Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. 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.
User avatar
Lawquacious
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby Lawquacious » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:06 am

O.k., so I know some people think that categorically there is nothing great or in anyway prestigious about taking a Fed. District Court Internship in the first place, but at least at my school (lower T1) this seems to be the route that the best students take for 1L summer (and these students seem to get hired at market-paying firms for 2L summer). I have interviewed with a couple judges so far and hope to have another interview or two.

I am wondering: 1) How much the particular District the internship is completed in matters (are there particular Districts that are considered especially good or hard to get, and vice versa, are there particular Districts that are perhaps not looked very well upon? If so, can people list the best or worst states to do one of these internships in?). 2) How much does the particular judge's position matter? Specifically, I am wondering if the internship was with the Chief District Judge for a particular State if it would be looked at significantly differently than if it was with a Judge without that title.

Please only answer if you have some actual knowledge or experience on this specific topic. Also, please no categorical dismissals such as claims that this is a waste of time or totally non-prestigious; maybe from YHS or T14 that may be somewhat or largely true (though I question even that), but in talking with people who know the playing field at the lower T50 school level it is clear to me that this type of internship does carry weight. Just not sure how the factors I mentioned above could come into play.

Thanks.

User avatar
patrickd139
Posts: 2883
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:53 pm

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby patrickd139 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:47 am

1) "district," not "District" when referring to an unspecified district.

2) Do actually have an offer?
2a) Do you have alternatives?

User avatar
Lawquacious
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby Lawquacious » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:29 am

patrickd139 wrote:1) "district," not "District" when referring to an unspecified district.

2) Do actually have an offer?
2a) Do you have alternatives?


Edit: Initially as a little snappy because I felt your first comment wasn't really relevant to the content, but now I am wondering if you could technically explain the grammar rule (seriously). I think you are probably right, but I question whether because at least some of the capitalized 'District' references were referent to specific (but unspecified) individual courts within a class made of known particularities, and not just a general category, the capitalization is actually correct. For instance, if you are referring to a class of particular judges that is made up of known individuals, then I think it would be a appropriate to say: "Which of these Judges...". If you could clarify the correction along this line I would appreciate it.

No I don't have an offer, but I have had two interviews so far and am still waiting to hear back from one of them. I am also submitting other applications. A number of my peers at school have gotten offers after interviewing. I am also waiting to hear back from a couple of other government agencies. Regardless of whether I have or get offers I am curious to have the two questions I posed addressed.
Last edited by Lawquacious on Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:45 am, edited 3 times in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273395
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:33 am

SDNY/DC or die.

User avatar
Lawquacious
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby Lawquacious » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:SDNY/DC or die.


Cool- thx for the feedback. So do you think all other districts would be looked at equally more or less?

legends159
Posts: 1090
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:12 pm

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby legends159 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:45 am

Doesn't matter for OCI.

Judicial Internship = Judicial Internship = Judicial Internship. They all look the same. Only 1Ls care about what is more "preftigious" just like only high school students care which HS is more prestigious.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273395
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:48 am

legends159 wrote:Doesn't matter for OCI.

Judicial Internship = Judicial Internship = Judicial Internship. They all look the same. Only 1Ls care about what is more "preftigious" just like only high school students care which HS is more prestigious.

not if you get a baller rec out of it...

legends159
Posts: 1090
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:12 pm

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby legends159 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:14 am

maybe...but I wasn't aware of firms wanting recommendations. Potentially a recommendation for a clerkship would be good if the judge writes one (but make sure it's a good recommendation and not some generic stuff s/he gives all her/his interns)

Anonymous User
Posts: 273395
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:34 am

legends159 wrote:maybe...but I wasn't aware of firms wanting recommendations. Potentially a recommendation for a clerkship would be good if the judge writes one (but make sure it's a good recommendation and not some generic stuff s/he gives all her/his interns)

sorry, yeah that's what I was talking about. If you can really impress your judge and he's willing to make a phone call for you for a clerk app, particularly in the same district/circuit

