clerkship question

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Anonymous User
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clerkship question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:01 pm

I think I'll manage to get 2 profs in my particular practice area to pick up the phone for me, or at least write very strong letters of recommendation for me. They're renowned in this field of law, so hopefully that will help.

I don't think I have made a good enough impression on anyone other than these two guys though, and I've heard that 3 LORs is the minimum. Do I essentially need to get an impressive enough grade in one of my 3 substantive law classes this term, to make anything happen for a 3d LOR? I don't really think my 1L profs where I got good grades will really do much - the two classes where I did well were with the same prof, but he's nonresponsive by email =)

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Re: clerkship question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:16 pm

Yes, many judges require 3 LOR's. But 3 from profs is probably excessive. Many (if not most) judges want at least one professional letter of recommendation, so it would probably be better to contact your summer employer for a letter rather than to line up another letter from a prof. I'm assuming you are a 2L, so if you don't have someone to contact from last summer, just make sure you have someone by the end of this summer.

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Re: clerkship question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:26 pm

Oh wow, I completely wasn't aware of this importance of a professional recommender.
Excellent.

Do you recommend I try and do repeat assignments for an older partner who is likely to know the judges?

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Re: clerkship question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:33 pm

Many judge=federal appellate judges?

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Re: clerkship question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:44 pm

To answer both questions above:

I don't know about multiple assignments with a partner. I'm a public interest person and never worked for a big firm. But I'm sure a recommendation from someone who knows the judges you are applying to is helpful.

For the second-- From the advice I got from before I entered the clerkship process, most judges who indicate that they want three letters rather than two are expecting a professional recommendation as one of them, and district court judges definitely tend to care about professional recommendations. I can't extrapolate to all federal appellate judges, but my judge is appellate and cares a lot about professional recommendations as well.

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Re: clerkship question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:14 pm

from whatever little I understand, its a pretty random thing to get a CoA clerkship - there are HUNDREDS of students in the top 15% of the t14 - assume an average class size of 300, that's 50 per school, or like 700 students per year.
then you add people who are one year out, or two years out, and that's like 2000 people from the top 15% of a t14

So you're really talking about a random pull - which can be influenced by a phone call or two.

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vamedic03
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Re: clerkship question

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Yes, many judges require 3 LOR's. But 3 from profs is probably excessive. Many (if not most) judges want at least one professional letter of recommendation, so it would probably be better to contact your summer employer for a letter rather than to line up another letter from a prof. I'm assuming you are a 2L, so if you don't have someone to contact from last summer, just make sure you have someone by the end of this summer.


(1) This goes against virtually all advice out there. I'd argue that for federal judges, this is probably very bad advice.

(2) Why anonymous?

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Re: clerkship question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:10 pm

OP here, so to the people who are saying no to the practitioner recommendation thing, are you saying that 3 profs is necessary then? The problem with that is, my substantive law classes are taught by pretty junior faculty, 2/3 of them are adjuncts (i.e. have their own law practice). I'm a little surprised that students know THREE profs well enough after 3-4 terms in law school, where the first two are spent in giant classes anyway.

Ughhhhh.

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vamedic03
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Re: clerkship question

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:39 pm

...
Last edited by vamedic03 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: clerkship question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:07 pm

thanks for all the advice guys, i will come back in september and update on whether something worked out =)
peace.

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Re: clerkship question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:43 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here, so to the people who are saying no to the practitioner recommendation thing, are you saying that 3 profs is necessary then? The problem with that is, my substantive law classes are taught by pretty junior faculty, 2/3 of them are adjuncts (i.e. have their own law practice). I'm a little surprised that students know THREE profs well enough after 3-4 terms in law school, where the first two are spent in giant classes anyway.

Ughhhhh.

