Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

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Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:39 pm

I know a lot of 2Ls who are externing with local federal judges. Does it do you any good? Did firms like it if you had one lined up at OCI? Can it help you get a clerkship?

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I know a lot of 2Ls who are externing with local federal judges. Does it do you any good? Did firms like it if you had one lined up at OCI? Can it help you get a clerkship?

It won't help you get a clerkship. Local firms may like it if there are not other, better options around. But if you are in a major city with federal or state agencies, those tend to be looked upon even better. For instance, I know of one federal judge in a suburban area who averages 20 TTTT interns a year and another in his courthouse who takes 2-3 from the same school. I'm fairly certain having those judges on your resume as term internships would not help you at a biglaw firm.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know a lot of 2Ls who are externing with local federal judges. Does it do you any good? Did firms like it if you had one lined up at OCI? Can it help you get a clerkship?

It won't help you get a clerkship. Local firms may like it if there are not other, better options around. But if you are in a major city with federal or state agencies, those tend to be looked upon even better. For instance, I know of one federal judge in a suburban area who averages 20 TTTT interns a year and another in his courthouse who takes 2-3 from the same school. I'm fairly certain having those judges on your resume as term internships would not help you at a biglaw firm.

It seems like this would be highly practice-area specific?

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know a lot of 2Ls who are externing with local federal judges. Does it do you any good? Did firms like it if you had one lined up at OCI? Can it help you get a clerkship?

It won't help you get a clerkship. Local firms may like it if there are not other, better options around. But if you are in a major city with federal or state agencies, those tend to be looked upon even better. For instance, I know of one federal judge in a suburban area who averages 20 TTTT interns a year and another in his courthouse who takes 2-3 from the same school. I'm fairly certain having those judges on your resume as term internships would not help you at a biglaw firm.

It seems like this would be highly practice-area specific?

Um, not really. If you go to a law-enforcement organization's enforcement unit, like the NLRB or DHS-CRCL then yes, that is very specific. If you go to a state AG or the GSA-OGC, then no, it would be very generalist. Also, unless you plan on saying "a good litigator can litigate anything" to a firm at OCI, you had better have some vague notion of a practice area to talk about.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby zomginternets » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:57 am

I think there is some small resume boost that comes with federal externships, especially COA ones. I frequently see firms advertise that their associates externed for a particular judge, so it must have some sort of sellable quality at least to their clients, which the firm would value. But I don't think it's going to make or break your candidacy.. it might get you the screener interview at best.

Probably the networking opportunity greatest benefit. You'll spend 8 hours/day with the clerks for a semester, who will likely go on to lead very prestigious careers--if they have a high opinion of your work product, it might help you down the line one day. I'm unsure how much contact externs get with the judge (i'm sure it varies), but if the judge likes you and is willing to take or even make a call on your behalf for either a clerkship or biglaw interview, that'll give you a huge boost in you application.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Citizen Genet » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know a lot of 2Ls who are externing with local federal judges. Does it do you any good? Did firms like it if you had one lined up at OCI? Can it help you get a clerkship?

It won't help you get a clerkship. Local firms may like it if there are not other, better options around. But if you are in a major city with federal or state agencies, those tend to be looked upon even better. For instance, I know of one federal judge in a suburban area who averages 20 TTTT interns a year and another in his courthouse who takes 2-3 from the same school. I'm fairly certain having those judges on your resume as term internships would not help you at a biglaw firm.


It is much more judge-specific than you are making it out to be. Some judges refuse to hire externs/interns for clerkships. I know of two judges specifically who frequently hire from their unpaid pool. (Won't divulge since both try to keep that information limited to get fewer unpaid apps.) I had a friend whom a judge pulled aside at the end of his first summer and told him to apply for a clerkship when time came; clerked for him two years later.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby ggocat » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can it help you get a clerkship?


Yes, but only if you are already a competitive applicant.

FWIW, I've seen the following:
federal circuit and district judges who have many interns and do not hire any as clerks;
federal district judges who have interns and sometimes hire them as clerks;
state appellate judges who have interns and do not hire them as clerks;
state appellate judges who have interns and sometimes hire them as clerks;
many law clerks who interned for a judge and were then hired by another judge as a law clerk;
many law clerks who never interned for a judge.

For all of the above, students who landed a clerkship would probably have been in the running without the internship. Some judges prefer to interview/hire students with a judicial internship. Others don't care at all. Clerkship hiring is so competitive that an internship might help get an interview, but it won't make up for sub-par grades.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:50 pm

Why would a judge hire an extern with bad credentials in the first place?

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby UCLAtransfer » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:58 pm

In addition to what has been said before: no exams, maintain GPA due to full semester of pass/fail.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:54 pm

I think that externing for a judge that a firm presents cases to could definitely give you an advantage in that firm. For example, externing in the bankruptcy court in DE would give you an advantage at DE firms.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Omerta » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:23 pm

2/3Ls that I've talked to said externing is waayyyyy better than taking another bs class in terms of preparing you for practice. One graduate said his CoA externship was perfect because he wanted the "clerking experience" but didn't want to forgo the biglaw salary for a year since he had a young family.

