No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

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Anonymous User
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No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:31 am

So I didn't make law review, but I'm interested in clerking someday (probably after working at a firm for 2 years). I'm somewhere between top 15-20% at Columbia, hope to only improve grades with 2L and 3L years. Do I have any shot at a district clerkship? Specifically, one in the NYC commuting area (CT, NJ, NY). Would 2 years working at a good firm help my odds? Thanks!!

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:41 am

No, you have a shot. There are people who have clerked on the federal level from a secondary journal. Would firm experience for a few years help? Probably. I would be careful in doing research on clerking outside of NY because younger federal judges seem to be moving away from pedigree and rewarding local schools that either they attended or have close ties to. This trend does not seem to have impacted NY federal courts, but surrounding areas have seen an uptick in clerks from local schools.

imchuckbass58
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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:29 am

You have a shot. This is a big exception, but just as an example, the Ginsburg clerk from Columbia a couple of years ago was not on law review. Every year many people who are not on law review nevertheless get clerkships (and good ones, too). In fact, given the number of people who clerk and the number of LR kids who do not, the majority of people who clerk are not on law review.

And yes, as a general rule applying as an alum increases your chances.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:46 am

You have a shot, but the lack of law review isn't your only problem: your class rank is also going to be a detriment. District courts in particular have slanted toward alumni candidates for several years, and 15-20% without law review is going to be rough. Get your grades up and apply, though.

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:08 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:You have a shot, but the lack of law review isn't your only problem: your class rank is also going to be a detriment. District courts in particular have slanted toward alumni candidates for several years, and 15-20% without law review is going to be rough. Get your grades up and apply, though.


That's really interesting. By "up" do you mean top 10%? Higher? Do you think it's specific to the NYC area or everywhere? Have ties to some west coast markets, if that matters at all for clerkships (don't know much about how clerking works, have been concentrating on firm research for now).

Citizen Genet
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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Citizen Genet » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:09 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:In fact, given the number of people who clerk and the number of LR kids who do not, the majority of people who clerk are not on law review.


I think I agree with you for the most part, but this line didn't really make sense to me. Are we talking Art III only or state included? State included, and I agree with you. Art. III only, I don't know that I would make that sweeping of a statement that the MAJORITY are not on law review. Of course, maybe the numbers don't bear it out....

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:31 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:You have a shot, but the lack of law review isn't your only problem: your class rank is also going to be a detriment. District courts in particular have slanted toward alumni candidates for several years, and 15-20% without law review is going to be rough. Get your grades up and apply, though.


What is your opinion if one has similar grades + LR? Same caliber of school.

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leobowski
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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby leobowski » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:34 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:You have a shot. This is a big exception, but just as an example, the Ginsburg clerk from Columbia a couple of years ago was not on law review. Every year many people who are not on law review nevertheless get clerkships (and good ones, too). In fact, given the number of people who clerk and the number of LR kids who do not, the majority of people who clerk are not on law review.

And yes, as a general rule applying as an alum increases your chances.



Source?

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:13 pm

How about someone with similar stats at T10 w/ no journal, law review or secondary? Does the lack of any journal at all end your chances? Or would you still have a shot if you applied much more broadly?

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:29 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So I didn't make law review, but I'm interested in clerking someday (probably after working at a firm for 2 years). I'm somewhere between top 15-20% at Columbia, hope to only improve grades with 2L and 3L years.

First, congrats on doing really well 1L year. Second, most students' grades improve 2L and 3L year, so just bear in mind that your GPA will probably need to improve slightly to maintain the same class standing. Third, the stats necessary to land a district court clerkship one or two years out of law school are generally lower than what one would need straight out -- particularly if the intervening experience is at a well-respected firm/gov agency.

Do I have any shot at a district clerkship? Specifically, one in the NYC commuting area (CT, NJ, NY). Would 2 years working at a good firm help my odds? Thanks!!

Yes, you have "any shot." But don't set up a straw man like so many others do on TLS. There is a continuum of chances, and most people fall above zero on that continuum. In other words, being above zero is not terribly meaningful. You really should be asking "do I have a reasonable shot" at particular clerkships, as applying when you have a 0.05% chance is not generally worth it.

I am by no means an expert on district court clerkships, but based on everything I have seen and read, someone at CLS with strong recs, secondary journal, top ~15% standing (maybe one year of Stone and one year of Kent?), and a decent writing sample definitely would have a reasonable shot at the clerkships you mention. You might still be a slight underdog for lots of the NYC area commuter clerkships (e.g., SDNY, EDNY), but I imagine some in D. Conn. and D.N.J. might present somewhat better odds. With 2 years' NYC biglaw experience, I would think you would become a strong favorite to get one of those. The thing is, it is going to be hard to forecast right now whether you would actually want to leave the firm job after 2 years...


Thanks so much, I really appreciate your feedback since you've provided so much great advice in your clerkship thread. You're right about the real question being whether I have a "realistic" shot, and I'm certainly planning on working extra hard my 2L and 3L years. Does your involvement in a secondary journal matter at all (editor vs exec editor or something like that)?? Also, do you know if there are things you can do while at a firm to maximize your chances? Say, pro bono work that involves court time or something?

