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Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:35 pm
by Anonymous User
Hi there. For the first time I am seriously considering clerking. Before really diving into it, I'd like to take advantage of the TLS wisdom and get a sense of what my chances would look like...

Here are some potentially relevant stats (let me know if any other information would be helpful):

-2L at Boalt
-Top 25% (probably between 20 and 25%)
-Skadden this coming summer
-USAO NDCA Civil this coming spring
-Mock Trial
-NOT on law review (did not participate in the write-on)
-Don't know if judges care about the sort of "softs" that law schools do, but I am also a Fulbright Scholar if that'll help in any way

Would love to clerk for a Federal District Court Judge, and maybe appellate after that if I can. I am very willing to apply only after spending a couple of years at Skadden (assuming of course that I can turn my SA into an offer).

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:44 pm
by MrKappus
It seems getting a D. Ct. or COA clerkship without a journal is really difficult. Your resume's impressive otherwise though. Gotta see what G.T.L. Rev. says.

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:48 pm
by Anonymous User
It seems getting a D. Ct. or COA clerkship without a journal is really difficult. Your resume's impressive otherwise though. Just gotta see what G.T.L. Rev. says.


Thanks for the input, MrKappus. W/r/t the bolded, I am on the board of a secondary journal, but I don't do much editing. I didn't bother with CLR because I wanted to focus on mock trial, but I did worry it would come back to bite me at some point.

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:52 pm
by Anonymous User
Are you from a small city or a big city? Are you from CA or a smaller state like ID or Montana? I know judges in smaller 9th Cir. states that love hiring local kids that went to Boalt.

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:55 pm
by Anonymous User
Are you from a small city or a big city? Are you from CA or a smaller state like ID or Montana? I know judges in smaller 9th Cir. states that love hiring local kids that went to Boalt.


No, none of those helpful small state connections, unfortunately. I am originally from Philadelphia and moved to New Jersey during my high school years. I also spent 7 years in DC. Don't think any of that will help me, though.

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:00 pm
by MrKappus
Anonymous User wrote:
It seems getting a D. Ct. or COA clerkship without a journal is really difficult. Your resume's impressive otherwise though. Just gotta see what G.T.L. Rev. says.


Thanks for the input, MrKappus. W/r/t the bolded, I am on the board of a secondary journal, but I don't do much editing. I didn't bother with CLR because I wanted to focus on mock trial, but I did worry it would come back to bite me at some point.


Oh. Well if you have a journal, I think things are a bit rosier. Also, if Bd of Advocates allows 2Ls to try out at the end of the year, you should go for it (especially the appellate ad one, if you want COA).

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:11 pm
by Anonymous User
Off the cuff predictions:

(1) Grades are probably too low for COA clerkship and for most major district courts.

(2) Flyover districts are more likely, but still going to be an uphill battle. Especially without connections.

(3) While your odds are low, the costs of applying are minimal. Take a shot and see what happens.

(4) Several years of working will improve your odds / open up the option of judges who only hire grads.

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:12 pm
by Anonymous User
Also, if Bd of Advocates allows 2Ls to try out at the end of the year, you should go for it (especially the appellate ad one, if you want COA).


OP here: I am already on BOA, actually. The mock trial team is a BOA team. I considered switching to moot court for 3L but I love the trial stuff and my preference is for a Dist. Ct. clerkship, so I figured I'd stay with trial. Also, Boalt has a pretty cool internal moot court competition called McBaine (Sotomayor judged last year). I think I will compete in that and that way I will have some appellate advocacy on my resume

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:13 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:Hi there. For the first time I am seriously considering clerking. Before really diving into it, I'd like to take advantage of the TLS wisdom and get a sense of what my chances would look like...

Here are some potentially relevant stats (let me know if any other information would be helpful):

-2L at Boalt
-Top 25% (probably between 20 and 25%)

Any thoughts? Thanks!


Would you mind sharing the breakdown of your grades? Like how many P's, H's, and HH's you have. Interested in what makes top 25%.

Thank you very much.

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:17 pm
by Anonymous User
Off the cuff predictions:

(1) Grades are probably too low for COA clerkship and for most major district courts.

(2) Flyover districts are more likely, but still going to be an uphill battle. Especially without connections.

(3) While your odds are low, the costs of applying are minimal. Take a shot and see what happens.

(4) Several years of working will improve your odds / open up the option of judges who only hire grads.


Thanks for the input! Is a flyover district just one outside of a major market?

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:06 pm
by Anonymous User
I think that you have an excellent chance of a federal district court clerkship. In your applications, make clear that this is your preference, i.e. it is not a second-best after an appellate clerkship. The Fulbright is a very strong soft. If you can publish something between now and applying, in any journal, then you will be in great shape.

I am on journal and have a federal appellate clerkship, but plenty of my classmates have district court and appellate clerkships without being on journal.

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:51 pm
by quiver
Anonymous User wrote:I am on journal and have a federal appellate clerkship, but plenty of my classmates have district court and appellate clerkships without being on journal.
Can you expand on this? What school range is this (YHS, CCN, T14, etc.)? Did the people without journal have amazing grades? Did they have other softs that helped (moot court, etc.)?

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:14 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:I am on journal and have a federal appellate clerkship, but plenty of my classmates have district court and appellate clerkships without being on journal.

Interesting. At my lower T14, about 60% of the people who landed A3 clerkships were on LR. More than 90% were on some kind of journal (LR or secondary). For those not on LR, only one person got a circuit clerkship. None of the no journal people got circuit court clerkships.

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:28 pm
by thesealocust
OP, I'd recommend not bothering applying until you've worked at Skadden for a few years. The market for people fresh out of LS is brutal right now, and I know many people with strong credentials who struck out. If you don't have your heart set on clerking before biglaw, I think getting some biglaw under your belt is the best bet.

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:44 pm
by Anonymous User
Thanks SeaLocust and GTL. Barring some earth-shattering discovery in my continued research, I think I will probably spend a few years at Skadden and then go for it. This would be better for me financially anyway. Thanks everyone!

Re: Help evaluate my clerkship chances? (totally new to this...)

Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:28 am
by Anonymous User
Boalt got absolutely crushed this year in the clerkship process. Apparently plenty of High Distinction (Top 10%) folks struck out. Definitely work on securing some really strong recommendations...make sure you have professors who will really go to bat for you (whether it's this year or in three or four years).