Recent Graduate--Odds/Advice for CA Fed Clerkship?

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yarm
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Recent Graduate--Odds/Advice for CA Fed Clerkship?

Postby yarm » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:28 pm

I recently graduated from a T70 law school and am wondering what my odds are in securing a Fed clerkship in CA for 2012-13. My school is outside CA, but I grew up and went to college in CA.

My stats: barely top 1/3 (3.3 GPA); law review (not editor); published note in journal; externship with chief judge of federal court in state where law school is located; DA's Office externship; strong extracurriculars.

I'll be doing a fairly prestigious judicial administration fellowship (mostly policy/admin stuff..a little legal research) in CA state courts until next July.

Do you guys think I have a realistic shot at a federal clerkship? If so, any tips for my application? Note: the judge I externed for does not write letters of rec for any externs.

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Re: Recent Graduate--Odds/Advice for CA Fed Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:36 pm

I don't think you have any shot, to be honest. Only considering schools in California (and people trek across the country for clerkships), district court clerkships go to the top third at Stanford or Berkeley, or to the top quarter at UCLA/USC. Even at a tier 1 school like UC-Davis, you'd need to be in the top 5-10% or so to get a federal clerkship. If you had been in the top 5-10%, you'd have some shot, but not from where you are.

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Re: Recent Graduate--Odds/Advice for CA Fed Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:52 pm

You have no shot unless you have a professor who knows a judge and will go to bat for you, and even then I would be surprised. It will not be uncommon for the judges you speak of to receive several hundred or even over a thousand applications each year for 1-3 spots, and a large portion of those applications will be objectively better than yours (better school, better grades, higher LR positions, etc.).

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Re: Recent Graduate--Odds/Advice for CA Fed Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:08 pm

Can you even find a V100 firm job with those stats?

yarm
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Re: Recent Graduate--Odds/Advice for CA Fed Clerkship?

Postby yarm » Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:19 am

I'm confident that I'd get several very good letters of recommendation from writing/clinical/employment references. However, none of my references have connections to CA or any fed judges. Without those connections, would you say that it's not even worth applying?
I know judges care mostly about GPA/journal/writing stuff, but here's some of my other highlights: president of large student org; two community service scholarships; graduation award from dean.

If you guys have any job search advice for someone in my position and with my stats, I'd be happy to hear it. I've always been more interested in government work, but that's looking to be pretty sparse in CA for the indefinite future. Although I don't have much civil experience outside of externing for the fed judge (i worked on solely civil bench memos/orders), I'm open to working at a firm as well. Assuming I pass the bar, I'll be available for new employment beginning June or July 2012.

Thanks for the advice. It can be hard to get a truthful answer from people in real life because it seems my stats are decent enough to have a very, very slim chance.

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Re: Recent Graduate--Odds/Advice for CA Fed Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:52 am

Top 50% at Stanford, and maybe not even that high, although at SLS, at the very least, DCt clerkships are far more than just about grades (so I'm sure there are some in the top 1/3 who strike out while some who are below median who get a couple offers). If your only goal at SLS was to get *some* DCt clerkship, though, and you were willing to live anywhere, I think most people who were close to median could make it happen (most people are picky-er which is the biggest reason why people strike out at SLS).

To the OP--you probably don't really have much of a chance. Your class rank at your school is just too low to get randomly picked up by a district court judge, and it sounds like you don't really have any connection to any of the judges to whom you will apply (which would be your only shot). If you have other interesting things going for you there's a chance your application will catch someone's eye but it's exceedingly unlikely. Sorry!

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ggocat
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Re: Recent Graduate--Odds/Advice for CA Fed Clerkship?

Postby ggocat » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:27 am

No shot via mads-mail/oscar.

random5483
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Re: Recent Graduate--Odds/Advice for CA Fed Clerkship?

Postby random5483 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:38 pm

State clerkship maybe. CA is one of the more competitive areas for federal clerkships, even magistrate judge clerkships can be a challenge to get. Your stats are not competitive for a clerkship in the less competitive states, let alone California. Even T14 schools don't place people in top 1/3rd in clerkships, outside of HYS that is. From a T70 school, I don't see that happening. Last year, I attended a school ranked similarly to yours. I think we had a 1% placement at federal clerkships. Given that most law students who do very well want clerkships, chances are most of those 1% were at the top 2-3% of their class. Without a strong connection to a judge, you have no shot at a district court clerkship.

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ggocat
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Re: Recent Graduate--Odds/Advice for CA Fed Clerkship?

Postby ggocat » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:39 pm

random5483 wrote:State clerkship maybe.

Maybe trial level. I know several top 10-15% + lr board peeps with local ties at the appellate state courts. Top 33% wouldn't get an interview (non-california).




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