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tycho_brahe
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby tycho_brahe » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:53 pm

dude calm down, of course they aren't legally binding rules, and the article doesn't make them out to be. it's just a catchy lede. this story is less a hit job on the clerkship application process and more intended as a "slice of life" story on nervous overachieving law students.

i hardly detect any judgment in the article, much less any real insinuation that judges are hypocrites. why would she bother to express judgment anyway? the world does not give two shits about the merits (or lack thereof) of the clerkship hiring process.

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Cavalier
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby Cavalier » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:54 pm

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Last edited by Cavalier on Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:59 am

The fact is that there are thousands more highly qualified applicants than there are slots. It is ridiculous and sad that judges think they're competing over anything--especially since law school grades have little to do with writing ability and thus the most coveted applicants may lack skill in the very task they're being hired to do. Despite the mostly minor inaccuracies catalogued above, the article does convey the bizarre fact that powerful, life-tenured judges are snuffling after the prestige of their clerks for no good reason.

Anonymous User
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:The fact is that there are thousands more highly qualified applicants than there are slots. It is ridiculous and sad that judges think they're competing over anything--especially since law school grades have little to do with writing ability and thus the most coveted applicants may lack skill in the very task they're being hired to do. Despite the mostly minor inaccuracies catalogued above, the article does convey the bizarre fact that powerful, life-tenured judges are snuffling after the prestige of their clerks for no good reason.

Strong credentials are correlated with strong legal writing ability. The correlation is perhaps weak, but judges have little else to base their hiring decisions on. It's no different than firms fawning over students with high grades at T14 schools and basically ignoring students with slightly lower grades or who attend slightly lower ranked schools.

CanadianWolf
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:31 am

Interesting article & insightful notes. Thank you for sharing your insider's knowledge & point of view. It does seem, however, that Judge Posner's experience validates some points made in the article.

P.S. Curious as to others' take (especially GTL REV) on the statement that "law school grades have little to do with writing ability" posted above by an anonymous poster.

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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The fact is that there are thousands more highly qualified applicants than there are slots. It is ridiculous and sad that judges think they're competing over anything--especially since law school grades have little to do with writing ability and thus the most coveted applicants may lack skill in the very task they're being hired to do. Despite the mostly minor inaccuracies catalogued above, the article does convey the bizarre fact that powerful, life-tenured judges are snuffling after the prestige of their clerks for no good reason.

Strong credentials are correlated with strong legal writing ability. The correlation is perhaps weak, but judges have little else to base their hiring decisions on. It's no different than firms fawning over students with high grades at T14 schools and basically ignoring students with slightly lower grades or who attend slightly lower ranked schools.


To a certain extent your analogy works, but law firms are at least going to have to post the bios of their new hires on their websites. Websites are there to impress clients. Nobody (save perhaps other judges) cares about the credentials of clerks. In any case, law firms have to hire way more people than federal judges do--and yet they have little difficulty adhering to NALP guidelines. The fact that judges hire fancy candidates makes sense; the fact that there is a feeding frenzy over the "best" of those candidates does not.

I would also venture that the personality of a clerk matters more than a personality of a summer associate because the judge is going to have to work with a clerk closely for an entire year--but the interview process is such that there is far more time devoted to fit with a law firm than a judge.

Maybe I'm just cynical, having heard stories from a classmate of mine whose judge literally said in the interview that his/her writing sample was awful but he/she was being hired anyway and knowing that certain judges cited in the article are just going to waste the skills of a talented clerk because they don't have clerks draft opinions, but the way federal judges pile on top of each other to access an enormous wealth of talented candidates is just undignified.

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vamedic03
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:06 pm

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Last edited by vamedic03 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:38 pm

I'm the anon above; I'm posting anonymously mainly because I don't want you to know what school I go to. Doesn't help a school's clerkship numbers to have clerkship candidates bitching about the hiring process. Please respect that.

Anyway, my point is slightly more complicated than you guys are making it out to be. Of course judges are going to rely heavily on grades; my point is that the feeding frenzy for the very top of the class is taking things too far. If you think about your school and who would make the best clerkship candidates, it isn't necessarily the people ranked one through twenty, because a lot of those people can't write and some of them have very odd personalities. At every highly ranked school these days, the number of very highly qualified people vastly exceeds the number of clerkship slots, and that doesn't even take alumni into consideration. There is thus no reason for exploding offers and no reason for deviation from the hiring plan--except for the fact that federal judges have gigantic egos.

