2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

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2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:53 am

By dint of making some really stupid bidding choices at OCI, I did COA internships in both my 1L and 2L summers, and hence know an awful lot about COA interning. (Now I have a COA clerkship so things turned out okay.) Happy to take questions on how one gets COA internships, their value or lack thereof in hiring, the experience, picking judges and circuits to apply to, and the very little I know about district court internships and how they differ.

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IAFG
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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby IAFG » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:Now I have a COA clerkship so things turned out okay.

You lucky sonofabitch. Congratulations.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby jessuf » Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:00 am

I'm interested in a 2L COA internship.

1. How do dist. court internships differ from COA internships?

2. Is it pointless to do a COA internship in one area, then apply for a COA clerkship in another?

3. What rank should I be and what should my school be ranked in order to be competitive?

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby cantabaout » Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:10 am

i'll be ready to chime in.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:32 am

Jessuf wrote:I'm interested in a 2L COA internship.

1. How do dist. court internships differ from COA internships?

2. Is it pointless to do a COA internship in one area, then apply for a COA clerkship in another?

3. What rank should I be and what should my school be ranked in order to be competitive?


On #2, first of all, it is highly unlikely, me notwithstanding, that someone thinking about an internship their 2L summer would get a COA clerkship. Having a firm job helps you get a clerkship, but beyond that, having a firm job is an indicator of whether you had the 1L grades needed to get a clerkship. But, if like me, you had great grades and screwed up OCI, this is a (very small) possibility. In that case, no, it is not pointless, and where you intern has nothing in the world to do with where you may clerk, though you just might be able to get your internship judge to recommend you to other judges on his circuit.

# 3 - for internships, I would venture that top 10% in most any t20, if not indeed the whole t1, will do, extremely strong grades at tier 2's will do, and I have heard of at least one of the country's top feeders hiring interns from a tier 3 school. Intern hiring is often rather local. But some clerks would know better than I; I only know my grades, which were better than was necessary, and a little about the grades of my fellow interns, many of whom came from tier 2's.

# 1 - District court interns write more published stuff. Not published in the sense that it gets in the Federal Supplement, but published in the unpublished but seen on Westlaw sense. You write orders, perhaps opinions on summary judgment, that sort of thing. That said, every district court is full of lots of unmeritorious litigation and you may well be writing about Social Security junk or meritless discrimination suits a lot of the time (or if you're in DC, FOIA requests). COA interns may never get to write a single opinion; I didn't in the first internship, did in the second. And in some chambers you may merely be deputized by the clerks to research a point on one of their cases. But in most chambers, you will get, at the least, to write memos to your judge (and if you're on the 9th or 6th, the entire panel) recommending how cases should be decided. These are called bench memos. It's not terribly time-sensitive work - you may take a couple weeks to write a single one, and usually are given all the time you need - though if a case is easy enough you can turn one out in a couple days. You sit, read the briefs, read copious amounts of caselaw on Westlaw, write up the facts, and write a memo saying who should win and why. You pass the time by joking with your fellow law nerd interns about ridiculous stuff you see in the record. Now, the cases you'll be given are usually of the unpublished variety, which is to say the opinion ultimately produced won't bind future panels of the circuit. But that isn't to say that these cases are laughably easy necessarily (though they may be and are often enough), but merely that they aren't terribly substantive, and/or don't call for the court to decide a question it hasn't decided before. Unpublished cases can be quite tough, as there are often difficult questions about how you apply circuit precedent to your case's facts. So you're not doing silly busywork - in most circuits, the really easy cases are handled by career staff attorneys.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Grizz » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:01 am

IAFG wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Now I have a COA clerkship so things turned out okay.

You lucky sonofabitch. Congratulations.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:00 pm

I was offered a CoA internship, but rejected it for a bunch of complicated reasons I don't want to go into in public (now slightly regretting this decision). Am I out of the running to reapply with this judge in the future, and would it be poor form to ask if I can have it back?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:30 pm

1. Given the choice, would you take a COA internship at a state court or an internship at a federal district court?

2. Did you enjoy the experience?

3. Was the judge a good mentor for you?

Thank you!!

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:I was offered a CoA internship, but rejected it for a bunch of complicated reasons I don't want to go into in public (now slightly regretting this decision). Am I out of the running to reapply with this judge in the future, and would it be poor form to ask if I can have it back?


Yes and yes, judges hate rejection. Unless he was incredibly cool with it and somehow signaled that this would be at all okay. Or unless, as your being hired w/o grades suggests, he just is so indifferent to the identity of his interns that he doesn't mind hiring someone who turned his offer down.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I was offered a CoA internship, but rejected it for a bunch of complicated reasons I don't want to go into in public (now slightly regretting this decision). Am I out of the running to reapply with this judge in the future, and would it be poor form to ask if I can have it back?


Yes and yes, judges hate rejection. Unless he was incredibly cool with it and somehow signaled that this would be at all okay. Or unless, as your being hired w/o grades suggests, he just is so indifferent to the identity of his interns that he doesn't mind hiring someone who turned his offer down.

