Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

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Anonymous User
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Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:24 pm

I'm at 2L DNCG, top 30% secondary journal and moot court. I have a SA with a V50 in a major market. I want to clerk (and do litigation as a career). I also think, from personal connections, that I have a decent chance of clerking with one judge on a certain state supreme court. This state is not where I want to practice or take the bar. Would a federal district court clerkship be preferable to the state supreme court in this situation, or would the supreme court clerkship be better for my getting hired after the clerkship (in the major market I want to eventually work in)?

LawIdiot86
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm at 2L DNCG, top 30% secondary journal and moot court. I have a SA with a V50 in a major market. I want to clerk (and do litigation as a career). I also think, from personal connections, that I have a decent chance of clerking with one judge on a certain state supreme court. This state is not where I want to practice or take the bar. Would a federal district court clerkship be preferable to the state supreme court in this situation, or would the supreme court clerkship be better for my getting hired after the clerkship (in the major market I want to eventually work in)?

Take the federal district unless you want to practice in the state of the state supreme court.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:04 pm

With those stats you're potentially going to have trouble getting a district court clerkship.

Anonymous User
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:25 pm

I've read the original post about 20 times now, and it still doesn't make any coherent sense to me. It's also quite possible that law school has finally stolen my brain.

(didnt mean to be anonymous...more proof that my mind is gone)

LawIdiot86
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've read the original post about 20 times now, and it still doesn't make any coherent sense to me. It's also quite possible that law school has finally stolen my brain.

(didnt mean to be anonymous...more proof that my mind is gone)

I mean... It's not the most clearly worded statement ever and there are some oddities in his expectations of getting a Dct clerkship, but it's coherent.

zomginternets
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby zomginternets » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm at 2L DNCG, top 30% secondary journal and moot court. I have a SA with a V50 in a major market. I want to clerk (and do litigation as a career). I also think, from personal connections, that I have a decent chance of clerking with one judge on a certain state supreme court. This state is not where I want to practice or take the bar. Would a federal district court clerkship be preferable to the state supreme court in this situation, or would the supreme court clerkship be better for my getting hired after the clerkship (in the major market I want to eventually work in)?


So wait you have the SA (which presumably will turn into a full time offer) and want to work at a different firm in the same market upon finishing the clerkship? Or do you just want greater options? Or to switch market?

Anonymous User
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:05 pm

zomginternets wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at 2L DNCG, top 30% secondary journal and moot court. I have a SA with a V50 in a major market. I want to clerk (and do litigation as a career). I also think, from personal connections, that I have a decent chance of clerking with one judge on a certain state supreme court. This state is not where I want to practice or take the bar. Would a federal district court clerkship be preferable to the state supreme court in this situation, or would the supreme court clerkship be better for my getting hired after the clerkship (in the major market I want to eventually work in)?


So wait you have the SA (which presumably will turn into a full time offer) and want to work at a different firm in the same market upon finishing the clerkship? Or do you just want greater options? Or to switch market?


OP here. Sorry for those who found the statement confusing, I was trying to be somewhat obscure for anonymity reasons. A couple of responses. I dont think I'm even close to a sure thing for a district ct clerkship with my numbers, but I also know there's things on my resume that could conceivably attract a district court judge for reasons other than my numbers. As to where I want to work, I want to work in the market i have my SA (NYC/DC/LA) and from what I've seen I like my firm. But I know after clerkships there are sometimes better/different options available. I guess the general question was whether the state supreme court clerkship would be beneficial to my career given that I don't care to work in that state. (So its both "district ct v. state supreme" and "no clerkship v. state supreme.") All of this is obviously hypothetical since even the State supreme is no guarantee.

LawIdiot86
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
zomginternets wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at 2L DNCG, top 30% secondary journal and moot court. I have a SA with a V50 in a major market. I want to clerk (and do litigation as a career). I also think, from personal connections, that I have a decent chance of clerking with one judge on a certain state supreme court. This state is not where I want to practice or take the bar. Would a federal district court clerkship be preferable to the state supreme court in this situation, or would the supreme court clerkship be better for my getting hired after the clerkship (in the major market I want to eventually work in)?


So wait you have the SA (which presumably will turn into a full time offer) and want to work at a different firm in the same market upon finishing the clerkship? Or do you just want greater options? Or to switch market?