I also find it funny (though obviously inevitable) that it's so much easier for conservatives to get COA clerkships. Because there are fewer conservative clerkship candidates, truly conservative judges tend to select from below the very top of the class--and yet things seem to work out just fine for those judges. Liberal judges could probably do the same thing, but instead: feeding frenzy!

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BruceWayne
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby BruceWayne » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm the anon above; I'm posting anonymously mainly because I don't want you to know what school I go to. Doesn't help a school's clerkship numbers to have clerkship candidates bitching about the hiring process. Please respect that.

Anyway, my point is slightly more complicated than you guys are making it out to be. Of course judges are going to rely heavily on grades; my point is that the feeding frenzy for the very top of the class is taking things too far. If you think about your school and who would make the best clerkship candidates, it isn't necessarily the people ranked one through twenty, because a lot of those people can't write and some of them have very odd personalities. At every highly ranked school these days, the number of very highly qualified people vastly exceeds the number of clerkship slots, and that doesn't even take alumni into consideration. There is thus no reason for exploding offers and no reason for deviation from the hiring plan--except for the fact that federal judges have gigantic egos.

I also find it funny (though obviously inevitable) that it's so much easier for conservatives to get COA clerkships. Because there are fewer conservative clerkship candidates, truly conservative judges tend to select from below the very top of the class--and yet things seem to work out just fine for those judges. Liberal judges could probably do the same thing, but instead: feeding frenzy!


You're wasting your breath. The type of people you're having this argument with are the types of people who view grades as the be all end all, and view law school exam grading as an objective sound grading process--and as a good way of evaluating someone's grasp on a subject.

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vamedic03
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:02 pm

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vamedic03
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:02 pm

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Last edited by vamedic03 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lolwat
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby lolwat » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:33 pm

General thought: The hiring plan isn’t very useful. It does create the frenzy over those few days. The analogy to law firm hiring doesn’t work that well because law firms have weeks/months, NALP forces them to keep their offers open for 28 days, etc. The hiring plan, in effect, encourages the opposite.

At every highly ranked school these days, the number of very highly qualified people vastly exceeds the number of clerkship slots, and that doesn't even take alumni into consideration. There is thus no reason for exploding offers and no reason for deviation from the hiring plan--except for the fact that federal judges have gigantic egos.


I had a longer response to this line of post, but I think it can be summed up pretty easily. As a candidate, you probably have your top choices, whether it's feeders or a judge you know has a good rep. You'd likely "settle" for a clerkship with any judge that you'd get along with and who gives you an offer, but you prefer these specific judges. Same thing on the other side. By the time judges cut down the 1000 applications to the 10 people they want to interview, they've already made their top choices, barring issues of fit. It is irrelevant that there might be other "very highly qualified people" out there. They don't want to settle for their second choice if they don't have to, even if that second choice is also very highly qualified for the job.

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newyorker88
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby newyorker88 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The fact is that there are thousands more highly qualified applicants than there are slots. It is ridiculous and sad that judges think they're competing over anything--especially since law school grades have little to do with writing ability and thus the most coveted applicants may lack skill in the very task they're being hired to do. Despite the mostly minor inaccuracies catalogued above, the article does convey the bizarre fact that powerful, life-tenured judges are snuffling after the prestige of their clerks for no good reason.

Strong credentials are correlated with strong legal writing ability.


What's your source that there's a correlation?

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newyorker88
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby newyorker88 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm the anon above; I'm posting anonymously mainly because I don't want you to know what school I go to. Doesn't help a school's clerkship numbers to have clerkship candidates bitching about the hiring process. Please respect that.

Anyway, my point is slightly more complicated than you guys are making it out to be. Of course judges are going to rely heavily on grades; my point is that the feeding frenzy for the very top of the class is taking things too far. If you think about your school and who would make the best clerkship candidates, it isn't necessarily the people ranked one through twenty, because a lot of those people can't write and some of them have very odd personalities. At every highly ranked school these days, the number of very highly qualified people vastly exceeds the number of clerkship slots, and that doesn't even take alumni into consideration. There is thus no reason for exploding offers and no reason for deviation from the hiring plan--except for the fact that federal judges have gigantic egos.