Interviewed with clerk. Chambers is very laid back and casual. Did not even meet with judge. It was a very unusual situation and I had to make the decision under some weird circumstances. Wish I could PM you to tell you the details.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:1. Given the choice, would you take a COA internship at a state court or an internship at a federal district court?

2. Did you enjoy the experience?

3. Was the judge a good mentor for you?

Thank you!!


Just as a matter of terminology, there are no COA internships in state courts. You can call that a state appeals court if you like. Anyway, do the district, I say. You may have less substantive responsibilities but it looks a bit better, and the law's more interesting (go on Westlaw and read the opinions of the state judge you're thinking about applying to and you'll see what I mean), and the quality of the judge and clerks and your fellow interns (on average, of course) will be a lot higher. A large point of the experience is working with smart people.

I very much enjoyed the experience, yes, both times. They were entirely different chambers, which I guess speaks to how enjoyable the experience generally is, even with completely different types of judges, clerks and cases. If you like law, and particularly reading lots of caselaw, statutory interpretation and con law, you will generally like a COA internship, unless you work for a difficult judge/under difficult clerks/for a judge whose quality control standards are so high that they don't let interns do anything.

No, neither judge was a mentor for me in any respect whatsoever. We interacted and I got along well enough with the one to drop in on their office a few months back and chat for an hour, but there was no mentoring, and very little substantive dialogue about cases - though this is partly because of the sorts of judges they were. Now, the clerks on the other hand are often great mentors - helpful career advice, edit your writing, argue about law with you, etc. At a minimum they're very helpful and gracious in answering any questions you have; some are more involved in supervising/working with interns than others. But this varies from chambers to chambers.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I was offered a CoA internship, but rejected it for a bunch of complicated reasons I don't want to go into in public (now slightly regretting this decision). Am I out of the running to reapply with this judge in the future, and would it be poor form to ask if I can have it back?


Yes and yes, judges hate rejection. Unless he was incredibly cool with it and somehow signaled that this would be at all okay. Or unless, as your being hired w/o grades suggests, he just is so indifferent to the identity of his interns that he doesn't mind hiring someone who turned his offer down.

Interviewed with clerk. Chambers is very laid back and casual. Did not even meet with judge. It was a very unusual situation and I had to make the decision under some weird circumstances. Wish I could PM you to tell you the details.


I suggest you PM GTL Rev, who unlike me is already, or rather has already been, a clerk and may know something more about hiring etiquette. I accepted what I was offered so it's hard for me to say what would have happened if I hadn't. That said, even the most laid-back clerks and judges I've ever met hate being jerked around re: accepting/declining offers, people who accept and then decline, that sort of thing. Like if someone accepts and then pulls out, it's seen as a great scandal. I've never heard about the inverse but I doubt it would be very well taken.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby ggocat » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:1. Given the choice, would you take a COA internship at a state court or an internship at a federal district court?

I'll respond to this one, as well; I interned for USCOA, USDC, and state COA, and I clerked at state COA. Obviously I'm a little biased toward the latter. But I think the only way to answer this question is: "It depends on the judge (and other staff)."

Ask each judge/clerk what your responsibilities will be, and try to get an impression from the interview of where you would fit in better. If possible, split the summer and do both.

You may have less substantive responsibilities but it looks a bit better, and the law's more interesting (go on Westlaw and read the opinions of the state judge you're thinking about applying to and you'll see what I mean), and the quality of the judge and clerks and your fellow interns (on average, of course) will be a lot higher. A large point of the experience is working with smart people.

I agree with OP that on average USDC is more prestigious, and on average state COA interns will have more responsibility/autonomy, but I think the rest will depend on the judge. At least for me, the law was not more interesting in USDC and the intellectual quality was not a lot higher. Most clerks had superior academic credentials in USDC, but the difference is like the difference between top 5% vs. top 10% of the class or 4-5 LSAT points.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby traydeuce » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:27 pm

.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:04 am

I'll take some more questions at some point if you have any.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:22 am

1. How much interaction did you have with your respective judges?

2. Were they involved in your clerkship app process?

3. If so, how?

4. Was your externing experience a big boost for your clerkship app or negligible?

5. Did you extern in the same circuit you will be clerking at?

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:39 pm

1. That varied. With one judge, we chatted fairly regularly, in a strained but amusing sort of way, but the interaction was almost entirely social. When we talked about cases, they'd call me on my phone into their office, sincerely say that my memo was very thoughtful but that they (more often than not) disagreed, and that was that. I once attempted to argue the point, and that lasted all of 15 seconds. Another judge was much more distant personally, and much more disengaged from their caseload, but for that very reason, would engage much more with me on the law, as they didn't really form many opinions of their own outside from the advice their clerks and interns gave them. So I actually got to brief the judge for oral argument the morning of argument, hear how thing went after the conference, have a bit of back and forth on whether they should dissent in cases or not, etc. They didn't really interact much less with me than with their clerks.

