chambers. Those are auto-ding. Same goes for typos that Word won't pick up (i.e., when you use the wrong word).

In my experience, the most effective cover letters identify a good reason you are applying to that specific judge (whether it be geographic, interest in a particular area of law, work that the particular judge's court does). Then, if you can, back up that reason with one good example from your resume/experience. So if you really want to apply to Judge X because of your interest in labor and employment law, then point to an example of your work in that area (paper, clinic, whatever). Generic cover letters that state "my research and writing skills are my greatest strength" are meaningless and do not help to distinguish you from other candidates.




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