Judicial Internship/Clerkship or Small Private Firm?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Judicial Internship/Clerkship or Small Private Firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:17 am

So I am a 2L who had top 10% grades at a T2 school and transferred to a top25 school. I had a few callbacks through OCI and mass-mailing, but was not able to land a big law job. During my 1L summer I worked for a smaller private firm where they gave me great experience, etc., but likely will not lead to full time employment. My first option is to return there.

My second option is to “clerk,” but I assume in reality intern with the chief judge of my local county (state) court. He is very well respected in the area and I am thinking my best avenue to big law is likely to try and land a clerkship after graduation anyway. Downsides to this in my mind are I don’t know what the quality of the work would be and not sure if it is even looked at highly based on the Court itself. That is my second option.

Third option... pray for something else to come up? haha

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, really in a tough position and need to let the Judge know semi-soon. Thanks!

zomginternets
Posts: 547
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:59 pm

Re: Judicial Internship/Clerkship or Small Private Firm?

Postby zomginternets » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:58 am

Are there any federal district or appellate courts in your area? Getting a summer externship at one of those would be far better (resume-wise, at least) than a state court externship, and should not be difficult with your grades (assuming you've taken evidence). I really think a 2L summer state trial court externship is equivalent to shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to job searching later on.

I would go with the private firm though, regardless. 2L summer judicial externships have this ring of failure to get a private practice gig. With the small firm you can at least plausibly make them believe that you wanted to go back to that firm for 2L summer, but for one reason or another are no longer interested in practicing with them long term. It also makes you look more attractive as a candidate because there's at least some firm out there that thinks you were worth a re-hire.

User avatar
ObLaDiObLaDa
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:27 am

Re: Judicial Internship/Clerkship or Small Private Firm?

Postby ObLaDiObLaDa » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:07 pm

A pro-clerkship fact to consider though: Over the summer some attorneys I worked with made some calls to judges for me, and quite a few of them were offering their post-grad positions first to their previous summer clerks. Now you might not want to stay with that court for your post-grad position, but I know a lot of judges are willing to make a few calls to other courts to help out the summer clerks they had good relationships with. Having a judge-friend on your side is not necessarily a bad thing.

Then again, this only helps if you maintain a positive relationship with your judge. My friend was a 2L summer clerk with a judge and didn't establish a good relationship - now 3L year his judge took quite some time writing a LOR for him and he's still searching for employment or a clerkship.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Judicial Internship/Clerkship or Small Private Firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:13 pm

Thanks for the feedback. My grades have been decent so far at my new school, so I would likely will be shooting for a federal clerkship. I think I am going to stick with the firm, just wanted to make sure I wasn’t do something crazy by doing that.

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Judicial Internship/Clerkship or Small Private Firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:30 pm

My grades have been decent so far at my new school, so I would likely will be shooting for a federal clerkship.


Just a word of caution. By "top 25" school I assume you mean a non-T14 school. It that's the case, you'll probably need to be in the top 10% for sure, and likely top 5% or so to have a good shot at an Article III clerkship. The clerkship market is ludicrously competitive these days.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273601
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Judicial Internship/Clerkship or Small Private Firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
My grades have been decent so far at my new school, so I would likely will be shooting for a federal clerkship.


Just a word of caution. By "top 25" school I assume you mean a non-T14 school. It that's the case, you'll probably need to be in the top 10% for sure, and likely top 5% or so to have a good shot at an Article III clerkship. The clerkship market is ludicrously competitive these days.


I appreciate the advice. My school places decently well for a lowly “top 25” school, but yeah I do understand that and like I said based on my grades I would likely be shooting for that. Since I didn’t get anything this fall through interviews I plan to cast a very wide net this coming summer/fall. Is there any value to having extra diversity in your resume? I.e., does it hurt me having the same job for consecutive years, or is it actually a benefit?

Miller32
Posts: 131
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:51 pm

Re: Judicial Internship/Clerkship or Small Private Firm?

Postby Miller32 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:49 pm

Also interested in OP's last question about resume diversity.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.