1L Judicial Internship Question/Advice

(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: 273520
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

1L Judicial Internship Question/Advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:46 pm

I interviewed and received an offer on the spot from a criminal law trial court judge in a big city. It sounds like interesting stuff; homicides, etc. and I think it would be a great practical experience for a sheltered suburbanite like myself to see some courtroom action.

I have another interview with another criminal law judge tomorrow; am I supposed to cancel it? I don't know what the proper etiquette is in this situation since they are in the same courthouse.

Additionally, like all paranoid TLS 1L's, I don't know if criminal law is something I want to do. I chose to apply to these judges because of the location (in a big city where I am trying to build ties) and also because I keep hearing that what you do 1L summer is pretty much irrelevant as long as it is legal, so I figured I might as well go experience something crazy/interesting. Am I justified in thinking that this internship, although not prestigious, will at least provide sufficient practical knowledge/good conversation for 2L interviews?

Advice would be MUCH appreciated. Please and thank you!

User avatar
Mce252
Posts: 940
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:43 pm

Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question/Advice

Postby Mce252 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:49 pm

Strict custom is that you cannot turn down anything from a judge. What are the dates of the internship? You need to call immediately if its for the entire summer and tell them you've accepted a position. You also need to call immediately if its for half and tell the other judge you are only available for the other half.

IMO, civil judicial gigs are better unless you are planning to interview at criminal firms. And federal is always better than state. But something is better than nothing. It just depends what your options are.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273520
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question/Advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:54 pm

Does the custom apply just to federal courts or also to lower state courts?

I thought state courts (especially state trial courts) were much more casual. This judge was really nice and told me to take my time to think about it, etc. I was under the impression that turning down the offer if I found paying work was totally fine. The judge actually said something along those lines during the interview.

User avatar
Mce252
Posts: 940
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:43 pm

Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question/Advice

Postby Mce252 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does the custom apply just to federal courts or also to lower state courts?

I thought state courts (especially state trial courts) were much more casual. This judge was really nice and told me to take my time to think about it, etc. I was under the impression that turning down the offer if I found paying work was totally fine. The judge actually said something along those lines during the interview.


I'm curious why you are posting anonymously about this...


It applies to all judges but explicit contrary statements obviously overrule custom.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18423
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question/Advice

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:00 pm

Generally the "you don't turn down a judge" logic stems from clerkship offers (and there it has a lot to do with the school's rep rather than the individual's). People have debated back and forth whether it applies to externship offers. I'm personally on the fence and lean more towards the "it's okay to turn down for 1L summer" camp, but if the judge expressly gave you time to think about it then there's nothing wrong with taking that time imo. I wouldn't renege once you accept but there's nothing wrong with taking the time the judge has explicitly given you to consider it.

User avatar
ggocat
Posts: 1663
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:51 pm

Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question/Advice

Postby ggocat » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:36 pm

I have another interview with another criminal law judge tomorrow; am I supposed to cancel it? I don't know what the proper etiquette is in this situation since they are in the same courthouse.

I think it is somewhat bad form to continue interviewing at a court with the judge's colleagues after you've been made an offer that you would be reasonably happy accepting. It is better to cancel the second interview, especially if the reason is that you interviewed the day before with another judge on the same court and received an offer. If you were to accept the internship with the second judge, it implies to the first judge that his/her colleague is better (for whatever reason you decided to go with the second judge). The judge sounds like a reasonable person and would understand why you took a paying gig over his/her court; maybe would not understand why you took his/her colleague. (If he/she knew you were interviewing with the second judge and seemed OK with it, of course that's a different situation).

I personally think it is fine to say "no" to a judge for an internship position (although it is not OK to renege after accepting, regardless of what comes along). FYI, I work for a judge and do intern hiring.

Am I justified in thinking that this internship, although not prestigious, will at least provide sufficient practical knowledge/good conversation for 2L interviews?

Maybe. My recommendation for a 1L is to do something that allows you to produce a "real" memo for a writing sample. Many judges will ask interns to write memos; some won't. Depends on the judge.

Be wary of "good conversation." You may be able to tell some stories, but keep whatever your judge says off the bench completely confidential.

Green Crayons
Posts: 123
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:08 pm

Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question/Advice

Postby Green Crayons » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:Additionally, like all paranoid TLS 1L's, I don't know if criminal law is something I want to do. I chose to apply to these judges because of the location (in a big city where I am trying to build ties) and also because I keep hearing that what you do 1L summer is pretty much irrelevant as long as it is legal, so I figured I might as well go experience something crazy/interesting. Am I justified in thinking that this internship, although not prestigious, will at least provide sufficient practical knowledge/good conversation for 2L interviews?
You don't need to want to practice criminal law in order for interning with a judge to be a good summer experience. Trial judges are constantly looking to sift through (at-times conflicting) precedent, distil into a readily-usable format, and apply to the facts at hand. Judges see both great and horrible attorneys practice before them. And working for a judge may provide a great networking opportunity. Working for a judge will expose you to these benefits, and you will hopefully learn and grow as a soon-to-be baby lawyer from them -- and just because these benefits are couched within the context of the criminal law arena does not mean that they are inapplicable to other areas of practice. (Hint: your experience with these types of benefits should be the substance of your "good conversations" in interviews.)

Also, being a judge is probably the most awesome thing you can do with a law degree; this will be almost as close as you can get to it for at least ten years, second only to actual clerking.


The only issue is having a writing sample by the end of the summer -- depending upon what your responsibilities are and the particular judge, the normal course of your internship may not present the opportunity to draft something that you would be able to share with others outside of the judge's chambers. Talk with your judge('s clerks) to see about what opportunities you might have in being able to produce a writing that could be used during your 2L job search.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273520
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 1L Judicial Internship Question/Advice

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:29 pm

how would this offer compare to working for a small firm where I worked before law school, assuming I'd be able to do something that could serve as a writing sample?




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.