Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

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Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:44 pm

I just finished up my first year at a top 50 firm and have the opportunity to clerk for a federal magistrate in a major east coast district. My resume is solid - top 10%, LR at a good regional school. Is the clerkship worth taking? Or should I stay at my firm (which is doing very well)? I would hope to parlay my MJ clerkship to a DJ or CoA, but I'm not sure how easy it is to get that second clerkship, especially with many judges hiring for 2012-2013 already.

Any thoughts? Would the MJ clerkship help for DOJ/USA's office? Or is it really DJ/CoA or bust at those places?

Danteshek
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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Danteshek » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:34 pm

Working for a magistrate judge is fucking boring. At least in the CDCA. Mostly social security benefit appeals.

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:40 pm

The work magistrate clerks do is boring. The majority of your work will be Social Security Disability appeals stuff. Not at all challenging and, ultimately, mind-numbing.

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I just finished up my first year at a top 50 firm and have the opportunity to clerk for a federal magistrate in a major east coast district. My resume is solid - top 10%, LR at a good regional school. Is the clerkship worth taking? Or should I stay at my firm (which is doing very well)? I would hope to parlay my MJ clerkship to a DJ or CoA, but I'm not sure how easy it is to get that second clerkship, especially with many judges hiring for 2012-2013 already.

Any thoughts? Would the MJ clerkship help for DOJ/USA's office? Or is it really DJ/CoA or bust at those places?


Is returning to the firm an option? My guess is doing litigation at your firm will make it easier to get in to the USAOs that being a magistrate clerk. Are you trying to get another bite at the DoJ Honor's apple?

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I just finished up my first year at a top 50 firm and have the opportunity to clerk for a federal magistrate in a major east coast district. My resume is solid - top 10%, LR at a good regional school. Is the clerkship worth taking? Or should I stay at my firm (which is doing very well)? I would hope to parlay my MJ clerkship to a DJ or CoA, but I'm not sure how easy it is to get that second clerkship, especially with many judges hiring for 2012-2013 already.

Any thoughts? Would the MJ clerkship help for DOJ/USA's office? Or is it really DJ/CoA or bust at those places?


Is returning to the firm an option? My guess is doing litigation at your firm will make it easier to get in to the USAOs that being a magistrate clerk. Are you trying to get another bite at the DoJ Honor's apple?


I haven't spoken to my firm yet. I assume I can return, but like all firms, they won't hold my position while I'm clerking. With the way the economy is these days, nothing is a sure thing.

The clerkship is in the tristate area (DNJ, EDNY, SDNY), so it's a very competitive district.

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:40 am

Where's GTL? Can you chime in on this one?

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:Where's GTL? Can you chime in on this one?

Bump in the hope that GTL will see it.

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The work magistrate clerks do is boring. The majority of your work will be Social Security Disability appeals stuff. Not at all challenging and, ultimately, mind-numbing.


Disclaimer: I only worked for a MJ for 1L summer, so 2-3 months...but there were 4 interns and none of us worked on an SS appeal the entire summer.

Many districts have staff attorneys to handle the routine stuff.

We did do a ton of 1983 police excessive force cases, so maybe that's replaced SS appeals. We also had several trials and even some corporate litigation. Every district uses its magistrates differently.

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:13 pm

BUMP again...

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:04 pm

I wouldn't leave a job to clerk for a magistrate. maybe if you were unemployed, it'd be worth it.

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:25 am

Are you talking about working for a MJ your second summer of law school, or post-graduation? Those are two very different things (and if you're talking about the former, it's an externship, not a clerkship).

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wiseowl
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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby wiseowl » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are you talking about working for a MJ your second summer of law school, or post-graduation? Those are two very different things (and if you're talking about the former, it's an externship, not a clerkship).


Anonymous User wrote:I just finished up my first year at a top 50 firm and have the opportunity to clerk for a federal magistrate in a major east coast district. My resume is solid - top 10%, LR at a good regional school. Is the clerkship worth taking? Or should I stay at my firm (which is doing very well)? I would hope to parlay my MJ clerkship to a DJ or CoA, but I'm not sure how easy it is to get that second clerkship, especially with many judges hiring for 2012-2013 already.

Any thoughts? Would the MJ clerkship help for DOJ/USA's office? Or is it really DJ/CoA or bust at those places?.

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RMstratosphere
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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby RMstratosphere » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:33 pm

I just want to push back against the notion that all MJs do is social security and disability work. I summered for a FMJ and the vast majority of the judge's work was managing pre-trial discovery in really complex civil litigation. The court had staff attorneys and clerks dedicated to pro se matters and social security work so most of that didn't make it to my judge's chambers. There were certainly Title VII and ADA cases but I didn't see a single social security issue.

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:58 pm

Thanks for all of the replies. I'm still looking for someone who can speak intelligently to the pros/cons of taking this position, keeping in mind my ultimate goal of ending up in a USAOs office in one of the tri-state districts.

I don't want to derail my career by taking a clerkship that will not help me in the long run, just so that I can say I clerked, and perhaps not be able to return to my firm which is really killing it right now. On the other hand, if this were a DJ in the same district, it would be a no brainer...

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for all of the replies. I'm still looking for someone who can speak intelligently to the pros/cons of taking this position, keeping in mind my ultimate goal of ending up in a USAOs office in one of the tri-state districts.

I don't want to derail my career by taking a clerkship that will not help me in the long run, just so that I can say I clerked, and perhaps not be able to return to my firm which is really killing it right now. On the other hand, if this were a DJ in the same district, it would be a no brainer...


BUMP again...running out of time to make a decision on this...GTL? Anyone with better insight?

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Re: Magistrate Clerkship - Yes or No?

Postby beaverfuzz » Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:24 pm

I am a federal district court clerk. In terms of resume fodder for a position with the USAO, I don't think there is much difference between a top 50 firm and a federal magistrate clerkship. If you are interested in the criminal division, the clerkship might get a slight nod, although it is probably marginal at best and not worth the pay cut.

The real value of a clerkship in your situation would be the judge's reference (hopefully a phone call on your behalf) and the interaction you would have with AUSAs (during arraignments, hearings, etc.). But the degree of contact varies wildly between judges; some prohibit their clerks from speaking with parties at all. You should try to find out your prospective judge's policy.




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