I didn't mean that you can't use a professional recommender along with 2 academic recs. That's actually semi-common. I disagreed that most judges want or need a professional rec. In my experience, they don't. The chief drawback with professional recommenders is that they don't have as much of a basis to compare one applicant with others from that class, or from past years.

why? they have summer associates every year, they can compare work product quality across associates right? I guess I don't quite get the drawback. I would've thought that a partner for whom an associate does legal research, maybe even writes something, is closer to what a judge needs - than some doctrine-o professor.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: clerkship question

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:03 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Yes, many judges require 3 LOR's. But 3 from profs is probably excessive. Many (if not most) judges want at least one professional letter of recommendation, so it would probably be better to contact your summer employer for a letter rather than to line up another letter from a prof. I'm assuming you are a 2L, so if you don't have someone to contact from last summer, just make sure you have someone by the end of this summer.

I do not agree.


vamedic03 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Yes, many judges require 3 LOR's. But 3 from profs is probably excessive. Many (if not most) judges want at least one professional letter of recommendation, so it would probably be better to contact your summer employer for a letter rather than to line up another letter from a prof. I'm assuming you are a 2L, so if you don't have someone to contact from last summer, just make sure you have someone by the end of this summer.


(1) This goes against virtually all advice out there. I'd argue that for federal judges, this is probably very bad advice.


+1


Anonymous User wrote:
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here, so to the people who are saying no to the practitioner recommendation thing, are you saying that 3 profs is necessary then? The problem with that is, my substantive law classes are taught by pretty junior faculty, 2/3 of them are adjuncts (i.e. have their own law practice). I'm a little surprised that students know THREE profs well enough after 3-4 terms in law school, where the first two are spent in giant classes anyway.

Ughhhhh.

I didn't mean that you can't use a professional recommender along with 2 academic recs. That's actually semi-common. I disagreed that most judges want or need a professional rec. In my experience, they don't. The chief drawback with professional recommenders is that they don't have as much of a basis to compare one applicant with others from that class, or from past years.

why? they have summer associates every year, they can compare work product quality across associates right? I guess I don't quite get the drawback. I would've thought that a partner for whom an associate does legal research, maybe even writes something, is closer to what a judge needs - than some doctrine-o professor.


My understanding of this is that a lot of the same professors write letters for students each year from the top schools. The judges are used to seeing letters from them, and this allows them to compare canidate's recommendations. The same is not true with letters from attorneys, who you worked with for a summer.

Also, FWIW, there are a LOT of judges who only require 2 letters. Doesn't hurt to throw in a third one anyways for those judges if you can get another decent one, but it's not required

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: clerkship question

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:14 am

Thoughts on having the second (or 3rd, if three required) LOR be from a judge a person has done a summer internship for rather than a professor? Still typically better to have all professors?

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Re: clerkship question

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:19 am

All right, I'll chime in again with my two cents, which seems to be against what everyone else thinks, but oh well. :)

Career services at my school (HYS) recommended that two of my recommenders be professors and that one be a professional reference. I complied, and it worked. Most of the people that I know with clerkships did the same. My school's reasoning is that professors tend to know students in a little bit of a different way than professional recommenders, so you can show judges both sides by having two academic recommendations and one professional recommendation. Obviously, I can only speak from personal experience, but my judge actually noted in my interview that he takes professional references much more seriously than academic references (and a couple of the other judges with whom I interviewed also noted that they appreciated that I submitted a professional recommendation). My judge might be an outlier in taking professional recommendations more seriously than academic ones, but it does mean that there are judges who at least prefer variety and want to know what you will be like to work with, not just how you behave in class (especially when you consider that judges are inundated with applications from people who have top grades and are obviously good at being students). I think that this weighs in favor of at least having one letter up your sleeve that isn't academic.

But I'll also acknowledge my personal biases. I (and many of the other people I know with clerkships) are public interest oriented, so I was more likely to get interviews with judges who wanted someone with a public interest background. Having a professional recommendation probably helped to confirm that I planned on pursuing a public interest career. I suppose a letter from a partner at a law firm might not have the same effect. I also did not apply to feeder judges, who I'm told do care much more about academic references.

Also, just as a further note: The OP thinks he/she does not have a good enough relationship with any other professors to get a strong third faculty recommendation. I think it would be pretty poor advice for the OP to get a third lukewarm recommendation from a professor rather than to get a hopefully good recommendation from a supervising attorney.




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