I also find it funny (though obviously inevitable) that it's so much easier for conservatives to get COA clerkships. Because there are fewer conservative clerkship candidates, truly conservative judges tend to select from below the very top of the class--and yet things seem to work out just fine for those judges. Liberal judges could probably do the same thing, but instead: feeding frenzy!


Curious, how do judges know whether you're a liberal or conservative?

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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:40 pm

vamedic03 wrote:(1) There are odd personalities evenly distributed throughout the ranks.

(2) I have yet to see the supposed inverse correlation between writing ability and class rank that you are suggesting.

(3) I think you missed a major point here that has been made by both GTL and others - THE HIRING PLAN CREATES THE FRENZY. The judges who deviate from the hiring plan are less likely to give exploding offers than those on the hiring plan. Think about it, the judge who deviates from the hiring plan can takes weeks or months to evaluate candidates. That judge can then take a couple weeks to interview candidates and can give candidates time to decide whether to take the offer. In contrast, the judge who 'abides' by the plan compresses his selection period to 3 days and compresses his interview period to 1-2 days. This leads to (a) increased reliance on trusted professors and grades and (b) exploding offers. You should be advocating the ditching of the plan, not the increased adherence to the plan.


(1) Evenly? Doubtful. But regardless, in my experience tippy top gets the clerkships regardless of personality. Which I think is odd.

(2) I am not suggesting anything of the sort. Inverse correlation? That would be ridiculous.

(3) OK, fair enough. I should be more specific. The problem with deviation from the hiring plan is that without the plan (and it's already happening), clerkship selection backs up to the point where candidates haven't even written their notes or successfully navigated a 2L summer job. That takes away data that judges can and should be using if the goal is sophisticated writing and analysis. The fact that judges think they need to beat other judges to the top candidates is part of the weird dynamic I'm criticizing, of course. Outside the hiring plan the feeding frenzy just takes another form.

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MrKappus
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby MrKappus » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:42 pm

tycho_brahe wrote:dude calm down, of course they aren't legally binding rules, and the article doesn't make them out to be. it's just a catchy lede. this story is less a hit job on the clerkship application process and more intended as a "slice of life" story on nervous overachieving law students.

i hardly detect any judgment in the article, much less any real insinuation that judges are hypocrites. why would she bother to express judgment anyway? the world does not give two shits about the merits (or lack thereof) of the clerkship hiring process.

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California Babe
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby California Babe » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:44 pm

newyorker88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm the anon above; I'm posting anonymously mainly because I don't want you to know what school I go to. Doesn't help a school's clerkship numbers to have clerkship candidates bitching about the hiring process. Please respect that.

Anyway, my point is slightly more complicated than you guys are making it out to be. Of course judges are going to rely heavily on grades; my point is that the feeding frenzy for the very top of the class is taking things too far. If you think about your school and who would make the best clerkship candidates, it isn't necessarily the people ranked one through twenty, because a lot of those people can't write and some of them have very odd personalities. At every highly ranked school these days, the number of very highly qualified people vastly exceeds the number of clerkship slots, and that doesn't even take alumni into consideration. There is thus no reason for exploding offers and no reason for deviation from the hiring plan--except for the fact that federal judges have gigantic egos.

I also find it funny (though obviously inevitable) that it's so much easier for conservatives to get COA clerkships. Because there are fewer conservative clerkship candidates, truly conservative judges tend to select from below the very top of the class--and yet things seem to work out just fine for those judges. Liberal judges could probably do the same thing, but instead: feeding frenzy!


Curious, how do judges know whether you're a liberal or conservative?


Whether or not you have The Federalist Society on your resume.

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Cavalier
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby Cavalier » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:49 pm

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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I also find it funny (though obviously inevitable) that it's so much easier for conservatives to get COA clerkships. Because there are fewer conservative clerkship candidates, truly conservative judges tend to select from below the very top of the class--and yet things seem to work out just fine for those judges. Liberal judges could probably do the same thing, but instead: feeding frenzy!


I don't think it's much easier for conservatives to land a CoA job. While some judges are definitely looking for conservative clerks, most don't really care--they just want smart people. In fact, some conservative judges specifically look for a liberal clerk or two.

Full disclosure: I'm a fed soc person who is clerking.

