How early can/should I apply for CTA clerkships?

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johndhi
Posts: 358
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:25 am

How early can/should I apply for CTA clerkships?

Postby johndhi » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:52 pm

Hi gangsters,

I'm a 2L getting ready to enter my second semester. Grades are slowly coming in for the 2L Fall semester and I'm hoping they will keep my GPA within the top few percent for the purposes of trying to land a federal clerkship after school. I heard a story of one person having landed a clerkship with a 9th Circuit judge in JANUARY - a full year and a half before she'd actually start working. Is now the time to seek out my best recommenders and take a stab at the most difficult to get clerkships? How much later should I wait, if not? I realize this is incredibly off-schedule, but I've heard certain judges go off-schedule. I'd be applying only to guys who I'd instantly say yes to right now - is it still too early?

chipchip
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:56 pm

Re: How early can/should I apply for CTA clerkships?

Postby chipchip » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:01 pm

First, read this thread: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=146252

Any shot you have at COA depends on the rank of your law school, and it is arguably way too early to be doing much of this. You can maybe ask professors to be your recommenders, but many of those really early hires are dependent on particular relationships/grades/qualifications, etc. (Not to mention that many of these judges may have already hired for 2013 and aren't looking at 2014 yet, by the way).

And if you are looking at district courts, mainly, it's definitely too early.

Anonymous User
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Re: How early can/should I apply for CTA clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:34 pm

johndhi wrote:Hi gangsters,

I'm a 2L getting ready to enter my second semester. Grades are slowly coming in for the 2L Fall semester and I'm hoping they will keep my GPA within the top few percent for the purposes of trying to land a federal clerkship after school. I heard a story of one person having landed a clerkship with a 9th Circuit judge in JANUARY - a full year and a half before she'd actually start working. Is now the time to seek out my best recommenders and take a stab at the most difficult to get clerkships? How much later should I wait, if not? I realize this is incredibly off-schedule, but I've heard certain judges go off-schedule. I'd be applying only to guys who I'd instantly say yes to right now - is it still too early?


For better advice, people will need your school and rank. I think the general advice would be to wait until you have Fall 2L grades. That said, the earliest hires/interviews (Kozinski, Wilkinson, etc.) will be coming up soon; however, you would know if you had a shot at these clerkships. Also, the 11th Circuit moves early and you'll see some hires happening early this semester. But, most of the action will be May - July. You can always call chambers and ask whether they are taking applications.

Realize that some circuits simply do not hire 2Ls off plan (DC/2d); however, there will be some under the table action for these circuits under the summer.

Additionally, there are certain districts that do move early (EDVA in particular). But, it's very judge dependent (same with circuit courts - there are judges in the 5th who will hire in May while others insist on waiting for the plan).

johndhi
Posts: 358
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:25 am

Re: How early can/should I apply for CTA clerkships?

Postby johndhi » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:41 pm

chipchip wrote:First, read this thread: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=146252

Any shot you have at COA depends on the rank of your law school, and it is arguably way too early to be doing much of this. You can maybe ask professors to be your recommenders, but many of those really early hires are dependent on particular relationships/grades/qualifications, etc. (Not to mention that many of these judges may have already hired for 2013 and aren't looking at 2014 yet, by the way).

And if you are looking at district courts, mainly, it's definitely too early.


My school (lower T14) isn't exactly pumping out COA clerks left and right, but I know a couple of them personally so I know it's possible. The person with the wicked early job offer was a friend of one of those future COA-clerk friends of mine. I realize it's very early - but if this is happening, why shouldn't I take advantage of it? Maybe I should have mentioned this: the CTA9 judge in that story is the same CTA9 judge on of my professors clerked for and I'm hoping to ask him/her for a recommendation. Should I do it? Should I also ask another professor for a CTA7 recommendation at the same time?

Thanks for linking to other thread - I'd taken a look at it before but it is nice to see some of the other info in there.

ak362
Posts: 146
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Re: How early can/should I apply for CTA clerkships?