2. Absolutely not. They were willing to take calls from judges, should judges bother to call, but that was it, and I really have no idea whether they did receive any calls. I did get interviews in both circuits.

3. N/A

4. It was helpful in interviews and the second judge's clerks, in my 2L summer, were a great resource in my clerkship applications. But as a 1L, clerks aren't going to spend much time talking to you about the process. As I say though, while it surely harmed my application that I didn't summer at a firm and just had these two internships, it gave me all sorts of things to talk about in interviews, all sorts of things I could say about the kind of clerk I'd make, and a very sound understanding of what an appellate clerkship involves. Also the ability to ask intelligent questions about how a judge runs his chambers. So yeah, I would say that if I had just had my great grades, bad journal, and no COA internship experience, I wouldn't have been nearly as strong an interviewer and may well have no clerkship. I would also say that, while the vast majority of clerks have never interned for a judge, if you're an applicant who isn't so great at projecting interest in clerking, having a coa internship rather than a 1L firm job on your resume can make you look more genuinely interested.

5. No. I didn't get offers from those circuits, but got offers from two others, and picked the judge I liked better. I should add, in this regard, that having had some experience of working with one judge helps you decide what kind of judge you'd like to work for. In my case I found that working for an extremely disengaged judge was actually a great experience for me, whereas I never would have thought so before the internship, and strongly considered accepting an offer from that type of judge, though I ultimately didn't go that way.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby nonprofit-prophet » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Jessuf wrote:I'm interested in a 2L COA internship.

1. How do dist. court internships differ from COA internships?

2. Is it pointless to do a COA internship in one area, then apply for a COA clerkship in another?

3. What rank should I be and what should my school be ranked in order to be competitive?


On #2, first of all, it is highly unlikely, me notwithstanding, that someone thinking about an internship their 2L summer would get a COA clerkship. Having a firm job helps you get a clerkship, but beyond that, having a firm job is an indicator of whether you had the 1L grades needed to get a clerkship. But, if like me, you had great grades and screwed up OCI, this is a (very small) possibility. In that case, no, it is not pointless, and where you intern has nothing in the world to do with where you may clerk, though you just might be able to get your internship judge to recommend you to other judges on his circuit.

# 3 - for internships, I would venture that top 10% in most any t20, if not indeed the whole t1, will do, extremely strong grades at tier 2's will do, and I have heard of at least one of the country's top feeders hiring interns from a tier 3 school. Intern hiring is often rather local. But some clerks would know better than I; I only know my grades, which were better than was necessary, and a little about the grades of my fellow interns, many of whom came from tier 2's.

# 1 - District court interns write more published stuff. Not published in the sense that it gets in the Federal Supplement, but published in the unpublished but seen on Westlaw sense. You write orders, perhaps opinions on summary judgment, that sort of thing. That said, every district court is full of lots of unmeritorious litigation and you may well be writing about Social Security junk or meritless discrimination suits a lot of the time (or if you're in DC, FOIA requests). COA interns may never get to write a single opinion; I didn't in the first internship, did in the second. And in some chambers you may merely be deputized by the clerks to research a point on one of their cases. But in most chambers, you will get, at the least, to write memos to your judge (and if you're on the 9th or 6th, the entire panel) recommending how cases should be decided. These are called bench memos. It's not terribly time-sensitive work - you may take a couple weeks to write a single one, and usually are given all the time you need - though if a case is easy enough you can turn one out in a couple days. You sit, read the briefs, read copious amounts of caselaw on Westlaw, write up the facts, and write a memo saying who should win and why. You pass the time by joking with your fellow law nerd interns about ridiculous stuff you see in the record. Now, the cases you'll be given are usually of the unpublished variety, which is to say the opinion ultimately produced won't bind future panels of the circuit. But that isn't to say that these cases are laughably easy necessarily (though they may be and are often enough), but merely that they aren't terribly substantive, and/or don't call for the court to decide a question it hasn't decided before. Unpublished cases can be quite tough, as there are often difficult questions about how you apply circuit precedent to your case's facts. So you're not doing silly busywork - in most circuits, the really easy cases are handled by career staff attorneys.





The original question was about 2L positions. What kind of grades do you need for a 1L position?

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby traydeuce » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:13 pm

^^ Same thing. I had a 4.0 my first semester and that was that; other interns were pretty comparable (the ones who weren't at great schools all transferred to t14s or easily could've). I think even the t14 interns were in the top tenth or a hair below.

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Re: 2-Time COA Intern Taking Questions From 1Ls on COA Interning

Postby cantaboot » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:23 pm

haaha, it's you.

I think I was incredibly lucky to have a chance to intern with 2d Cir. in my first summer. I did not have great grades then. I finished well but by no means in the "bright" category.

my co-intern went to fordham. magna cum laude. I think he was in the top 5%.




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