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

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:13 pm

BruceWayne wrote: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.


Isn't there a difference between thinking grades are the be all end all and thinking grades are objective measures of success as a clerk? I don't think grades are the most important thing in law school, but I would think they are still more useful than just about anything else a judge can look at to determine whether a student will make a good clerk. Writing samples are read by plenty of other people and are often not reflective of writing ability. Trying to judge personality based on an interview is difficult. I imagine recommendations could be the best metric, except that I imagine professors usually say the same types of things about how great candidates are, so it is hard to make distinctions.

If you have a variety of grades - some from 3 hour exams, some from take home longer exams, some from papers, some from LRW, etc. - don't you think that is far more reflective of a candidate's ability to grasp the law, write well, and research than most other metrics? But I haven't gone through the clerkship process so maybe I'm not getting it.

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

Postby 03121202698008 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:16 pm

clintonius wrote:
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.


You don't have to lie...just join both groups and only list one or the other. If I listed every group I'm technically a member of, my resume would be way too long.

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

Postby newyorker88 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:23 pm

clintonius wrote:
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.


No I haven't done any of those things. My resume is pretty politically neutral.

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


It's not a lie. I would join both clubs before putting it on my resume. Also, being a member of a club is not a big deal at my school. You just add yourself to the club's listserve and you're a member.

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

Postby California Babe » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:53 pm

newyorker88 wrote:
clintonius wrote:
newyorker88 wrote:
California Babe wrote: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.


No I haven't done any of those things. My resume is pretty politically neutral.

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


It's not a lie. I would join both clubs before putting it on my resume. Also, being a member of a club is not a big deal at my school. You just add yourself to the club's listserve and you're a member.


It's dishonest if you're only joining the club to convince a judge you are either conservative or liberal. Whether or not it's technically "lying" is neither here nor there.

Additionally, judges interview their clerks. A judge interested in making politically motivated hires can probe an applicant's thoughts and beliefs about politics and the law in an interview. But a judge interested in only hiring liberals is probably not going to interview a Fed Soc'er, and vice versa.

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

Postby newyorker88 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:08 pm

Whether it's dishonest or not is not the issue. I'm curious as to how judges know if a clerk is liberal or conservative. Someone stated by club membership on a resume. That doesn't sound right. You seem to suggest judges inquire in an interview. Interesting...

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

Postby lolwat » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:20 pm

newyorker88 wrote:Whether it's dishonest or not is not the issue. I'm curious as to how judges know if a clerk is liberal or conservative. Someone stated by club membership on a resume. That doesn't sound right. You seem to suggest judges inquire in an interview. Interesting...


Yes, judges can ask about whatever they want, including political affiliations, if it matters to them.

Of course it's possible to join one of these organizations for the purpose of putting it on your resume, while not actually being politically aligned with them. If you're lucky, judge wouldn't ask about it, but chances are this would likely come out at the interview in one form or another, and then you're screwed.

As an answer to the basic question though, as someone stated previously, your resume as a whole will tell the judge what your political affiliation is. Membership in these organizations are part of your resume.

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

Postby California Babe » Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:34 pm

newyorker88 wrote:Whether it's dishonest or not is not the issue. I'm curious as to how judges know if a clerk is liberal or conservative. Someone stated by club membership on a resume. That doesn't sound right. You seem to suggest judges inquire in an interview. Interesting...


I don't know why you think people are putting lots of inaccurate information on their resume. Having The Federalist Society on your resume is an indication to a judge that you are a conservative. That means a judge looking to hire liberal clerks probably isn't going to waste time interviewing you. It does not mean you will be hired without being asked about your involvement with The Federalist Society, just like you could expect to be asked about anything you've chosen to list on your resume. Choosing to put Fed Soc on your resume signals to judges where you fall, but I never intended to suggest that judges looking to make political hires will do so without getting to know a potential clerk more than just reading their resume.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:28 pm

In fairness I have College Republicans and some Republican political campaigns on my resume, and although I was very active with the group in college, five years later I'm lefty-meets-libertarian and don't even care enough to vote.

I interviewed with a G.W. Bush appointee, and he asked about my experience with College Republicans (fun, did a lot, etc.) and asked me if I did FedSoc in law school. I just said that I did not. He didn't ask anything else, and I felt no need to clarify. If he wanted to know why, he'd have asked why.

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

Postby ph14 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:26 am

For decades, judges have tried to get ahead of one another to swipe the top graduates from schools like Yale and Harvard, goading some judges to extend offers before students had even completed their first year of law school.


Is that true? I've never heard of clerkship offers extended while someone was a 1L.

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

Postby newyorker88 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:31 am

California Babe wrote:
newyorker88 wrote:Whether it's dishonest or not is not the issue. I'm curious as to how judges know if a clerk is liberal or conservative. Someone stated by club membership on a resume. That doesn't sound right. You seem to suggest judges inquire in an interview. Interesting...


I don't know why you think people are putting lots of inaccurate information on their resume.


