SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

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eliekedourie
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SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby eliekedourie » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:58 am

I'm late to the clerkship game (not in terms of applying since I'm a 2L, but in terms of learning about the process). Does the prestige and reputation of the firm where you've summered factor in to the clerkship application process? Does a Cravath or SullCrom boost an applicant?

TheFriendlyBarber
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Re: SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:07 am

eliekedourie wrote:I'm late to the clerkship game (not in terms of applying since I'm a 2L, but in terms of learning about the process). Does the prestige and reputation of the firm where you've summered factor in to the clerkship application process? Does a Cravath or SullCrom boost an applicant?


Depends on the judge, but generally speaking, yes it does.

imchuckbass58
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Re: SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby imchuckbass58 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:46 pm

TheFriendlyBarber wrote:
eliekedourie wrote:I'm late to the clerkship game (not in terms of applying since I'm a 2L, but in terms of learning about the process). Does the prestige and reputation of the firm where you've summered factor in to the clerkship application process? Does a Cravath or SullCrom boost an applicant?


Depends on the judge, but generally speaking, yes it does.


Have to disagree here. I think "prestige" (at least traditionally conceived - i.e., Vault) does not play a role. Reputation may play a role, but by reputation I mean reputation for having a good appellate practice/and or being a breeding ground for good clerks.

Based on anecdotal experience from the 2nd circuit, by far the most clerks summered at WilmerHale. 500 Pearl is full of former WilmerHale SAs and associates. You also see Cleary, DPW, and Paul Weiss a lot. I don't remember meeting a single clerk from Cravath or S&C (I am sure they were there, but not in as large numbers).

You can argue correlation/causation (i.e., Cravath and S&C SAs aren't as interested in clerking), and I'm sure Cravath and S&C SAs are generally plenty qualified based on their grades. But you don't see them in larger numbers and in fact see them in probably much smaller proportions in judge's chambers.

Keep in mind that most judges are also former prosecutors, and (1) don't really care about firms' reputations in private practice, and (2) to the extent they do care, their perception of reputation is based on the quality of the litigators appearing before them on a regular basis, not vault rankings. So firms that litigate a lot (i.e., PW, WilmerHale) probably have a better rep than say S&C, which is predominantly corporate, and has a litigation department that's heavily skewed towards investigations.

Anonymous User
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Re: SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:50 pm

good to hear about WilmerHale being a good name for clerkships since I'm gonna summer there

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Re: SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:19 pm

Anonymous because some of this information is from my judge.

I agree with imchuckbass that, say, Cravath and SullCrom won't give you any real advantage over a different V25 firm with a good litigation department. I think the key here is that working for a top firm with a top litigation department in general will be an advantage. But being at Cravath, PW, WilmerHale, etc., will give you an advantage over someone who is not going to a top firm. That being said, judges do indeed have their own ideas about which firms have top litigation departments. For example, my judge specifically advised me against going to Ropes in NYC (which was one of the firms I was considering) because, in her opinion, their NYC litigation department, unlike the Boston office, is not top class, and not as good as the other firms I was considering.

Once caveat: I think putting Cravath in the same bracket as SullCrom or STB is not accurate, since Cravath is probably the only V5 firm whose lit dept is as good as -- or perhaps better than -- that of any other big NYC firm. Also, in my anecdotal experience Cravath litigators do clerk to a greater degree than litigators at the more "corporate-oriented" firms, and they generally clerk for prominent judges on prestigious courts.

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Re: SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:33 pm

Cravath is probably the only V5 firm whose lit dept is as good as -- or perhaps better than -- that of any other big NYC firm.


Skadden?

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Re: SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:35 pm

If your firm has a good reputation with the judge, that's always a plus. But judges have differing views on firms, so I wouldn't let this influence the firm you choose. Maybe if you are only applying to judges in a particular location (say, New York City), you might want to consider reputation, but if you're like most applicants and are applying across the country, it's unlikely to matter as much. But you should consider how many former clerks are at the firms you're choosing between, since they can provide invaluable assistance in the application process and even get you interviews.

Anonymous User
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Re: SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:37 pm

Judges can have pretty quirky views on these things. I think 99.9% of federal judges would look at you like you were a space alien if you mentioned Vault rankings.

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Re: SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Cravath is probably the only V5 firm whose lit dept is as good as -- or perhaps better than -- that of any other big NYC firm.


Skadden?


and DPW?

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Re: SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:31 pm

How does working at a lit boutique over the summer like Keker or Susman impact clerkship prospects?

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Re: SA Firm Impact on Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How does working at a lit boutique over the summer like Keker or Susman impact clerkship prospects?

Write your own ticket. These firms wouldn't hire someone if they didn't think he/she was qualified to land an Article III clerkship.




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