OP here. Sorry for those who found the statement confusing, I was trying to be somewhat obscure for anonymity reasons. A couple of responses. I dont think I'm even close to a sure thing for a district ct clerkship with my numbers, but I also know there's things on my resume that could conceivably attract a district court judge for reasons other than my numbers. As to where I want to work, I want to work in the market i have my SA (NYC/DC/LA) and from what I've seen I like my firm. But I know after clerkships there are sometimes better/different options available. I guess the general question was whether the state supreme court clerkship would be beneficial to my career given that I don't care to work in that state. (So its both "district ct v. state supreme" and "no clerkship v. state supreme.") All of this is obviously hypothetical since even the State supreme is no guarantee.

For the "no clerkship v. state supreme" it would matter how unusual the state is whose market you don't want to stay in . NY, NJ, DE, IL, CA, MD, OH, MA are all probably worth it compared to no clerkship. Is a state supreme in ID, IA, or NE worth it if you have an SA in one of those three cities? No.

anongoodnurse
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby anongoodnurse » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:32 pm

I assume that by "top 30%" you mean not top quarter. I assume that you do not have a very close relationship with a prof or judge you externed for that would result in multiple, persistent calls.

1.) Your chances of getting a district court clerkship are fairly remote, at least applying next fall. Honestly, I'd be a bit surprised if you got an interview at that stage.

2.) Your chances of getting a district court clerkship are much better applying out of a SSC clerkship. You'd probably even be in the game for a non-2/7/9/DC COA clerkship if you busted your butt and got into the top 10-15%. Which is a lot easier than it otherwise might sound, given that a ton of your classmates are going to slack off. (To give you an example, I probably went from top 33% or so to top 20% or so at CCN my last year, and I wasn't especially trying.) Also consider trying to write on to law review as a 3L -- some schools have a mechanism for this, some don't.

3.) I'd be hesitant to turn down a clerkship -- state or federal -- unless there wasn't a spot for me when I was done. So apply to both. If you get an interview from a SSC judge, at that point make sure your firm will hold your job. Bonus is unimportant. Class credit is a little more so, but I'd probably still do it regardless. Obviously, no job is a different issue.

4.) Assuming that you will have a job, apply for district (and some COA) court clerkships in spring/summer 2013, then apply for prestigious district court and COA clerkships in spring/summer 2014 with your SSC judge making calls. If you got a COA clerkship, your firm would let you leave for a year for that; district court is more iffy, but they still probably would.

5.) Good luck! And remember, this is the point of the marathon where most other runners are tired, and you can REALLY advance on the field. Bust ass the next 18 months.

EDIT: Corrected to get the years right.

Renzo
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby Renzo » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:43 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:In that case, I do not think any clerkship you have a chance of obtaining will help you trade up.


As usual, I'd back GTL on this. In fact, when I explained my (fairly similar) situation to a big law hiring partner who was pushing me to apply for clerkships, he basically said, "yeah, you're right, a district clerkship someplace out in BFE may not be worth it for you, and it wouldn't be as helpful as clerking here in [major market]."

anongoodnurse
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby anongoodnurse » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:03 am

It is really, really unlikely that OP is getting a COA clerkship even if s/he manages to move up to top 10-15% and lands a SSC clerkship.


You know much, much better than I. Out of curiosity, how did your judge weigh calls from DC and SSC judges? Not that I have any hypothetical personal stake in it. :D

This does not make sense to me. In any major market, the salary difference between a first year and a second or third year is relatively small -- $10,000 to $25,000. Clerkship bonuses, on the other hand, are much larger -- $50,000 to $70,000 (slightly smaller at some firms, perhaps).


This is the only thing I have an issue with -- that's only the cost the first year. You need to multiply the salary difference and bonus difference by the average biglaw tenure. Add in the chances at partnership a year earlier. That all becomes substantial quickly. Though it's all moot, because as I said, I'd probably do it regardless. The non-pecuniary benefits -- marginal increase at chances in academia, government options, etc (not to mention that some groups at some firms have a de facto clerkship requirement for partnership) -- more than make up for the hit in compensation in my (perhaps skewed) book.

By the above, you make it sound like OP should try for three clerkships. Very, very few people do this. And given OP's biglaw aim, I just do not see the utility in it.


Sorry. I was assuming that s/he would have little luck the 3L spring/summer before starting a SSC clerskhip. If s/he did land a DC clerkship, it would be silly to do a third one absent a desire to go into academia or maybe DOJ honors.

Anonymous User
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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:40 am

Would COA clerkship help in trading up in terms of firm?

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Re: Federal District Ct or Lesser State Supreme Court Clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:19 pm

Yes, but to be frank you're not getting a COA clerkship with top 1/3 from Duke and no LR. Even if you can scramble up to the top 10-15% your chances are slim. LR is a death knell outside of HYS (maybe just outside Y). You would be amazed at the difference in AIII success based on LR vs. no LR from my school.




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