I think posters underestimate the benefit in terms of clerkship applications. Yeah, competitive characteristics are a must regardless. But still, everyone with a halfway decent shot is top 10%/LR/published; a recommendation from a federal judge could be the deciding factor. GTL or other clerks could prove me wrong though.

Also, I'd love to extern for a federal judge because getting a clerkship is so difficult (especially since I'm not on LR).

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby random5483 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:30 pm

Omerta wrote:2/3Ls that I've talked to said externing is waayyyyy better than taking another bs class in terms of preparing you for practice. One graduate said his CoA externship was perfect because he wanted the "clerking experience" but didn't want to forgo the biglaw salary for a year since he had a young family.

I think posters underestimate the benefit in terms of clerkship applications. Yeah, competitive characteristics are a must regardless. But still, everyone with a halfway decent shot is top 10%/LR/published; a recommendation from a federal judge could be the deciding factor. GTL or other clerks could prove me wrong though.

Also, I'd love to extern for a federal judge because getting a clerkship is so difficult (especially since I'm not on LR).



First, a federal CoA internship is fairly prestigious, even for a 2L. Getting anything less (e.g. District Court internship) is fine, but will hurt your friends chance of getting a big law job on grauation. Most big law hiring is done through a summer associate program during the summer of your 2L year. Thus, interning at a court your 2L summer will hurt. Doing an Fall or Spring externship with a court or doing a summer 1L externship with a court though can provide great experience.

If your goal is not big law, then doing an externship with a court can be a solid choice. Really depends on what you are interested in.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Renzo » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:31 pm

NYU actively discourages students from judicial externships and they give two reasons for doing so. First, they found that many (but not all) interns/externs didn't get much substantive work or feedback; they were essentially office help for the clerks. Second, they looked at their placement data and found that it did not help people get clerkships.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby random5483 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:59 pm

Renzo wrote:NYU actively discourages students from judicial externships and they give two reasons for doing so. First, they found that many (but not all) interns/externs didn't get much substantive work or feedback; they were essentially office help for the clerks. Second, they looked at their placement data and found that it did not help people get clerkships.



Not sure about the overall judicial externship experience, but mine was awesome. For a second year internship though, it probably is not as good as the other options.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby zomginternets » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:23 pm

Renzo wrote:NYU actively discourages students from judicial externships and they give two reasons for doing so. First, they found that many (but not all) interns/externs didn't get much substantive work or feedback; they were essentially office help for the clerks. Second, they looked at their placement data and found that it did not help people get clerkships.


I can see perhaps 1L summer externs not getting much substantive work. If you're doing a 2L spring/summer externship though (after you've done evidence and con law), I'd hope they'd be more willing to give you substantive responsibilities. From the people I've talked to that have previously externed for the COA judges in the local circuit court, they appear to give very substantive assignments to the externs (large sections of the bench memo and writing unpublished opinions).

As for the placement data, I wouldn't argue that the externship in itself won't give you a boost, but if you make good use of your time there (i.e. network and apple polish), then I think there's a potential for getting that all-important recommendation from the judge.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:00 pm

zomginternets wrote:
Renzo wrote:NYU actively discourages students from judicial externships and they give two reasons for doing so. First, they found that many (but not all) interns/externs didn't get much substantive work or feedback; they were essentially office help for the clerks. Second, they looked at their placement data and found that it did not help people get clerkships.


I can see perhaps 1L summer externs not getting much substantive work. If you're doing a 2L spring/summer externship though (after you've done evidence and con law), I'd hope they'd be more willing to give you substantive responsibilities. From the people I've talked to that have previously externed for the COA judges in the local circuit court, they appear to give very substantive assignments to the externs (large sections of the bench memo and writing unpublished opinions).

As for the placement data, I wouldn't argue that the externship in itself won't give you a boost, but if you make good use of your time there (i.e. network and apple polish), then I think there's a potential for getting that all-important recommendation from the judge.


I completely agree. I did a full time externship for a C.D. Cal. judge during my 2L year, and it was absolutely fantastic. Obviously you have to prove yourself to get good substantive work, and experiences will vary based on the judge, but the vast majority of the people I talked to who externed during 2L or 3L year had a stellar experience. I was able to write full draft orders on dispositive motions (M2D, MSJ, class cert, etc.), and was basically treated just like a clerk. I am also still very close with my judge, and consider him to be a great mentor even now.

If you want to get a boost in clerkship apps, I don't know that externing helps much in most cases, but in terms of the experience itself, I don't think you can beat it. (I did get a LoR from the judge, but I don't know how many judges typically do that.)