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vamedic03
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:22 pm

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Last edited by vamedic03 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

charliec9
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby charliec9 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:02 pm

vamedic03 wrote:I think you missed a major point here that has been made by both GTL and others - THE HIRING PLAN CREATES THE FRENZY. The judges who deviate from the hiring plan are less likely to give exploding offers than those on the hiring plan. Think about it, the judge who deviates from the hiring plan can takes weeks or months to evaluate candidates. That judge can then take a couple weeks to interview candidates and can give candidates time to decide whether to take the offer. In contrast, the judge who 'abides' by the plan compresses his selection period to 3 days and compresses his interview period to 1-2 days. This leads to (a) increased reliance on trusted professors and grades and (b) exploding offers. You should be advocating the ditching of the plan, not the increased adherence to the plan.


Ditching the plan does lead to another problem, though, one that could also prove problematic for students. From what I've been told, the plan originally came into existence because a certain number of hyper-competitive judges started hiring earlier and earlier, in an effort to snatch talent from each other. This pattern led the judges to creep earlier and earlier as cycles passed by, ending with a sizable minority of judges hiring applicants as early as their second semester of law school. A large number of judges thought this was ridiculous, and banded together to create a framework of hiring dates. Now, granted, that framework was voluntary, but enough judges joined on to reach something of a critical mass, such that the judges who still hired early didn't progress too early in their hiring. With the plan breaking down--or broke down already--there's a fair risk that hiring will return to that pattern.

I'm not sure that's a huge problem, but it's worth mentioning as a possible effect of the plan break down, one that many judges--very smart, able judges--thought was a big issue when they tried to fix it.

Anonymous User
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:20 pm

vamedic03 wrote:I would also suggest that the anonymous poster step forward and post under his/her username-arguing that judges shouldn't hire from the top of the class isn't exactly revealing personal information.


vamedic03 wrote:And why in the world is this anonymous?


Why people are posting anonymously is none of your business. If you want it to be, become a moderator.

I'm the anon above; I'm posting anonymously mainly because I don't want you to know what school I go to. Doesn't help a school's clerkship numbers to have clerkship candidates bitching about the hiring process. Please respect that.

Same. I come from a tiny school and have posted information in that school's admission thread that would out me instantly, so I am careful about what I say under my ID.

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newyorker88
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby newyorker88 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:25 pm

California Babe wrote:
newyorker88 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm the anon above; I'm posting anonymously mainly because I don't want you to know what school I go to. Doesn't help a school's clerkship numbers to have clerkship candidates bitching about the hiring process. Please respect that.

Anyway, my point is slightly more complicated than you guys are making it out to be. Of course judges are going to rely heavily on grades; my point is that the feeding frenzy for the very top of the class is taking things too far. If you think about your school and who would make the best clerkship candidates, it isn't necessarily the people ranked one through twenty, because a lot of those people can't write and some of them have very odd personalities. At every highly ranked school these days, the number of very highly qualified people vastly exceeds the number of clerkship slots, and that doesn't even take alumni into consideration. There is thus no reason for exploding offers and no reason for deviation from the hiring plan--except for the fact that federal judges have gigantic egos.

I also find it funny (though obviously inevitable) that it's so much easier for conservatives to get COA clerkships. Because there are fewer conservative clerkship candidates, truly conservative judges tend to select from below the very top of the class--and yet things seem to work out just fine for those judges. Liberal judges could probably do the same thing, but instead: feeding frenzy!


Curious, how do judges know whether you're a liberal or conservative?


Whether or not you have The Federalist Society on your resume.


seriously? it's as simple as writing you're a member of a club on your resume. So someone could just write Columbia republicans on one app and columbia democrats on an app to a liberal judge. It can't be that simple

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vamedic03
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:47 pm

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clintonius
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Re: The New York Times clerkship article: late, wrong

Postby clintonius » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:46 pm

newyorker88 wrote:
California Babe wrote:
newyorker88 wrote:Curious, how do judges know whether you're a liberal or conservative?
Whether or not you have The Federalist Society on your resume.
seriously? it's as simple as writing you're a member of a club on your resume. So someone could just write Columbia republicans on one app and columbia democrats on an app to a liberal judge. It can't be that simple

Did you work for the ACLU? Did you intern at the Heritage Foundation? Did you write your note on the merits of incorporating international law into our domestic torture policies, or advocating for widespread deregulation? Did you RA for a well-known conservative or liberal professor? Have you worked on campaigns? All of this work jumps off a resume, and speaks volumes about your political bent.

Also, I'm guessing most people wouldn't outright lie on their resume.




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