User avatar
Lawquacious
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby Lawquacious » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:
legends159 wrote:maybe...but I wasn't aware of firms wanting recommendations. Potentially a recommendation for a clerkship would be good if the judge writes one (but make sure it's a good recommendation and not some generic stuff s/he gives all her/his interns)

sorry, yeah that's what I was talking about. If you can really impress your judge and he's willing to make a phone call for you for a clerk app, particularly in the same district/circuit



So it sounds like the internship may be considered most valuable for getting a clerking gig (at least insofar as the rec is concerned). Out of curiosity, what is the big draw with clerkships? I know they are very competitive and I'm sure they give great experience, but it doesn't pay well (considering at that point the person has a JD); is the clerkship often used to leverage a particular career path? Do clerks often go to firms after clerking or to some other government position? Also, is it considerably easier to become a judge if you have clerked (v. if you have worked at a firm etc)? It seems to make more sense to me to get the experience of working closely with a judge prior to having the JD (and JD earning capacity) rather than after law school, given that someone who is able to get a sought-after clerkship could probably get a high-paying job in most cases.

These may be naive questions, but especially if the big draw with a judicial internship in law school is to have a better shot at clerkship later, I am wondering why clerkships are so desirable (which I know they are)..

User avatar
Cupidity
Posts: 2214
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby Cupidity » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:22 am

Judges do prefer to hire clerks who have interned with a judge.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273395
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:01 am

Lawquacious wrote:O.k., so I know some people think that categorically there is nothing great or in anyway prestigious about taking a Fed. District Court Internship in the first place, but at least at my school (lower T1) this seems to be the route that the best students take for 1L summer (and these students seem to get hired at market-paying firms for 2L summer). I have interviewed with a couple judges so far and hope to have another interview or two.

I am wondering: 1) How much the particular District the internship is completed in matters (are there particular Districts that are considered especially good or hard to get, and vice versa, are there particular Districts that are perhaps not looked very well upon? If so, can people list the best or worst states to do one of these internships in?). 2) How much does the particular judge's position matter? Specifically, I am wondering if the internship was with the Chief District Judge for a particular State if it would be looked at significantly differently than if it was with a Judge without that title.

Please only answer if you have some actual knowledge or experience on this specific topic. Also, please no categorical dismissals such as claims that this is a waste of time or totally non-prestigious; maybe from YHS or T14 that may be somewhat or largely true (though I question even that), but in talking with people who know the playing field at the lower T50 school level it is clear to me that this type of internship does carry weight. Just not sure how the factors I mentioned above could come into play.

Thanks.


1) Some districts are more competitive, but it doesn't really matter on its face for internships. More competitive can be helpful later on when you want to clerk in those districts because letters of rec that are good matter more to judges that know the judge writing the letter (some judges won't write personal letters I have heard). More competitive district judges often will not hire interns as clerks, so it will prevent you from working for that judge later on- some judges don't have this policy, but it may depend on district. Depending on where you are you may have to move to be in competitive district and that is often not worthwhile. You'll often get the same or similar experiences wherever you are, this may change if the court you go to generally specializes in one area.

2) Unlikely to matter at all except for letter of rec power. The more well known judge's word will go farther - regardless of title. However, chief judge is unlikely to make that much of a difference to anything.
*Beware senior judges are still judges, but have really reduced workloads, basically semi-retired. However, this could work out if only one intern and maybe one clerk with lots of time with judge that leads to lots of networking or one on one time.

3) Being the best student is often not why people go after judicial internships. It just happens that often the people who wanted judicial internships starting out ended up being the best students.

Most of the knowledge I have comes from talking to professors and judges who interned in the past, so it may not be 100% accurate as you are getting it third hand.

People often want clerkships for future ability to be a judge, extensive researching and writing practice (think top of legal profession), future professorships (look at your professor's bios; probably most former clerks), networking, and firms love clerks (probably the least applicable reason, most clerks could get firms without clerking).