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby zomginternets » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:
zomginternets wrote:
Renzo wrote:NYU actively discourages students from judicial externships and they give two reasons for doing so. First, they found that many (but not all) interns/externs didn't get much substantive work or feedback; they were essentially office help for the clerks. Second, they looked at their placement data and found that it did not help people get clerkships.


I can see perhaps 1L summer externs not getting much substantive work. If you're doing a 2L spring/summer externship though (after you've done evidence and con law), I'd hope they'd be more willing to give you substantive responsibilities. From the people I've talked to that have previously externed for the COA judges in the local circuit court, they appear to give very substantive assignments to the externs (large sections of the bench memo and writing unpublished opinions).

As for the placement data, I wouldn't argue that the externship in itself won't give you a boost, but if you make good use of your time there (i.e. network and apple polish), then I think there's a potential for getting that all-important recommendation from the judge.


I completely agree. I did a full time externship for a C.D. Cal. judge during my 2L year, and it was absolutely fantastic. Obviously you have to prove yourself to get good substantive work, and experiences will vary based on the judge, but the vast majority of the people I talked to who externed during 2L or 3L year had a stellar experience. I was able to write full draft orders on dispositive motions (M2D, MSJ, class cert, etc.), and was basically treated just like a clerk. I am also still very close with my judge, and consider him to be a great mentor even now.

If you want to get a boost in clerkship apps, I don't know that externing helps much in most cases, but in terms of the experience itself, I don't think you can beat it. (I did get a LoR from the judge, but I don't know how many judges typically do that.)



It's very impressive that you got the judge to write you a LoR. What did you do to get his attention? How much interaction did you have with him? Was it just casual convo or did you actually discuss pending motions and points of law with him?

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:36 am

OMG, yes. I've done an externship with a federal district court judge, and every interviewer has asked me about it. It also gives you something to discuss during your job interviews.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:06 pm

Depends on the judge whether it's a good or substantive experience, but it's more likely that you'll be working for the clerks. It might help with clerkships but the overwhelming likelihood is that it won't. You'd probably have better luck at a federal agency.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OMG, yes. I've done an externship with a federal district court judge, and every interviewer has asked me about it. It also gives you something to discuss during your job interviews.

But what else did you have on your resume? Were they picking among your prior WE as an investment banker and the externship or your semester job with the state EPA and the externship or was it the most notable legal thing on your resume?

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Grizz » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:48 pm

random5483 wrote:First, a federal CoA internship is fairly prestigious, even for a 2L.

Not really.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:27 pm

Omerta wrote:2/3Ls that I've talked to said externing is waayyyyy better than taking another bs class in terms of preparing you for practice. One graduate said his CoA externship was perfect because he wanted the "clerking experience" but didn't want to forgo the biglaw salary for a year since he had a young family.

I think posters underestimate the benefit in terms of clerkship applications. Yeah, competitive characteristics are a must regardless. But still, everyone with a halfway decent shot is top 10%/LR/published; a recommendation from a federal judge could be the deciding factor. GTL or other clerks could prove me wrong though.

Also, I'd love to extern for a federal judge because getting a clerkship is so difficult (especially since I'm not on LR).
Most judges (mine and all the ones in the same court, and all others who hired students from my school) have a rule to not write recommendations for interns from the summer or from during the school year. They might take a phone call as a reference, but having a judge you interned for write you a clerkship recommendation letter is pretty rare IME. Further, many have rules whereby they refuse to hire former interns as clerks so as not to make the intern summer/semester a long competition.

Moral of the story: if you don't want to clerk, as your friend said, I suppose it's a good experience in that it's halfway like a clerkship. But if you do, it's not going to get you all that far. It probably won't actively hurt you (beyond the fact that your judge likely is off your list of potential clerkships), but I doubt it provides much benefit at all.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Renzo » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:32 pm

Most judges (mine and all the ones in the same court, and all others who hired students from my school) have a rule to not write recommendations for interns from the summer or from during the school year. They might take a phone call as a reference, but having a judge you interned for write you a clerkship recommendation letter is pretty rare IME. Further, many have rules whereby they refuse to hire former interns as clerks so as not to make the intern summer/semester a long competition.

Moral of the story: if you don't want to clerk, as your friend said, I suppose it's a good experience in that it's halfway like a clerkship. But if you do, it's not going to get you all that far. It probably won't actively hurt you (beyond the fact that your judge likely is off your list of potential clerkships), but I doubt it provides much benefit at all.[/quote]

This is all true. I didn't do an internship with a judge, but I've had 5 federal judges as professors; and in talking with them they universally have said that they don't ever write recommendations. One offered to accept calls on my behalf, the others didn't offer and I didn't ask.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:44 pm

If you want to clerk in that courthouse it's awesome. get to know other clerks, judges etc. and your app. may get pulled from the hundreds they receive.

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Re: Is there any benefit whatsoever for 2Ls to extern w judges?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:24 am

What about the work? Does writing opinions and memos in this context translate to firm work?




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