Anonymous User wrote:
I am in a unique employment situation, so bear with me as I explain. Graduated in 2009 and joined a respectable mid-sized firm, but was not the practice area I was interested in (think mass tort/insurance/asbestos/personal injury). I tried applying to other firms, but there were hiring freezes and the economy was down. Last year I applied to more firms (civil litigation, employment law, appellate, etc) and received interviews; however, I was told that my experience at my firm wasn't the "experience" they were looking for because it was so specialized. I've even seen job posting for litigation positions with phrases like "Insurance defense attorneys need not apply." I was concerned that I was getting pigeon-holed into that practice, so I was doing everything that I could to get out of the firm. Luckily I landed a 2-year federal magistrate clerkship starting this year, but it is in a different city. I am hoping that this gig will "wash away the sins" of my last position, but I am not sure how effective it will be. After my clerkship ends in two years, I will be moving back to my old city. That being said, I have the following questions:
(1) Are firms impressed with/interested in applicants with federal magistrate clerkships?
(2) At the end of my clerkship, I will be five years out of law school. If I apply to larger law firms, do I apply as a judicial clerk or as a lateral?
(3) Should I consider clerking for a district court too or would firms be weary about hiring someone with little law firm experience but so many years outside of graduation?
(4) During the last year of my clerkship, when should I start looking for a firm job (assuming my clerkship ends in August)?
1) some firms may be especially in your local geographic area. Federal magistrate clerks deal alot with the discovery rules, so be sure that you emphasize your knowledge of discovery and case management when you apply to firms.
2) Judicial Clerk, although at many firms this distinction will be immaterial since magistrate clerks aren't usually paid a clerkship bonus and they will consider your previous employment as well.
3) I think clerking for a district court judge would be unwise. At the end of your clerkship you'll be five years out. Firms aren't going to want to pay somone who is a sixth year and half their experience is a clerkship.
4) Start applying in early february.