User avatar
Lawquacious
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:36 am

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby Lawquacious » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:O.k., so I know some people think that categorically there is nothing great or in anyway prestigious about taking a Fed. District Court Internship in the first place, but at least at my school (lower T1) this seems to be the route that the best students take for 1L summer (and these students seem to get hired at market-paying firms for 2L summer). I have interviewed with a couple judges so far and hope to have another interview or two.

I am wondering: 1) How much the particular District the internship is completed in matters (are there particular Districts that are considered especially good or hard to get, and vice versa, are there particular Districts that are perhaps not looked very well upon? If so, can people list the best or worst states to do one of these internships in?). 2) How much does the particular judge's position matter? Specifically, I am wondering if the internship was with the Chief District Judge for a particular State if it would be looked at significantly differently than if it was with a Judge without that title.

Please only answer if you have some actual knowledge or experience on this specific topic. Also, please no categorical dismissals such as claims that this is a waste of time or totally non-prestigious; maybe from YHS or T14 that may be somewhat or largely true (though I question even that), but in talking with people who know the playing field at the lower T50 school level it is clear to me that this type of internship does carry weight. Just not sure how the factors I mentioned above could come into play.

Thanks.


1) Some districts are more competitive, but it doesn't really matter on its face for internships. More competitive can be helpful later on when you want to clerk in those districts because letters of rec that are good matter more to judges that know the judge writing the letter (some judges won't write personal letters I have heard). More competitive district judges often will not hire interns as clerks, so it will prevent you from working for that judge later on- some judges don't have this policy, but it may depend on district. Depending on where you are you may have to move to be in competitive district and that is often not worthwhile. You'll often get the same or similar experiences wherever you are, this may change if the court you go to generally specializes in one area.

2) Unlikely to matter at all except for letter of rec power. The more well known judge's word will go farther - regardless of title. However, chief judge is unlikely to make that much of a difference to anything.
*Beware senior judges are still judges, but have really reduced workloads, basically semi-retired. However, this could work out if only one intern and maybe one clerk with lots of time with judge that leads to lots of networking or one on one time.

3) Being the best student is often not why people go after judicial internships. It just happens that often the people who wanted judicial internships starting out ended up being the best students.

Most of the knowledge I have comes from talking to professors and judges who interned in the past, so it may not be 100% accurate as you are getting it third hand.

People often want clerkships for future ability to be a judge, extensive researching and writing practice (think top of legal profession), future professorships (look at your professor's bios; probably most former clerks), networking, and firms love clerks (probably the least applicable reason, most clerks could get firms without clerking).



Awesome- thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it!

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8447
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Federal District Court Internship Comparisons

Postby thesealocust » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:02 pm

Some school (NYU maybe?) did a study once and found that controlling for other variables, 1L summer judicial interns performed identically to everyone else in the clerkship hunt. It's a cool job but there is 0 to consider except (1) can you get the job? (2) can you afford to live while doing that job? and (3) can you tolerate the judge and the work (no reason to take the job if you get an offer but hear horror stories or had a poor interaction).

For the record, some judges are reluctant to recommend anyone for anything. Not all of them, but keep in mind these aren't just any employer you have a chance to impress, these are federal judges. There are major ethical considerations surrounding them trying to pull strings in getting people hired, so many won't do it period. Many others refuse to hire former interns. Still others help and actively hire former interns, but in the end there's no reliable benefit to be found beyond gaining stories, experience, and checking the '1l summer legal work' box.

Again, cool job, but it's a footnote on your resume. It will simply not make or break you 99% of the time, and the 1% lightning strikes are as likely to happen in any other context (RA for a prof who takes a strong liking to you, work for a firm and get a full time offer, etc.)

Also, this:

legends159 wrote:Doesn't matter for OCI.

Judicial Internship = Judicial Internship = Judicial Internship. They all look the same. Only 1Ls care about what is more "preftigious" just like only high school students care which HS is more prestigious.
Last edited by thesealocust on Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.