Postby ak362 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:23 am

I think it's the database identifier for U.S. Court of Appeals decisions on Westlaw, though I've never seen the term outside of that context. Might be wrong, though.

Anonymous User
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Re: How early can/should I apply for CTA clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:25 am

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
johndhi wrote:My school (lower T14) isn't exactly pumping out COA clerks left and right, but I know a couple of them personally so I know it's possible. The person with the wicked early job offer was a friend of one of those future COA-clerk friends of mine. I realize it's very early - but if this is happening, why shouldn't I take advantage of it?
Because it is NOT happening right now for 99% of judges. An application now to those judges would be ill-timed. Most would ignore it, stuffing it in a pile to collect dust for a few months (during which time it may be largely forgotten, or maybe even lost -- though I doubt that happens often). Some would actually ding you for applying too early, though I have only heard of this happening once (to a TLSer who applied last cycle).

Maybe I should have mentioned this: the CTA9 judge in that story is the same CTA9 judge on of my professors clerked for and I'm hoping to ask him/her for a recommendation. Should I do it? Should I also ask another professor for a CTA7 recommendation at the same time?
You realize that any judge who has been on the bench for a while has lots of former clerks, and that many of those clerks may be in academia, right? In other words, your prof's connection is helpful, but by no means a golden ticket. You should focus on identifying your three best recommenders overall; you can add additional recommenders in situations where a prof outside of those three has a connection with a specific judge.

Also, what is this "CTA" stuff?


Thanks for responding, my friend. I recognize a recommendation is not a golden ticket, but I figure if I've heard that this very judge hires early, and I'd definitely say "yes" if he offered me a job, why not apply early? Maybe it's better put this way: if he hires so early, am I not removing myself from the field of potential clerks by drifting whimsically through 2L, pausing only to identify my three best recommenders?

ak362 wrote:I think it's the database identifier for U.S. Court of Appeals decisions on Westlaw, though I've never seen the term outside of that context. Might be wrong, though.


Maybe that's how it got into my head. One of my professors uses that abbreviation form, too - in fact, the one at issue in this thread!

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

Re: How early can/should I apply for CTA clerkships?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
johndhi wrote:My school (lower T14) isn't exactly pumping out COA clerks left and right, but I know a couple of them personally so I know it's possible. The person with the wicked early job offer was a friend of one of those future COA-clerk friends of mine. I realize it's very early - but if this is happening, why shouldn't I take advantage of it?
Because it is NOT happening right now for 99% of judges. An application now to those judges would be ill-timed. Most would ignore it, stuffing it in a pile to collect dust for a few months (during which time it may be largely forgotten, or maybe even lost -- though I doubt that happens often). Some would actually ding you for applying too early, though I have only heard of this happening once (to a TLSer who applied last cycle).

Maybe I should have mentioned this: the CTA9 judge in that story is the same CTA9 judge on of my professors clerked for and I'm hoping to ask him/her for a recommendation. Should I do it? Should I also ask another professor for a CTA7 recommendation at the same time?
You realize that any judge who has been on the bench for a while has lots of former clerks, and that many of those clerks may be in academia, right? In other words, your prof's connection is helpful, but by no means a golden ticket. You should focus on identifying your three best recommenders overall; you can add additional recommenders in situations where a prof outside of those three has a connection with a specific judge.

Also, what is this "CTA" stuff?


Thanks for responding, my friend. I recognize a recommendation is not a golden ticket, but I figure if I've heard that this very judge hires early, and I'd definitely say "yes" if he offered me a job, why not apply early? Maybe it's better put this way: if he hires so early, am I not removing myself from the field of potential clerks by drifting whimsically through 2L, pausing only to identify my three best recommenders?



Look, if a potential recommender knows a judge who hires very early, then you don't need to be beating around the bush on this board. Here's what you do: (1) approach the professor and ask if they will be a recommender, (2) ask if they will find out if / when the judge is looking, (3) if judge is currently looking, ask professor the best way to apply to judge, (4) line up your other recommenders and apply to the judge, (5) ask professor to call the judge.




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