I don't. I'm not sure where you got that from.

As an answer to the basic question though, as someone stated previously, your resume as a whole will tell the judge what your political affiliation is.


Not true, many resumes are neutral with respect to politics. If you just have things on your resume like Dean's List, worked at a law firm, that doesn't signal a particular political affilitation.

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

Postby California Babe » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:47 am

newyorker88 wrote:
As an answer to the basic question though, as someone stated previously, your resume as a whole will tell the judge what your political affiliation is.


Not true, many resumes are neutral with respect to politics. If you just have things on your resume like Dean's List, worked at a law firm, that doesn't signal a particular political affilitation.


That's exactly the point. If a resume doesn't indicate an interest in politics/legal policy/etc, then a judge looking to hire someone who does have particular political leanings might skip over that resume for an interview.

It's why the first response to your question was that judges can find conservative or liberal applicants by looking at what orgs are on the resume, such as Fed Soc. It is not as difficult of a question as you're making it out to be.

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

Postby traydeuce » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:38 am

Couple comments:

On politics, one other way that candidates make their leanings known is through their recommenders. I had a liberal-looking resume - externships with liberal judges, internship at a liberal interest group (it was an accident, weird story), on a liberal secondary journal, RA for a liberal professor, liberal recommenders - so I actually told my recommenders to say I was kind of conservative. I think they overdid it a bit, from what I heard, but you can counter that, if you like a judge on the other side of the aisle, by having your recommenders call him. I got some calls from liberal judges that I had my recommenders call.

As to the article, I don't know why GTL is so into defending the judiciary's hiring practices, though I agree that there's nothing the matter with them, and agree with others upthread that grades ought to be the paramount factor - but I will say that my experience was nothing like that at all. I interviewed on Days 1 (late in the afternoon), 2, 3 and 4, got an offer two days after a Day 2 interview, on a Sunday, was given 2 days to think that one over, was told by my Day 3 interviewer that he couldn't decide because he had interviews scheduled through next Tuesday, September 27, and Day 4 had interviews scheduled through last Thursday and gave me 30 minutes to decide whether I wanted to work for him or Day 2. That was in circuits in the middle of the country, Philly, and D.D.C. I don't doubt that Second Circuit/SDNY/DC Cir judges hire as the article describes, but it isn't really typical of most clerkship hiring.

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

Postby lolwat » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:22 am

Not true, many resumes are neutral with respect to politics. If you just have things on your resume like Dean's List, worked at a law firm, that doesn't signal a particular political affilitation.


It is true, because if you just have a resume that doesn't signal a particular political affiliation, you are signaling that you aren't strongly affiliated either way. Even if you technically identify yourself as being conservative or liberal, if you've done nothing in the way of organizations, internships, or anything else worth putting on your resume to signal this, then you probably aren't strongly affiliated enough for a judge that actually looks to hire someone with particular political leanings.

I will say that my experience was nothing like that at all.


From what it sounds like, clerkship hiring is all over the map, with exception of a substantial portion of judges that "follow" the hiring plan insofar as the "receive application" dates are concerned.

Congrats, btw.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:18 am

GTL: I think you've gone overboard. The article made clear that the "rules" are not binding. With such clear explanation, "rule" v. "plan" is sophistry. The point was that if anyone should follow voluntary guidelines (which are supposedly for the good of all), it should be federal judges. And the article was also showing how the current system hurts everyone: judges either choose early and have to ignore the plan; or they choose on the plan and risk losing everyone they like. The days pre-OSCAR meant that students were being hired during 1L year. And students are caught in the middle.

The rest of the critique was finding immaterial problems:

A lot of judges hire only 3 clerks because they have 1 career clerk. Waste of time to break down a mathematical definition of "typically."

The article doesn't lose its effectiveness because others have written on the problem earlier. A lot more people read NY Times than Above the Law, so it introduces a problem that non-lawyers have never contemplated.

Pointing out a broken system and quoting a student saying it can't be fixed renders the article meaningless? Ok, whatever.

Since there are both electronic and paper apps, using the word "some" is ok. When most people say "some," they mean "less than all," which is correct here.

Pointing out semantics issues hardly makes it an inaccurate article. I can't imagine what you do with district court orders, if you're breaking down "some" v. "a lot" and "typically" v. "often"....

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

Postby newyorker88 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:26 pm

So, in light of lack of adherence to this "plan" when's a good time to apply for a clerkship?

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

Postby quiver » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:GTL: I think you've gone overboard. The article made clear that the "rules" are not binding. With such clear explanation, "rule" v. "plan" is sophistry. The point was that if anyone should follow voluntary guidelines (which are supposedly for the good of all), it should be federal judges. And the article was also showing how the current system hurts everyone: judges either choose early and have to ignore the plan; or they choose on the plan and risk losing everyone they like. The days pre-OSCAR meant that students were being hired during 1L year. And students are caught in the middle.

