In desperate need of clerkship advice

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Anonymous User
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In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:36 pm

Top 15%, t30......

I have no geographical "must haves" and can pretty much move anywhere. No journal.

I need to compile a list of judges by next week. The problem is that I have no real preferences and no idea how competitive I am for anything. I've been told that I am competitive for State Supreme Courts and Appellate Courts, but other than that, what should I do? Plus, would it even be useful to a resume to clerk for a state appellate court? Would it be useful to clerk for an out-of-state supreme court or appellate court? I've been told to cast a wide net but just don't know how beneficial a state appellate court clerkship would be in, say, Minnesota when your goal is to settle down in Oregon or something like that.

Also, an adviser told me to apply to some federal judges, even though the chances are very slim. She said that, in her experience, it is worth it b/c sometimes the weirdest things with catch a judge's eye and get you an interview. What about magistrate judges? What about district court judges in places like Montana or North Dakota?

I'm not writing this to debate my chances or to get people saying I have a chance when it is completely unlikely, so shoot away with your real thoughts. Once again, I am at a complete loss as to what my final list should look like.

P.S.- I also need to know approximately how many judges to apply to. Some of my LOR's will not be processed through the school so I don't want to bombard those recommenders with an unnecessarily long list. Thanks!

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thesealocust
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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:54 pm

What on earth makes you think we'll be able to answer this question? You gave us no background information and only vague stats, didn't ask for chances, asked where to apply, didn't tell us how many people you were even planning to apply to, and then listed detailed information you have already received from your OCS.

Here is my best effort to answer your question: Uh, apply to judges. Yeah, judges. That's the ticket. Try to avoid applying to post offices or cats, as they do not (in my experience) hire clerks.

Next!

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:04 am

thesealocust wrote:What on earth makes you think we'll be able to answer this question? You gave us no background information and only vague stats, didn't ask for chances, asked where to apply, didn't tell us how many people you were even planning to apply to, and then listed detailed information you have already received from your OCS.

Here is my best effort to answer your question: Uh, apply to judges. Yeah, judges. That's the ticket. Try to avoid applying to post offices or cats, as they do not (in my experience) hire clerks.

Next!

:oops:

I am probably the worst clerkship applicant in the country considering I've read clerkship manuals and such and still have no idea what I am doing. One of my LOR professors asked to have my list by next week and I'm a complete mess right now.

O.k., more specific questions:

1. Should I apply for ANY federal clerkships or would it be a complete waste of time? If I applied to 25 district court judges/magistrates in less sought after areas, what percentage chance would you guess I have?

2. How many apps do people normally send out?

3. Say your ultimate goal is to be a county prosecutor. Would a state appellate court clerkship be a nice addition to a resume? What if you wanted midlaw or biglaw? I ask this b/c I have no idea what kind of prestige, if any, comes with such a clerkship.

4. Same as question 3 but now we are talking about state supreme court.

Thanks. I think it is now obvious why I posted "desperate" in the title of this thread.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:05 pm

I don't think applying to federal judges is a complete waste of time for you. At least from my experience going through the process last summer, once you commit to going through the clerkship process, applying to each individual judge is not a whole lot of extra work (honestly, I'd say just a few extra minutes editing your cover letter). If you are already going to be applying to state supreme court judges, you may as well throw in applications to a bunch of federal judges too. Plus, it's free in OSCAR to apply to judges that accept online applications, so really the only loss is the relatively small amount of time on your cover letters.

Applying to just 25 federal judges is not likely to result in very many interviews though. If you are going to bother, you may as well apply to all the places where you'd accept an offer.

JusticeJackson
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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby JusticeJackson » Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:29 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:43 pm

OP-

Thank you for your help anon and justice jackson, I very much appreciate it.

As for cover letters, do you tailor each cover letter to each individual justice? And, if so, what do you put in it/how much/what generic parts do you keep?

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby JusticeJackson » Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:50 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A'nold
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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby A'nold » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:27 pm

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Cavalier
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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Cavalier » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:33 pm

thesealocust wrote:Try to avoid applying to post offices or cats, as they do not (in my experience) hire clerks.

Fuck! That must be why my clerkship application process has been going so poorly!

JusticeJackson
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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby JusticeJackson » Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:28 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:59 pm

You can't tailor the number of letters you need to generate to have any remote shot at a clerkship. If GT L Rev got your app, he'd glance at your school and rank and throw it in the trash. So much for the X minutes you spent conjuring up an opinion as to why you want that judge. Although you can do mild customization (designing the letter with form fields for location or judge type), and you should, customization is idealistic, unrealistic advice for most clerkship app situations.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:09 pm

OP-

Thanks justice jackson, you are a life saver.

