District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

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District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:02 pm

- T14, top 1/3ish, LR
- a year at NYC vault 20 in the litigation department
- district court sits in large city
- returning to firm post-clerkship

fire away
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:07 pm

Your impression of the quality of litigators that appear before your court.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:09 pm

I'm top-15% at a top-10 school. Headed to a V-15 firm in the fall. What advice do you have for people in my position who want to clerk (D. Ct, then COA)? Any advice would be really helpful. Thanks a lot for taking questions.

Breezin
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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Breezin » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:09 pm

V20 in a major market?

How did you transition from your old firm to your clerkship?

What do you want to do after your clerkship?

Thanks.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:11 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Your impression of the quality of litigators that appear before your court.


quality varies widely. the worst are usually solo-type practitioners who likely don't have the resources to brief all the arguments meticulously. they also tend to make weak arguments and have error riddled memos. the big firms tend to submit error-free memos, although the quality of their arguments also vary. (for example, they'll submit a very professional looking brief that cites only persuasive authority)

the highest quality of lawyering i've seen to date is from a highly selective boutique firm that hires largely from court of appeals clerkships.

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TyrionLannister
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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby TyrionLannister » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:15 pm

Where did you go to school? How long at V20? What areas did you specialize in at v20? Where was your firm located? Impressions of each position as far as hours worked/job satisfaction? What is your goal following clerkship?

Thanks for taking the time to field question!

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm top-15% at a top-10 school. Headed to a V-15 firm in the fall. What advice do you have for people in my position who want to clerk (D. Ct, then COA)? Any advice would be really helpful. Thanks a lot for taking questions.


breaking into a clerkship is very difficult. i knew it was hard, but after reviewing applications, i realize how many insanely qualified candidates there are out there. for your specific situation, i'd say that you should apply to both types of clerkships widely and then if you land one (likely the DCT) you should add it to your resume as a selling point to the other. don't overlook opportunities in random places in the country (coastal/big cities tend to be extremely competitive) and check out newly confirmed judges for opportunities.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:21 pm

Breezin wrote:V20 in a major market?

How did you transition from your old firm to your clerkship?

What do you want to do after your clerkship?

Thanks.


yeah my firm was in a major market. i basically just told HR that i was leaving for a clerkship and they were pretty cool with it. many associates had done clerkships (both before and after joining the firm), so it wasn't really news to them. they said they couldn't give me an offer to return, but that all associates who had left the firm for clerkships and wanted to return have been able to.

i'm returning to the firm after my clerkship ends this fall and i'll probably do that for a little while. not sure about more than a few years out. thought about AUSA or some other government litigation but i'll have a better idea of what i want to do when i get there.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:22 pm

Law school courses that you recommend for federal trial practice.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:26 pm

TyrionLannister wrote:Where did you go to school? How long at V20? What areas did you specialize in at v20? Where was your firm located? Impressions of each position as far as hours worked/job satisfaction? What is your goal following clerkship?

Thanks for taking the time to field question!


i was at my v20 (in NYC) for about a year, in the litigation department. we didn't get assigned to any special sub departments although the bulk of my work was for the white collar group. people were generally pretty miserable at the firm because the work takes over your life. clerks, on the other hand, love it. i think part of it is because, as everyone says, the hours are better and more predictable. but i think one commonly overlooked perk of clerking is that you are treated really special by everyone (litigants, court staff, judge). compare that to your typical junior associate who basically gets crapped on by most of the people he or she works with.

i'd consider working for the government (AUSA, city attorney, etc) but for now i plan to collect some $ in biglaw. guess we'll see how long i last there.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:28 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Law school courses that you recommend for federal trial practice.


as you'd expect, i think it's helpful to take as many trial ad classes as you can. clinics that allow you to make appearances in court as a law student help too. one commonly overlooked law school experience is to extern for a district court so you get a chance to see how real lawyers try cases.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:37 pm

You view of moot court as a law school activity from the standpoint of biglaw firms & federal trial courts. Also, any comment on the value of law review to the practice of law as you've experienced it ? (I'm asking because many law students are currently competing for or contemplating joining law review, secondary jounals and/or moot court.)
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:48 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:You view of moot court as a law school activity from the standpoint of biglaw firms & federal trial courts. Also, any comment on the value of law review to the practice of law as you've experienced it ?


moot court is fun but doesn't really train you for anything in biglaw. biglaw litigation is about factfinding in the form of poring through the record, reviewing documents, and things of that nature. you're not really arguing anything in front of appellate judges. i suppose it's more useful for appearing in front of district court judges, but it's still a bit different.

law review is useful because it trains you into a citation monster. it also trains you to be super detail oriented, which helps in the clerkship and in biglaw. also, strangely enough, judges don't care as much about citations when compared to biglaw firms.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:54 pm

i think the conventional wisdom is true: do law review, and if not, join some secondary journal. it's true that much of the work that you do as a journal staffer is mundane and very much unlike what most imagine law practice to be. but it does come pretty close to what junior associates do at big firms. if you're trying to be a DA or PD, then journals don't make as much sense because there you don't do that kind of work.

firms know this and that's why they like people who have journal experience, especially if it's law review. it's slightly less important for clerkships, but judges like that it sorts out the top performers in law school.