The rest of the critique was finding immaterial problems:

A lot of judges hire only 3 clerks because they have 1 career clerk. Waste of time to break down a mathematical definition of "typically."

The article doesn't lose its effectiveness because others have written on the problem earlier. A lot more people read NY Times than Above the Law, so it introduces a problem that non-lawyers have never contemplated.

Pointing out a broken system and quoting a student saying it can't be fixed renders the article meaningless? Ok, whatever.

Since there are both electronic and paper apps, using the word "some" is ok. When most people say "some," they mean "less than all," which is correct here.

Pointing out semantics issues hardly makes it an inaccurate article. I can't imagine what you do with district court orders, if you're breaking down "some" v. "a lot" and "typically" v. "often"....

I completely disagree with this. I don't think the distinction between "rules" and "plan" was made at all clear in the article. To me, the tone of the article was not that " if anyone should follow voluntary guidelines...it should be federal judges," it was that 1) there are rules in place for clerk hiring, 2) judges routinely violate these rules, and 3) judges can violate the rules because there are no consequences for their actions. The author even describes NCAA rules as being "similar" to the hiring plan, which, to me, only blurs the line between voluntary plan and mandatory rules. She also references the plan with words and phrases like "rules," "supposed to," "cheating," and "no sanctions for breaking the rules." Agree to disagree I guess.

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

Postby lolwat » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:37 pm

newyorker88 wrote:So, in light of lack of adherence to this "plan" when's a good time to apply for a clerkship?


Find out what judges hire off-plan and apply no later than your 2L summer to these judges.

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

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:41 pm

@quiver: After your post, I read the NYT article; my impression is that the distinction was clear enough. "There have been several attempts to levy self-enforced rules..." & the caption under the picture ("Judge K. has criticized efforts to regulate the recruiting process.") make it clear, at least to me, that the rules are not compulsory in nature.

P.S. "Increasingly Judges are choosing to ignore the plan & just recruit on their own schedule."
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby newyorker88 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:50 pm

lolwat wrote:
newyorker88 wrote:So, in light of lack of adherence to this "plan" when's a good time to apply for a clerkship?


Find out what judges hire off-plan and apply no later than your 2L summer to these judges.


thanks!

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

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:54 pm

Confusion, however, between rules & a plan is invited by the author's statement that " [t]he recruiting restrictions officially apply only to current students, so judges can hire graduates whenever they want without being accused of cheating."

P.S. We, as readers of this NYT article, don't know what the author's editor deleted from the piece--often done to accommodate space limitations, and not necessarily done for purposes of clarity.

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

Postby quiver » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:11 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:@quiver: After your post, I read the NYT article; my impression is that the distinction was clear enough. "There have been several attempts to levy self-enforced rules..." & the caption under the picture ("Judge K. has criticized efforts to regulate the recruiting process.") make it clear, at least to me, that the rules are not compulsory in nature.

P.S. "Increasingly Judges are choosing to ignore the plan & just recruit on their own schedule."

CanadianWolf wrote:Confusion, however, between rules & a plan is invited by the author's statement that " [t]he recruiting restrictions officially apply only to current students, so judges can hire graduates whenever they want without being accused of cheating."

P.S. We, as readers of this NYT article, don't know what the author's editor deleted from the piece--often done to accommodate space limitations, and not necessarily done for purposes of clarity.


Fair enough. I think those are the two sides of the coin. To me it just seemed like both the wording and the tone hinted more toward the idea that judges are breaking compulsory rules (though she obviously didn't say that explicitly). And you're definitely right about not knowing what was left on the cutting room floor. I will say that I find the comments to the article much more naive and annoying than anything in the article itself (not surprised, just saying).

Edit: I also just saw this as one of the comments (third comment down): "The article doesn't state anywhere the nature of the rules - are they simply suggested guidelines or do they have some legal force?"

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

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:03 pm

I agree with some other posters that the OP misses the mark with his criticisms. A fair reading of the article clearly leads to the understanding that the plan rules are not compulsory. But, even in light of that perspective, OP's remarks are interesting & informative. Plus, without OP's comments, many would remain unaware of the article.

P.S. Any writer, such as the NYT reporter, who can get direct interviews with the Ninth Circuit head judge & Judge Posner is offering substantial insights into the issue, in my opinion.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:56 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Who is injured when a judge decides to hire early, taking his or her time when doing so? Certainly not students, at least when the judge publicly advertises that s/he is doing so, as many do.


In general, this is my problem with the system. If it was clear who was off plan and who wasn't, that would be fine. But sometimes chambers will say the judge is on-plan, but that's not true. A few of my top judges, who were district judges mind you, ended up being off-plan, and I had no clue, even after doing my best to figure out their hiring schedule.

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

Postby traydeuce » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:32 pm

My school somehow knew who was off-plan, for the most part. I never spoke to a single chambers about it.

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

Postby jb9 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:25 pm

OP: you're getting real worked up about a random article in some newspaper. Chill out dude. Who cares?




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