Anything else you guys can think of? For example, does "being from the area" include a region, such as the PNW, SW, etc.? Also, do you know how much of a "bump" you can expect to get by primarily targeting judges that graduated from your ls? There are quite a few State Supreme Court justices and Federal District Court justices that have graduated from my school and the school gave us the list of all active judges that have come out of my school. Please note that I do know that this question is pure guesswork but maybe somebody has an anecdote or something about somebody getting a clerkship that he/she knew he/she could not have gotten without that connection. In the alternative, have you guys ever heard of this being a factor at all? Thanks again.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You can't tailor the number of letters you need to generate to have any remote shot at a clerkship. If GT L Rev got your app, he'd glance at your school and rank and throw it in the trash. So much for the X minutes you spent conjuring up an opinion as to why you want that judge. Although you can do mild customization (designing the letter with form fields for location or judge type), and you should, customization is idealistic, unrealistic advice for most clerkship app situations.

OP-

Thank you for this. What would you recommend as a sample generic letter (if you don't mind).

JusticeJackson
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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby JusticeJackson » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:22 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:52 pm

JusticeJackson wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You can't tailor the number of letters you need to generate to have any remote shot at a clerkship. If GT L Rev got your app, he'd glance at your school and rank and throw it in the trash. So much for the X minutes you spent conjuring up an opinion as to why you want that judge. Although you can do mild customization (designing the letter with form fields for location or judge type), and you should, customization is idealistic, unrealistic advice for most clerkship app situations.


I'd agree that a competitive judge would not take a second look at OP. But if OP is from, e.g., South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming, etc., I think he has a shot at a federal clerkship in that area. Not a shoe in by any means, but worth a try. Judges in Wyoming receive far less applications and would be more receptive to someone in OP’s situation if OP had real ties to Wyoming.

I don’t have near the pedigree as GTL, but I landed several interviews and a competitive (but not feeder) COA clerkship based on making this type of connection.

I also agree that half ass tailoring (I like your opinions/city...) probably won't go far. I certainly haven't had luck with any of the application’s I’ve sent out that were half ass tailored.

I think you might be overstating things as far as state clerkships go. In the state I live in, those judges sometimes hire median students at second or third tier schools. I’ve also seen the midlaw/regional firms hire state supreme court clerks, so I think it’s not a bad investment, especially if OP’s other option is to hang a shingle.

Edit: also, since it's already mid-July, you should have these all out the door ASAP. You should finish your list tonight and secure people who agree to write LORs on your behalf by the end of the week.

OP-

Thanks. You guys have given me exactly what I was looking for when I made this thread. Thesealocust is just too high and mighty for the likes of me. :wink: (I am a regular that knows thesealocust and am just messing with him, fwiw). I hope to pay this kind of advice forward in the next few years if I manage to land something.

One more question: Would you guys focus on sending out more applications with less tailoring or focus on sending out like 30 with more tailoring? I'm leaning towards sending out a massive amount (like 100) and just hoping something sticks. I will target purely areas that I have ties in and all the areas I think would be the least attractive places to clerk for federal judges. Thanks.

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thesealocust
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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:54 pm

Have you talked to your career services office about rules? I believe my school limits people to 75 apps, but a lot of people use all 75, which would make 100 not terribly massive and 25 dangerously low. I don't know much about the process though, because I think y'all are crazy ;)

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:09 pm

My school allows as many as possible but demands you only use paper for judges not online. I'd Also really appreciate advice especially from the GTL master.

As top 15% at Top 10, which is slightly better position: I plan:

SSC Judges (have around 42 of these)

District Judges and Mag judges in Cali (paper) (LA where I'm from) 40.

As many random judges online as possible in one off markets (read Newark, Hartford, Baltimore, Philly).

My career office insists its very likely I can get Dist (50/50 in major markets and pretty much certain for a mag position or a position in a one off market). Does this sound reasonable as a search strategy?

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:11 pm

thesealocust wrote:Have you talked to your career services office about rules? I believe my school limits people to 75 apps, but a lot of people use all 75, which would make 100 not terribly massive and 25 dangerously low. I don't know much about the process though, because I think y'all are crazy ;)

You know you want it. 8) :wink:

Why don't you just go and get it over with and get your feeder COA with the 10 apps it would take you to do so, haha.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I don't think applying to federal judges is a complete waste of time for you. At least from my experience going through the process last summer, once you commit to going through the clerkship process, applying to each individual judge is not a whole lot of extra work (honestly, I'd say just a few extra minutes editing your cover letter). If you are already going to be applying to state supreme court judges, you may as well throw in applications to a bunch of federal judges too. Plus, it's free in OSCAR to apply to judges that accept online applications, so really the only loss is the relatively small amount of time on your cover letters.

