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clerking right out or not at all

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 11:47 pm
by Anonymous User
my adjunct (25+ yr biglaw career, retired partner who himself clerked) advised to either clerk right out of LS or not clerk at all; i.e. if you work at a firm for a few years, clerking isn't going to add much value as a litigator.

made caveat for gov/academia, but was pretty down on clerking as alum in terms of cost/benefit and how it fit in for a career.

anyone else hear this advice or have any thoughts/comments on it? i've heard before that if one must clerk, best to do so in the year or two following graduation.

Re: clerking right out or not at all

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 12:07 am
by Younger Abstention
I suppose it depends on, in addition to your desired career path, 1) the quality of your job straight out of law school and 2) the quality of the clerkship being considered. I couldn't imagine that going non-boutique vault/regional firm > COA > ? would be a bad route to take, provided it's attainable. But if you're already working for a stellar lit shop, getting substantive responsibilities, and you intend to stay within the private sector, then your adjunct is likely correct.

Re: clerking right out or not at all

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 12:13 am
by Anonymous User
Younger Abstention wrote:I suppose it depends on, in addition to your desired career path, 1) the quality of your job straight out of law school and 2) the quality of the clerkship being considered. I couldn't imagine that going non-boutique vault/regional firm > COA > ? would be a bad route to take, provided it's attainable. But if you're already working for a stellar lit shop, getting substantive responsibilities, and you intend to stay within the private sector, then your adjunct is likely correct.

well thats the thing regarding "lateraling up" via clerking
adjunct said you're not going to get ahead in line of other associates at higher regarded firms just because you clerked, esp those associates who have been there just as long as you but are from the firm's own farm system.

basically, seems like the only way clerking 2-3 years out makes any sense for lateraling up is for those firms who have a mid-level glut; but that tends to be filled by laterals from other peer firms, not nec. from clerks lateraling up.

the takeaway i got was that if you start at a lower v100, then go clerk coa, you're not going to lateral into a v10 firm. im hoping this is wrong.

Re: clerking right out or not at all

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 12:51 am
by Younger Abstention
Anonymous User wrote:
Younger Abstention wrote:I suppose it depends on, in addition to your desired career path, 1) the quality of your job straight out of law school and 2) the quality of the clerkship being considered. I couldn't imagine that going non-boutique vault/regional firm > COA > ? would be a bad route to take, provided it's attainable. But if you're already working for a stellar lit shop, getting substantive responsibilities, and you intend to stay within the private sector, then your adjunct is likely correct.

well thats the thing regarding "lateraling up" via clerking
adjunct said you're not going to get ahead in line of other associates at higher regarded firms just because you clerked, esp those associates who have been there just as long as you but are from the firm's own farm system.

basically, seems like the only way clerking 2-3 years out makes any sense for lateraling up is for those firms who have a mid-level glut; but that tends to be filled by laterals from other peer firms, not nec. from clerks lateraling up.

the takeaway i got was that if you start at a lower v100, then go clerk coa, you're not going to lateral into a v10 firm. im hoping this is wrong.


You might not get a "better" firm per se, but maybe you'd get increased responsibilities following your clerkship at another firm, or access to new practice areas (appellate litigation is the only thing that comes directly to mind regarding this point).

A lot of clerks don't take V10's following clerkships, because they want to "stand out" at their new firm -- or just don't want to work 90 hour weeks which is more common we can probably agree at higher ranked vault firms.

Also, the fact is that most people who start at a V100 won't be able to attain, grade and pedigree wise, a high-level clerkship that would later make them competitive for a V10 upon exit. Likely, they'd otherwise probably have taken the V10 to start with, or have self-selected out of such a firm. If the latter is the case, then few candidates would want to then self select into the V10 later on in their careers. The exception to this might be transfer students, who become stronger candidates as post-grads I'm guessing than at 2L or even 3L OCI, and as we know are often colossal strivers.

Re: clerking right out or not at all

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 1:24 am
by Anonymous User
Younger Abstention wrote:The exception to this might be transfer students, who become stronger candidates as post-grads I'm guessing than at 2L or even 3L OCI, and as we know are often colossal strivers.


That has got to be the single nicest way to describe what I've come to learn of transfers.