Ranking Clerkships

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Shaggier1
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Ranking Clerkships

Postby Shaggier1 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:00 pm

Does anyone know of any attempt to rank the value of certain clerkships? I would imagine the only way to do this would be a prestige-based ranking, and I realize that would be helpful only to a very limited extent, but I am wondering if any attempt has been made. I could not find anything on this forum.

I am mostly interested in Dist. Ct. clerkships. It is my understanding that the following districts are generally thought of as the top 5 most prestigious (not necessarily in order, though I am making an attempt):

S.D.N.Y
E.D.N.Y
D.D.C.
N.D.C.A
C.D.C.A

Does anyone know where D.N.J. would fall? What about E.D.Pa?

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:15 pm

I think D.Mass. and S.D. Cal. should be fairly high up on a prestige list

bdubs
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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby bdubs » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:20 pm

I was under the impression that it was best to clerk in the general region where you want to practice. So N.D.CA would be better in San Francisco than S.D.N.Y. even though the NY clerkship may be on the whole harder to get (or more prestigious in some general sense).

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:23 pm

The above poster is right that in general a D.Ct. clerkship in the area in which you want to practice is usually desirable. With that said, there are a few D.Ct. clerkships that have portability near to or equal that of a COA clerkship. In those few cases, it may be worthwhile to choose to clerk on a "prestigious" D.Ct. over your local D.Ct., should you have that option. This same calculus applies for COA clerkships, but less so: you should likely choose any COA clerkship, for instance, over a D.Ct. clerkship in your home market, unless your home market happens to be one of these "prestigious" districts.

With that said, your list overvalues EDNY and DDC and undervalues EDVA (which is probably #2) and NDIll

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quiver
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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby quiver » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:With that said, your list overvalues EDNY and DDC and undervalues EDVA (which is probably #2) and NDIll
Yeah I was thinking EDVA, NDIl, and EDPA may be up there. Although I think DDC is still top 5 (in this arbitrary, prestige-based ranking).

But this generally TCR:
bdubs wrote:it was best to clerk in the general region where you want to practice

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InnocuousDiatribe
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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby InnocuousDiatribe » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:10 pm

Doesn't the reputation of the individual judge factor into this calculus, as well? I would think that a clerkship with a highly evaluated judge in [a less prestigious district overall] would be a more prestigious clerkship than one with a less reputable judge in S.D.N.Y.

Is this completely off the mark?

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Detrox
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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Detrox » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:33 pm

InnocuousDiatribe wrote:Doesn't the reputation of the individual judge factor into this calculus, as well? I would think that a clerkship with a highly evaluated judge in [a less prestigious district overall] would be a more prestigious clerkship than one with a less reputable judge in S.D.N.Y.

Is this completely off the mark?


Curious about this generally as well. Aside from feeder judges, and feeders to those feeders, is there a good way to gauge prestige that is worth considering other than the district/circuit the judge sits in?

mrloblaw
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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby mrloblaw » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:37 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
InnocuousDiatribe wrote:Doesn't the reputation of the individual judge factor into this calculus, as well? I would think that a clerkship with a highly evaluated judge in [a less prestigious district overall] would be a more prestigious clerkship than one with a less reputable judge in S.D.N.Y.

Is this completely off the mark?
This is correct; the reputation of the judge matters at least as much as that of the court. For instance, a clerkship with Thapar (E.D. Ky.) will carry more "prestige power" -- to the extent such a thing exists or matters -- than a random judge on a more prominent district.

The bottom line with all this is that requirements (i.e. what you want to do after the clerkship) drive the assessment. I would argue that once you are outside the SCOTUS/feeder context, you should throw prestige out the door almost entirely and look for clerkships that will get you what you need. That might be a mix of several factors, including geography, judge's management style, court docket, and so on. Taking E.D.N.Y. just because it is marginally more prestigious than N.D. Ga. makes no sense if you would rather be in Atlanta, for instance.


Outside circuits like DDC where there's a lot of name recognition for certain judges, how do you know who the most prestigious judges are?

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:44 pm

mrloblaw wrote:
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
InnocuousDiatribe wrote:Doesn't the reputation of the individual judge factor into this calculus, as well? I would think that a clerkship with a highly evaluated judge in [a less prestigious district overall] would be a more prestigious clerkship than one with a less reputable judge in S.D.N.Y.

Is this completely off the mark?
This is correct; the reputation of the judge matters at least as much as that of the court. For instance, a clerkship with Thapar (E.D. Ky.) will carry more "prestige power" -- to the extent such a thing exists or matters -- than a random judge on a more prominent district.

The bottom line with all this is that requirements (i.e. what you want to do after the clerkship) drive the assessment. I would argue that once you are outside the SCOTUS/feeder context, you should throw prestige out the door almost entirely and look for clerkships that will get you what you need. That might be a mix of several factors, including geography, judge's management style, court docket, and so on. Taking E.D.N.Y. just because it is marginally more prestigious than N.D. Ga. makes no sense if you would rather be in Atlanta, for instance.


Outside circuits like DDC where there's a lot of name recognition for certain judges, how do you know who the most prestigious judges are?
Seconded. And what's special about Thapar? Because he feeds to Sutton?

