Clerkship LoR Conundrum

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

Clerkship LoR Conundrum

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:14 am

I am applying to state and federal magistrate clerkships. I am very geographically focused, and don't have the grades to get higher federal clerkships in my region.

Anyhow, about a week and a half ago I emailed three potential recommendation writers: an internship supervisor, the professor I do research for, and a professor whose class I got an A+ in and who read/edited my note on the same subject matter. The first two responded immediately and already wrote their letters. The latter finally responded and said he's too busy with research to start a recommendation until the end of the month.

I would like to get my state applications (non-OSCAR) out in early July, as I will be in my target market in late July-early August and want it to be known that I will be present and ready to interview. So my question is this: do I start getting my applications together now (mail applications, including processing time by my CDO for my faculty letters), or do I wait for what is probably my best letter of recommendation, even if it means my packets won't go out for another 5-6 weeks ... I am totally torn here, and don't want to screw my chances of getting a state clerkship (probably my best bet here).

Anyone have any advice here? Should I wait or should I get stuff ready now? I'm sure my existing recs are fine, but not terribly academic ... Ugggh.

p.s. only anon because my name/posting history would easily tend to identify me, especially with target market involved.

LawIdiot86
Posts: 1159
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: Clerkship LoR Conundrum

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am applying to state and federal magistrate clerkships. I am very geographically focused, and don't have the grades to get higher federal clerkships in my region.

Anyhow, about a week and a half ago I emailed three potential recommendation writers: an internship supervisor, the professor I do research for, and a professor whose class I got an A+ in and who read/edited my note on the same subject matter. The first two responded immediately and already wrote their letters. The latter finally responded and said he's too busy with research to start a recommendation until the end of the month.

I would like to get my state applications (non-OSCAR) out in early July, as I will be in my target market in late July-early August and want it to be known that I will be present and ready to interview. So my question is this: do I start getting my applications together now (mail applications, including processing time by my CDO for my faculty letters), or do I wait for what is probably my best letter of recommendation, even if it means my packets won't go out for another 5-6 weeks ... I am totally torn here, and don't want to screw my chances of getting a state clerkship (probably my best bet here).

Anyone have any advice here? Should I wait or should I get stuff ready now? I'm sure my existing recs are fine, but not terribly academic ... Ugggh.

p.s. only anon because my name/posting history would easily tend to identify me, especially with target market involved.


You should ask your CDO when state judges in your target market usually interview people. This can vary widely. DE and DC judges tend to be late August/September while VA and MD judges are no later then March of 2L year. Since you can't tell us which markets and I don't have a list of all 50 handy for you, you'll have to ask your CDO.

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

Re: Clerkship LoR Conundrum

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:22 am

OP here: most are september judges, but most also say they'll do july/august for out-of-staters (which I am - applying in home market, from law school).

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

Re: Clerkship LoR Conundrum

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:04 am

Depending on the number of judges you plan on applying to, perhaps by way of a compromise of sorts you could ask if he would be willing to make calls on your behalf instead. Assuming you're only looking at a handful of judges, calling could well prove less time consuming and could be done from the car, at which time he wouldn't be able to work on research anyway.

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

Re: Clerkship LoR Conundrum

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:54 am

State judges may have far earlier deadlines. I would consider sending the packets now to the state judges and having the third letter sent under separate cover. It's not ideal, but you need to be careful about losing out on some of these judges. And, if they don't look at you until later, then hopefully your application would be complete at that time.

FYI - Important lesson here (not directed at OP) - Ask your recommenders early! If you are going to be applying for clerkships, you should be talking to your recommenders at the beginning of the spring semester 2L year. Profs will write better letters and be more helpful if they have lots of time to work on the letters. And, more importantly, the summer is often an extremely busy time for professors - many professors save the majority of their research/writing for the summertime. They are often trying to finish papers for August law review submissions or finish working drafts for late summer / fall workshops.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273366
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Clerkship LoR Conundrum

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:16 pm

OP here: thanks.

Earlier is better. I wasn't planning on applying until I ended getting straight A's this semester. For anyone who can, get on it earlier.




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