Clerkship cover letter - talk up successful advocacy?

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Clerkship cover letter - talk up successful advocacy?

Postby mzing12 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:45 pm

Hey TLS,

I'm currently applying for clerkships and I have a quick question. My LS grades / honors aren't so great (bottom 50% for the first one, non-existent for the other)...

But, I've represented close to a dozen clients in administrative and criminal court and I've won everything in that regard. Should I talk this up on my cover letter? I don't know what the etiquette or usefulness is re: dropping legal "victories", but I don't have much to work with when it comes to inside-law-school accomplishments, though I've been nothing but successful in actually advocating for clients in court.

Also, I'm a professional writer with years of corporate writing/project managing experience, and I'm a published author. Would this experience be worth mentioning to the judge?



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Re: Clerkship cover letter - talk up successful advocacy?

Postby spondee » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:11 pm

Shouldn't all of that be on your resume instead?


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Re: Clerkship cover letter - talk up successful advocacy?

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:24 pm

I think the thing that'll hurt you even more than your grades is the fact that it's October 1st and you are just trying to figure out what to put in a cover letter.

Anyway, use what you've got going for's obviously not grades (or timeliness), so highlight all the positives you can. Can't hurt.

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Re: Clerkship cover letter - talk up successful advocacy?

Postby SteelReserve » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:11 pm

I am a state trial clerk so I do have experience in applying for clerkships.

First off, if you are a 3L and you are just now applying for a clerkship (at any level), you are wayyyyyyy behind the curve and likely will not receive an offer from any judge except for specific state judges that don't recruit in September.

Second, unless you're bottom 50% at Harvard, that rank essentially eliminates you from all clerkships. Why? Because judges at all levels receive HUNDREDS of resumes per clerkship, and they narrow the list by GPA, *then* they start looking at individual experience. In other words, your resume will not even receive a glance from most judges.

Try to fit your experience in the first or second sentence of your cover letter because you need that up front and center. It's entirely possible you'd make a great lawyer/clerk, but given that judges receive hundreds of resumes, numbers are the name of the game. You have to figure out a creative way for a judge to instantly ignore your grades while simultaneously being WOWED by your experience.

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