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:00 am

Outside circuits like DDC where there's a lot of name recognition for certain judges, how do you know who the most prestigious judges are?


Personally, I googled ([my USDC judge's name] clerk clerkship) and saw who popped up. Some of them had second COA clerkships. One or two were in academia. Most were partners or seniorish associates at biglaw firms in the city where the judge is. That's what convinced me that he was a "feeder" judge -- not in the sense that his clerks go to SCOTUS, obviously, but in the sense that many go on to bigger and better things. Though nothing's perfect -- I didn't see a single AUSA, despite the fact that is probably my #2 post-clerkship career option.

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quiver
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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby quiver » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:03 am

mrloblaw wrote:Outside circuits like DDC where there's a lot of name recognition for certain judges, how do you know who the most prestigious judges are?
Anonymous User wrote:Seconded. And what's special about Thapar? Because he feeds to Sutton?
Thirded. I'd be interested in seeing a list of the most "prestigious" district court judges.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:08 am

ITE, this is how you rank federal clerkships:

1) The one you can get

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InnocuousDiatribe
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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby InnocuousDiatribe » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:30 am

vanwinkle wrote:ITE, this is how you rank federal clerkships:

1) The one you can get


lol.

quiver wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:Outside circuits like DDC where there's a lot of name recognition for certain judges, how do you know who the most prestigious judges are?
Anonymous User wrote:Seconded. And what's special about Thapar? Because he feeds to Sutton?
Thirded. I'd be interested in seeing a list of the most "prestigious" district court judges.


Unrelated, but made me think of this. Is it unusual for someone who has clerked for USCOA for a year to clerk for a dist. ct. judge the following 1-2 yrs.? There's a handful of dist. ct. judges that you just wouldn't ever pass up, right?

I'm asking because I have a friend who clerked for a well-respected dist. ct. judge in town after clerking with someone at the 7th Cir. (Sorry, not one of those two). I didn't want to ask him if it was because he thought it would be worth it, if he just liked clerking, or if he couldn't find a job--but I doubt it's the last one.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:50 am

imo, all things being equal (and realizing that it's best to clerk where you want to practice), this seems like a rough grouping:

ddc > edva/sdny > ndca/edny > edpa/ndill/cdca > dmass/dnj/sdca>the rest.

edtx is probably also a good place to clerk if you are going to do ip litigation.

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:09 am

1) Clerk in areas where you want to work, either now or in the future, either in private sector or particularly as AUSA.
2) Clerk in remote areas if you value clerking as a better use of your time than first-year associate position (which is usually the case for all litigation, but not necessarily)
3) Clerk in remote areas if they have a heavy docket for what you want to do: for example, some judges hire clerk for only-crim matters, that's a great clerkship for a future defender/prosecutor/white-collar. Other judges have heavy complex civil dockets (like patents), that's a great clerkship for someone in that vocation.

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:11 am

for patents, i wouldn't call edtx the best "clerkship" location. sure, that experience may be valued by firms "for now" - but it is no longer what plaintiffs consider a rocket docket. And there is literally nothing to do in EDTx.

better for patents is a judge with a heavy patent docket in say, ndcal/edva

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:44 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote: I can think of a handful that stand out, just off the top of my head: Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.), Lamberth (D.D.C.), Ellis (E.D. Va.), Motz (D Md.), Breyer (N.D. Cal.), Pregerson (C.D. Cal.), Preska (S.D.N.Y.), Gertner (D. Mass) (retired?), and Eid (D. Colo.) . . . .


Eid is actually still just an Associate Justice on the Colorado Supreme Court, though one of her former clerks is going up to the Supreme Court (Justice Thomas) next year.

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:imo, all things being equal (and realizing that it's best to clerk where you want to practice), this seems like a rough grouping:

ddc > edva/sdny > ndca/edny > edpa/ndill/cdca > dmass/dnj/sdca>the rest.

edtx is probably also a good place to clerk if you are going to do ip litigation.

No. sdny is definitely first, followed by edva and ddc. edpa and edny are arguably lower.

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby GertrudePerkins » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:14 am

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Re: the requests above to name or rank high profile district judges, I currently am not equipped to do it. I can think of a handful that stand out, just off the top of my head: Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.), Lamberth (D.D.C.), Ellis (E.D. Va.), Motz (D Md.), Breyer (N.D. Cal.), Pregerson (C.D. Cal.), Preska (S.D.N.Y.), and Gertner (D. Mass) (retired?).

Yes, retired from the bench. Now teaches at HLS.

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Re: Ranking Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:14 pm

Eid is actually still just an Associate Justice on the Colorado Supreme Court, though one of her former clerks is going up to the Supreme Court (Justice Thomas) next year.


I didn't know this. Makes sense though. She's wicked smart, and very politically-connected. (Her husband was the USA under Bush, and he's rumored to be running for AG in 2014 if the current [popular] one doesn't run again.)

She's also fairly young. I wouldn't be super-surprised to see her get some consideration for RBG's seat if it becomes vacant under a GOP president in the next couple of terms.




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