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:34 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Does your involvement in a secondary journal matter at all (editor vs exec editor or something like that)?? Also, do you know if there are things you can do while at a firm to maximize your chances? Say, pro bono work that involves court time or something?

Fair questions. My sense, and admittedly a pretty unfounded one, is that neither of those things will affect your chances much. That is, unless you are EIC on the secondary, your board position probably does not matter much; likewise, your actual work at the firm -- at least as a SA -- is not going to have a major impact.

Clerkship hiring turns primarily on grades, recs, school, and resume, with a few other things often serving as tiebreakers. Focusing on building up your faculty connections, and thus the quality of your recs, should be Job 1 during 2L year. Developing a solid writing sample, either via your comment or note, or in a paper class, is important too.


Awesome, thanks. I'm researching for a favorite prof of mine this fall and hopefully that will turn into something publishable, slash a good recommendation. Really appreciate all of your amazing help on this forum, you're a great addition to TLS!!

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:03 pm

leobowski wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:You have a shot. This is a big exception, but just as an example, the Ginsburg clerk from Columbia a couple of years ago was not on law review. Every year many people who are not on law review nevertheless get clerkships (and good ones, too). In fact, given the number of people who clerk and the number of LR kids who do not, the majority of people who clerk are not on law review.

And yes, as a general rule applying as an alum increases your chances.


Source?


No clear source, but:

Somewhere between 10% and 15% of the graduating class clerks immediately after law school (this - http://www.top-law-schools.com/columbia-law-school.html - says "more than 10%," but the figures I have seen are between 10 and 15%).

At the clerkship sessions and in the packets, they showed us where CLS alums tend to clerk, and virtually nobody does a non-article III clerkship. Two years ago it was literally zero people, some years there are 1 or 2. A majority of Columbia clerks go to the 2nd circuit, EDNY and SDNY.

Fewer than 10% of the class is on law review (45 kids per year, out of a class including transfers of 450-470). Of the people I know on law review, about half are either not planning on clerking, or planning to apply a year out.

So roughly figuring, LR people who are clerking are roughly 5% of the class, out of 10% to 15% who clerk.

Renzo
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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Renzo » Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:27 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
leobowski wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:You have a shot. This is a big exception, but just as an example, the Ginsburg clerk from Columbia a couple of years ago was not on law review. Every year many people who are not on law review nevertheless get clerkships (and good ones, too). In fact, given the number of people who clerk and the number of LR kids who do not, the majority of people who clerk are not on law review.

And yes, as a general rule applying as an alum increases your chances.


Source?


No clear source, but:

Somewhere between 10% and 15% of the graduating class clerks immediately after law school (this - http://www.top-law-schools.com/columbia-law-school.html - says "more than 10%," but the figures I have seen are between 10 and 15%).

At the clerkship sessions and in the packets, they showed us where CLS alums tend to clerk, and virtually nobody does a non-article III clerkship. Two years ago it was literally zero people, some years there are 1 or 2. A majority of Columbia clerks go to the 2nd circuit, EDNY and SDNY.

Fewer than 10% of the class is on law review (45 kids per year, out of a class including transfers of 450-470). Of the people I know on law review, about half are either not planning on clerking, or planning to apply a year out.

So roughly figuring, LR people who are clerking are roughly 5% of the class, out of 10% to 15% who clerk.


With this logic, it's a wonder you didn't get into Yale.

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:15 pm

A friend of mine has had CoA interviews without LR. Not sure of overall gpa.

imchuckbass58
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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:12 pm

Renzo wrote:
With this logic, it's a wonder you didn't get into Yale.


I mean is any of it clearly wrong? Unless upwards of 60% or 70% of LR people clerk immediately after school, the logic holds. And I seriously doubt anyone at CLS would argue that's the case.

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:14 pm

I'm also at CLS and made law review. My GPA puts me right at the bottom of the top 10%.

What are my chances in getting a COA clerkship (preferably DC, 2nd, or 9th) next year? Let's assume I get Kent next year and bump up my overall GPA to 3.7.

Thanks

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby AppsAbound » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:57 pm

What is your GPA? Because if you really are bottom 10% I'm not sure that a perfect GPA would get you to 3.7?

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:10 am

AppsAbound wrote:What is your GPA? Because if you really are bottom 10% I'm not sure that a perfect GPA would get you to 3.7?


I meant at the bottom of the TOP 10%.

GPA = 3.63 (right at the cut-off I believe)

sorry about being unclear

I'm assuming if I can pull off a 3.8 next year, I can get up to 3.7ish (which I believe is top 5% or so).

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Re: No Law Review = No shot at clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
AppsAbound wrote:What is your GPA? Because if you really are bottom 10% I'm not sure that a perfect GPA would get you to 3.7?


I meant at the bottom of the TOP 10%.

GPA = 3.63 (right at the cut-off I believe)

sorry about being unclear

I'm assuming if I can pull off a 3.8 next year, I can get up to 3.7ish (which I believe is top 5% or so).


That would be true if the 1L curve held, but it doesn't. I'm sure that's still quite high, but remember that more people get As, A-s, and B+s after 1L year so you have to improve just to hold your percentile spot.




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