Applying to just 25 federal judges is not likely to result in very many interviews though. If you are going to bother, you may as well apply to all the places where you'd accept an offer.


Not true. OSCAR has an amazing mail merge function. Pretty much just upload 4 or 5 cover letters that are tailored to specific types of judges. The click your mouse 4 times, and you've successfully applied to a judge. Rinse and repeat. The only time you'll edit your cover letter is if you are writing a letters tailored to a specific judge, but that's honestly a huge waste of time since 99% judges on the hiring plan don't read cover letters (they just have too many applications, so they don't have time to sit around and read cover letters).

Anonymous User wrote:What about district court judges in places like Montana or North Dakota?


They still get 350-400 applications per clerkship opening nowadays. All article III judges are extremely competitive right now (which shouldn't be too surprising to you, since you probably already know how competitive just about any legal job is ITE).

Anonymous User wrote:1. Should I apply for ANY federal clerkships or would it be a complete waste of time? If I applied to 25 district court judges/magistrates in less sought after areas, what percentage chance would you guess I have?


Not a complete waste of time, but just realize your odds are extremely low.

2. How many apps do people normally send out?


Typical is 50-100. 200 isn't crazy

3. Say your ultimate goal is to be a county prosecutor. Would a state appellate court clerkship be a nice addition to a resume? What if you wanted midlaw or biglaw? I ask this b/c I have no idea what kind of prestige, if any, comes with such a clerkship.


A county DA will look at an appellate clerkship favorably relative to no experience and trying to apply directly.

Assuming you don't get a 2L SA: Biglaw with a state appellate clerkship is just not happening with your school and stats. Midlaw is unlikely (also depends on your definition of "midlaw" - that statement doesn't apply to a firm of 30 attorneys). If you get a 2L SA that turns into a permanent offer, then the clerkship doesn't really matter. Although, doing a state appellate clerkship might be kind of dumb because you might not even get any kind of a clerkship bonus for it (depends on the firm whether they'll give you a bonus or not for that).

4. Same as question 3 but now we are talking about state supreme court.


Same response re: county prosecutor.

Biglaw did hire state supreme court clerks pre-ITE. Not sure if it's realistic nowadays. I haven't really kept up with hiring trends in the last year or so, but there were a number of article III clerks who couldn't get biglaw the other year, and, generally speaking, article III clerks are higher in the food chain than state supreme court clerks.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:44 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don't think applying to federal judges is a complete waste of time for you. At least from my experience going through the process last summer, once you commit to going through the clerkship process, applying to each individual judge is not a whole lot of extra work (honestly, I'd say just a few extra minutes editing your cover letter). If you are already going to be applying to state supreme court judges, you may as well throw in applications to a bunch of federal judges too. Plus, it's free in OSCAR to apply to judges that accept online applications, so really the only loss is the relatively small amount of time on your cover letters.

Applying to just 25 federal judges is not likely to result in very many interviews though. If you are going to bother, you may as well apply to all the places where you'd accept an offer.


Not true. OSCAR has an amazing mail merge function. Pretty much just upload 4 or 5 cover letters that are tailored to specific types of judges. The click your mouse 4 times, and you've successfully applied to a judge. Rinse and repeat. The only time you'll edit your cover letter is if you are writing a letters tailored to a specific judge, but that's honestly a huge waste of time since 99% judges on the hiring plan don't read cover letters (they just have too many applications, so they don't have time to sit around and read cover letters).

Anonymous User wrote:What about district court judges in places like Montana or North Dakota?


They still get 350-400 applications per clerkship opening nowadays. All article III judges are extremely competitive right now (which shouldn't be too surprising to you, since you probably already know how competitive just about any legal job is ITE).

Anonymous User wrote:1. Should I apply for ANY federal clerkships or would it be a complete waste of time? If I applied to 25 district court judges/magistrates in less sought after areas, what percentage chance would you guess I have?


Not a complete waste of time, but just realize your odds are extremely low.

2. How many apps do people normally send out?


Typical is 50-100. 200 isn't crazy

3. Say your ultimate goal is to be a county prosecutor. Would a state appellate court clerkship be a nice addition to a resume? What if you wanted midlaw or biglaw? I ask this b/c I have no idea what kind of prestige, if any, comes with such a clerkship.


A county DA will look at an appellate clerkship favorably relative to no experience and trying to apply directly.

