Can I/Should I Try to Clerk?

(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

Can I/Should I Try to Clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:11 pm

I really want to clerk, and I think it would be a good experience for me. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d be all that competitive and I am trying to decide on the approach for me. Any advice would be appreciated. And sorry if some of these questions have been answered in other threads.

I’m approximately top 10% with LR at a T20, and I have an SA lined up with a Midwestern secondary market biglaw firm. I know I am almost certainly out for Art. III clerkships and I doubt I even try. I was planning to aim for the state supreme court in the state where I am working, but apparently I missed the deadline because it was last fall (they apparently hire before almost every other court in the country). I thought I might have a shot at it since its not the most "prestigious" state SCT body, but now that’s out.

Now I’m questioning whether or not I should even try for anything. I think I can get my grades up a little further this semester, but top 5% is definitely out of the question. So a few questions…

1. Do I stand any shot at all of getting a federal clerkship that would be at all worth my time?
2. Would it be worth it to apply for state supreme court clerkships outside of the state where I plan to practice? Would this be at all beneficial to my career? Doesn’t seem like it.
3. Would it be worth it to consider appellate court clerkships in the state where I want to practice? They are apparently still hiring, but I just don’t see this as being that beneficial since its not going to carry much weight.
4. Anything else I should be considering? I really want to clerk and I think it would be a great experience for me, but I don’t want to do it if it serves no benefit.

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

Re: Can I/Should I Try to Clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:19 pm

Nightrunner wrote:You may already be aware of this, but this thread is where you seem most likely to get a knowledgeable response to your question.

My name is Nightrunner, and I approve of G.T.L. Rev.

Yeah, GTL Rev is pretty awesome and is a wealth of clerkship information, but he seems to be more knowledgeable about clerkships that I have virtually no shot at. I guess it is worth asking that thread as well, but I don't think there is any chance in hell I am getting an Art. III or other prestigious federal clerkship from my school (which is truly atrocious at clerkship placement).

BrianFellow
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:18 pm

Re: Can I/Should I Try to Clerk?

Postby BrianFellow » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:14 pm

Why on Earth do you think top 10% at a T20 would not be competitive for some decent Art. III Clerkship, even in this economy?

* Apply to alumni judges.

* Apply to judges in your hometown.

* Apply to any judges with links to one of your recommenders.

Don't be quite so hard on yourself. Wasn't long ago that a SETON HALL graduate secured his SCOTUS clerkship.

anongoodnurse
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 5:14 pm

Re: Can I/Should I Try to Clerk?

Postby anongoodnurse » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:16 pm

I’m approximately top 10% with LR at a T20, and I have an SA lined up with a Midwestern secondary market biglaw firm. I know I am almost certainly out for Art. III clerkships and I doubt I even try. I was planning to aim for the state supreme court in the state where I am working, but apparently I missed the deadline because it was last fall (they apparently hire before almost every other court in the country). I thought I might have a shot at it since its not the most "prestigious" state SCT body, but now that’s out.


Wait, are you a 2L or a 3L? If you are a 2L, is there really any SSC that hires 2 years out (i.e., they hire in fall 2011 for the 2013-14 term)? That's pretty rare if so.

1. Do I stand any shot at all of getting a federal clerkship that would be at all worth my time?


It's going to be tough applying for an AIII clerkship in the fall if you are at a school in the 16-20 range. Your chances improve substantially applying as an alum the following spring, and they improve even more applying as a firm associate. If you were (say) top 5% applying as a second or third year associate, I'd probably even like your chances.

2. Would it be worth it to apply for state supreme court clerkships outside of the state where I plan to practice? Would this be at all beneficial to my career? Doesn’t seem like it.


Probably not. There are a few outliers like the NY COA, but those are going to be nearly as competitive as COA clerkships.

3. Would it be worth it to consider appellate court clerkships in the state where I want to practice? They are apparently still hiring, but I just don’t see this as being that beneficial since its not going to carry much weight.


This is going to depend on your firm. You likely would not get the clerkship bonus. Most firms would hold your job and/or give you class credit (I think), but not all.

4. Anything else I should be considering? I really want to clerk and I think it would be a great experience for me, but I don’t want to do it if it serves no benefit.


See above. If I were you, I'd plan on applying as an alum, and especially as a second or third year associate.

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

Re: Can I/Should I Try to Clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:18 pm

You have a shot, albeit a small one, at District Court clerkships in or near the area where your school is or where your SA is (better if they're in the same place). Especially if there's more than one district in the state and one is clearly the major district, you have a better shot at the other district. It can't hurt to apply. You said you really want to clerk and think it would be beneficial. What do you have to lose? Further, if you apply now, it will be less work to apply as an alum.

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

Re: Can I/Should I Try to Clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:22 pm

Thanks for the replies, kind of sounds like what I was expecting. Yes, I am a 2L. I thought I was getting on this at the right time, but apparently I totally missed my state's SCT application process. I almost fell out of my chair when I read that they did hiring 2 years out, but that's the breaks I guess.

I would consider reapplying as an alum, but I feel like once I start working at a firm I will not want to stop and take the pay cut for a year or two. I'm also not sure how my firm would view such a move, but I suppose I'll figure that out once I get to that point. I plan to try applying now to some of the more "flyover" districts in my area and crossing my fingers. Expectations are low.

What about magistrate judge positions? Any shot at all?

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

Re: Can I/Should I Try to Clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:43 pm

I think if you apply broadly you should be able to get a flyover District Court clerkship. I also think you have a good shot at a magistrate judge position. You won't be considered at a Circuit Court but I'm not sure why that made you so pessimistic for District Courts.

Edit: You will probably have to hustle a bit and get hired off-plan though.

Citizen Genet
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:03 am

Re: Can I/Should I Try to Clerk?

Postby Citizen Genet » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:05 pm

In addition to everyone else's motivational messages, I will say that you should consider judges on Senior status, particularly near your school. Not as sexy or demanding, but everyone who's done it that I've talked to still had great experiences and enjoyed the more relaxing time before heading into a full career.

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

Re: Can I/Should I Try to Clerk?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:12 pm

Thanks again for the responses. I suppose part of my pessimism comes from the inferiority complex I've developed after spending too much time on TLS :lol: (I post a lot... I'm sure many of you could guess who this is). I will definitely try to get my grades up a bit more and start to build a list of judges to apply to. Anything else I should be doing to put myself in a position to succeed?




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.