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TyrionLannister
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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby TyrionLannister » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Breezin wrote:V20 in a major market?

How did you transition from your old firm to your clerkship?

What do you want to do after your clerkship?

Thanks.


yeah my firm was in a major market. i basically just told HR that i was leaving for a clerkship and they were pretty cool with it. many associates had done clerkships (both before and after joining the firm), so it wasn't really news to them. they said they couldn't give me an offer to return, but that all associates who had left the firm for clerkships and wanted to return have been able to.

i'm returning to the firm after my clerkship ends this fall and i'll probably do that for a little while. not sure about more than a few years out. thought about AUSA or some other government litigation but i'll have a better idea of what i want to do when i get there.


Seems like you got the best of all worlds! What is the protocol for leaving for a clerkship after being hired in Biglaw? I'm assuming you don't just show up one day and surprise them with it, but them knowing you are looking for a clerkship must have some negative impact on the work you are given, no? Who do you tell about prospective/confirmed clerkships, and when?

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:06 pm

TyrionLannister wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Breezin wrote:V20 in a major market?

How did you transition from your old firm to your clerkship?

What do you want to do after your clerkship?

Thanks.


yeah my firm was in a major market. i basically just told HR that i was leaving for a clerkship and they were pretty cool with it. many associates had done clerkships (both before and after joining the firm), so it wasn't really news to them. they said they couldn't give me an offer to return, but that all associates who had left the firm for clerkships and wanted to return have been able to.

i'm returning to the firm after my clerkship ends this fall and i'll probably do that for a little while. not sure about more than a few years out. thought about AUSA or some other government litigation but i'll have a better idea of what i want to do when i get there.


Seems like you got the best of all worlds! What is the protocol for leaving for a clerkship after being hired in Biglaw? I'm assuming you don't just show up one day and surprise them with it, but them knowing you are looking for a clerkship must have some negative impact on the work you are given, no? Who do you tell about prospective/confirmed clerkships, and when?


i actually did just show up one day and surprise them with it. i didn't tell anyone ahead of time, besides my close friends at the firm. i mean, just as a matter of general policy, i think it's a bad idea to let your employer know too much about your plans before you've finalized anything. but i also knew, based on what i heard from other associates, that the firm is perfectly fine with people leaving for clerkships. it also helped that i worked at one of the gigantic new york firms with an endless supply of fungible junior associates. i like to think that i'm a unique snowflake but i'm pretty sure the firm had no problem finding someone to take over my work.

based on what my co clerk told me, at a smaller firm, you do sort of the same thing. don't tell anyone unless you have to (if say, you need their recommendation). there, you do run the risk of getting worse work if people know that you won't be around for long. but as a general rule, for the big firms with tons of associates, you don't run into this problem.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby TyrionLannister » Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:i actually did just show up one day and surprise them with it. i didn't tell anyone ahead of time, besides my close friends at the firm. i mean, just as a matter of general policy, i think it's a bad idea to let your employer know too much about your plans before you've finalized anything. but i also knew, based on what i heard from other associates, that the firm is perfectly fine with people leaving for clerkships. it also helped that i worked at one of the gigantic new york firms with an endless supply of fungible junior associates. i like to think that i'm a unique snowflake but i'm pretty sure the firm had no problem finding someone to take over my work.

based on what my co clerk told me, at a smaller firm, you do sort of the same thing. don't tell anyone unless you have to (if say, you need their recommendation). there, you do run the risk of getting worse work if people know that you won't be around for long. but as a general rule, for the big firms with tons of associates, you don't run into this problem.


Thanks again for this. Great info. If you don't mind me asking, what is your take home pay as a clerk? Did your year at the V20 qualify you for higher pay? I'm assuming that you were making 160K at the biglaw firm and was wondering how much of a step back you took. Any outstanding loans from LS? Sorry if these questions seem intrusive, I was curious and I figured they were relevant to the thread.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:38 pm

TyrionLannister wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:i actually did just show up one day and surprise them with it. i didn't tell anyone ahead of time, besides my close friends at the firm. i mean, just as a matter of general policy, i think it's a bad idea to let your employer know too much about your plans before you've finalized anything. but i also knew, based on what i heard from other associates, that the firm is perfectly fine with people leaving for clerkships. it also helped that i worked at one of the gigantic new york firms with an endless supply of fungible junior associates. i like to think that i'm a unique snowflake but i'm pretty sure the firm had no problem finding someone to take over my work.

based on what my co clerk told me, at a smaller firm, you do sort of the same thing. don't tell anyone unless you have to (if say, you need their recommendation). there, you do run the risk of getting worse work if people know that you won't be around for long. but as a general rule, for the big firms with tons of associates, you don't run into this problem.