Assuming you don't get a 2L SA: Biglaw with a state appellate clerkship is just not happening with your school and stats. Midlaw is unlikely (also depends on your definition of "midlaw" - that statement doesn't apply to a firm of 30 attorneys). If you get a 2L SA that turns into a permanent offer, then the clerkship doesn't really matter. Although, doing a state appellate clerkship might be kind of dumb because you might not even get any kind of a clerkship bonus for it (depends on the firm whether they'll give you a bonus or not for that).

4. Same as question 3 but now we are talking about state supreme court.


Same response re: county prosecutor.

Biglaw did hire state supreme court clerks pre-ITE. Not sure if it's realistic nowadays. I haven't really kept up with hiring trends in the last year or so, but there were a number of article III clerks who couldn't get biglaw the other year, and, generally speaking, article III clerks are higher in the food chain than state supreme court clerks.

Thank you. This is about what I figured. Appreciate it.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby sharklasers » Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My school allows as many as possible but demands you only use paper for judges not online. I'd Also really appreciate advice especially from the GTL master.

As top 15% at Top 10, which is slightly better position: I plan:

SSC Judges (have around 42 of these)

District Judges and Mag judges in Cali (paper) (LA where I'm from) 40.

As many random judges online as possible in one off markets (read Newark, Hartford, Baltimore, Philly).

My career office insists its very likely I can get Dist (50/50 in major markets and pretty much certain for a mag position or a position in a one off market). Does this sound reasonable as a search strategy?


You're setting your sights too low and doing overkill. Ramp back, cut SSC (which is pretty shit anyhow), limit your district apps to all the places you could stand living w/o cutting your own throat (i.e., not the South), and go for COA widely.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby JusticeJackson » Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:06 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:09 pm

JusticeJackson wrote:I think being from LA will hurt. If this is the same anonymous, T10 is a way better position than T30 (which is what I thought we were talking about earlier). If you're T10, top 15%, I'd definitely not apply to state stuff or magistrates. At least not until after you strike out at AIII.

No, OP (me) really is t30, t15%. A follow up question: should I primarily target magistrate judges or are they just as difficult to land as district court clerkships? Are these positions still "prestigious?"

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby XxSpyKEx » Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:53 pm

sharklasers wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My school allows as many as possible but demands you only use paper for judges not online. I'd Also really appreciate advice especially from the GTL master.

As top 15% at Top 10, which is slightly better position: I plan:

SSC Judges (have around 42 of these)

District Judges and Mag judges in Cali (paper) (LA where I'm from) 40.

As many random judges online as possible in one off markets (read Newark, Hartford, Baltimore, Philly).

My career office insists its very likely I can get Dist (50/50 in major markets and pretty much certain for a mag position or a position in a one off market). Does this sound reasonable as a search strategy?


You're setting your sights too low and doing overkill. Ramp back, cut SSC (which is pretty shit anyhow), limit your district apps to all the places you could stand living w/o cutting your own throat (i.e., not the South), and go for COA widely.


Not if the he/she is not on any journal (similar to the OP). Without journal, the likelihood of getting a district court judge isn't particularly great. CoA is very unlikely. I've been though the clerkship application cycle, and article III clerkships are extremely competitive. I think it's a mistake to assume you can just sweep one up with top 15% at a t10 without any journal or moot court. Another poster on here, ToTransferorNot, mentioned that there are people last year who were on the editorial board of law review at his school (UChi) who applied broadly but still completely struck out (i.e. they didn't even manage to pick up a district court clerkship in a non-major market). The clerkship hiring process is very crazy and can be somewhat random/unpredictable with respect to on-plan hiring. I mean there are literally 2 days of interviewing across the nation where something like 80-90% of all on-plan clerkship hiring (judges that don't hire incoming 3Ls early) is completed. It's not uncommon for district court judges in major markets to get 1,500-2,500 applications, and for judges even in the crappiest of locations (e.g. Montana) to get 350-400 applications.

Anonymous User wrote:A follow up question: should I primarily target magistrate judges or are they just as difficult to land as district court clerkships?


Not as difficult, but still competitive.

Anonymous User wrote:Are these positions still "prestigious?"


Nope.

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Re: In desperate need of clerkship advice

Postby sharklasers » Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
JusticeJackson wrote:I think being from LA will hurt. If this is the same anonymous, T10 is a way better position than T30 (which is what I thought we were talking about earlier). If you're T10, top 15%, I'd definitely not apply to state stuff or magistrates. At least not until after you strike out at AIII.

No, OP (me) really is t30, t15%. A follow up question: should I primarily target magistrate judges or are they just as difficult to land as district court clerkships? Are these positions still "prestigious?"


They're less difficult, and no, they're not prestigious. You'd be as well off getting a firm job if you can. If you can't, well, it beats waiting tables at Applebee's.
Last edited by sharklasers on Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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