Thanks again for this. Great info. If you don't mind me asking, what is your take home pay as a clerk? Did your year at the V20 qualify you for higher pay? I'm assuming that you were making 160K at the biglaw firm and was wondering how much of a step back you took. Any outstanding loans from LS? Sorry if these questions seem intrusive, I was curious and I figured they were relevant to the thread.


re: intrusiveness, not a problem. that's why there's an anonymous posting feature.

having a year of experience qualified me to be a GS-12 which, if you add locality pay, comes out to roughly 75k. it's a pay hit, obviously, but the clerkship bonus will help. the firm also offered me full class credit, so i'll be treated as if i never left. i do have loans from law school (roughly 100K left) and i've been able to chip at it little by little.

i think GTL has mentioned this before but if you clerk you will definitely earn less (even with the clerkship bonus) than if you were at the firm the entire time. the bonus helps make up for some of the difference though.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby EijiMiyake » Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Your impression of the quality of litigators that appear before your court.


quality varies widely. the worst are usually solo-type practitioners who likely don't have the resources to brief all the arguments meticulously. they also tend to make weak arguments and have error riddled memos. the big firms tend to submit error-free memos, although the quality of their arguments also vary. (for example, they'll submit a very professional looking brief that cites only persuasive authority)

the highest quality of lawyering i've seen to date is from a highly selective boutique firm that hires largely from court of appeals clerkships.


Name of the boutique, just out of curiosity?

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:43 pm

EijiMiyake wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Your impression of the quality of litigators that appear before your court.


quality varies widely. the worst are usually solo-type practitioners who likely don't have the resources to brief all the arguments meticulously. they also tend to make weak arguments and have error riddled memos. the big firms tend to submit error-free memos, although the quality of their arguments also vary. (for example, they'll submit a very professional looking brief that cites only persuasive authority)

the highest quality of lawyering i've seen to date is from a highly selective boutique firm that hires largely from court of appeals clerkships.


Name of the boutique, just out of curiosity?


i'd rather not say because they practice largely in one geographic market.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:10 pm

I'm curious as to what was your main reason for going to a clerkship post-law firm?

Did you always want to do a clerkship while in school and just never looked into it since you did the firm thing (I'm assuming through typical 2L OCI or similar means)?

Did someone else at the firm mention it and then it piqued your interest?

A good resume boost to get into a gov't position like you mentioned?

Was geography of the clerkship a factor for you?

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm curious as to what was your main reason for going to a clerkship post-law firm?


my main reason for clerking was to learn. there were other reasons too, like resume value (for going to government jobs), gaining a mentor, better lifestyle, and being closer to my girlfriend. but the main reason was to learn all about litigating in federal court. you do learn in biglaw, but it's a different kind of learning. most of what you do there is focused on a single aspect of litigation (discovery) until you get pretty senior. i wanted to see the entire process, from beginning to end. i also wanted to learn about trials, what judges and juries find effective or persuasive, and what strategies work.

Anonymous User wrote:Did you always want to do a clerkship while in school and just never looked into it since you did the firm thing (I'm assuming through typical 2L OCI or similar means)? Did someone else at the firm mention it and then it piqued your interest?


i did want to do a clerkship during law school. i did OCI, got an offer at the end of my summer, and during my 3L year, applied to clerkships. i received zero interview offers. so after that i figured i'd work first and apply while i worked.

Anonymous User wrote:A good resume boost to get into a gov't position like you mentioned?


yeah it is a good resume boost because people assume that if you were hired by a federal judge, you're probably pretty good. but another reason why it has resume value is because if you hire a former district court clerk, you know what you're getting: someone who really understands motion practice and knows litigation from the judge's perspective.

Anonymous User wrote:Was geography of the clerkship a factor for you?


yes. i wanted to work in a big city and i had personal reasons for going (girlfriend, friends were there).

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
EijiMiyake wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Your impression of the quality of litigators that appear before your court.


quality varies widely. the worst are usually solo-type practitioners who likely don't have the resources to brief all the arguments meticulously. they also tend to make weak arguments and have error riddled memos. the big firms tend to submit error-free memos, although the quality of their arguments also vary. (for example, they'll submit a very professional looking brief that cites only persuasive authority)

the highest quality of lawyering i've seen to date is from a highly selective boutique firm that hires largely from court of appeals clerkships.


Name of the boutique, just out of curiosity?


i'd rather not say because they practice largely in one geographic market.


susman godfrey?

quick question tho: when you return to the firm and get your clerkship bonus, will you be bound by a contract to stick around for X number of years? And if not, and assuming you get sick of big law at some point, what's the minimum number of years you would want to stay for reputation (and even ethical) purposes?

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
susman godfrey?

quick question tho: when you return to the firm and get your clerkship bonus, will you be bound by a contract to stick around for X number of years? And if not, and assuming you get sick of big law at some point, what's the minimum number of years you would want to stay for reputation (and even ethical) purposes?


i actually asked my firm about the vesting period for the clerkship bonus, and they said that there is no obligation to stay at the firm for a set amount of time. (i was pretty surprised to hear this) as for minimum amount of time, i'd definitely put in at least one year.

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Re: District Court clerk, former v20 associate taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:38 pm

Slow afternoon, will be around.




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