Clerkship Chances

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Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:32 pm

I transferred to GULC from a fourth tier school. I have a 4.0 at GULC. I am on a secondary law journal. At my old school, I was top 1 percent first semester and dropped to top 4 percent because I got a C in LRW. (curve is a b minus).

I'm interested in federal court of appeals and district court clerkships and am wondering which ones I am competitive for if any?

All (at least semi-constructive) thoughts are welcome.

Thanks!

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:39 pm

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 3&t=146252

TL;DR you probably have a very, very good shot at a number of clerkships but there are a lot of factors, many of which are not discernible.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:32 pm

OP here. I was hoping for some more personalized advice.

My main concerns are how will being a transfer from a tier 4 school affect me?

How will my C in LRW affect me?

How will only being on a secondary journal affect me?

Will my 4.0 at GULC make up for all this and make me competitive?

If so, which circuits or districts should i be realistically focusing on? Do I have a shot at some feeder judges or is that super unrealistic?

I'm lost here. Please help me out...

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:59 pm

If you graduate #1 in your class at GULC and you really want to clerk, I'd suggest that you apply to feeder COA judges and then apply for a SCOTUS clerkship for afterwards.....

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:17 pm

So the fact I am a transfer and had a C in LRW my first year is not going to be that big of a deal?

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:25 pm

The C, the transfer, and the lack of LR will all have a significant impact on your applications. My view is that you have no shot with feeders despite the 4.0 at GULC. Clerks and judges know it is not all that hard to get great grades 2L and 3L years, at least in comparison to 1L year, when everyone is going full throttle and all or nearly all classes are curved.

But you should still apply to COA judges -- particularly in areas where you have ties. And you should apply broadly to district courts as well. These are probably your best shot. A few strong faculty LORs can overcome (or explain) the C.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you graduate #1 in your class at GULC and you really want to clerk, I'd suggest that you apply to feeder COA judges and then apply for a SCOTUS clerkship for afterwards.....


This is about the most useless advice I have read on TLS in quite awhile.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you graduate #1 in your class at GULC and you really want to clerk, I'd suggest that you apply to feeder COA judges and then apply for a SCOTUS clerkship for afterwards.....


This is about the most useless advice I have read on TLS in quite awhile.



Oh really? because you don't think someone graduating with the highest cumulative GPA at a T14 school has a decent shot at a COA feeder judge?

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you graduate #1 in your class at GULC and you really want to clerk, I'd suggest that you apply to feeder COA judges and then apply for a SCOTUS clerkship for afterwards.....


This is about the most useless advice I have read on TLS in quite awhile.



Oh really? because you don't think someone graduating with the highest cumulative GPA at a T14 school has a decent shot at a COA feeder judge?

Depends on how you define "feeder." If you mean Garland/Wilkinson/Kozinski/Boudin, then the answer is quite clearly no. Those judges hire the top students from schools higher in the food chain than GULC. Their clerks almost always have LR; they did not transfer; and their transcript shows no Cs. Their faculty connections are likely much stronger. Same for their resumes.

If, on the other hand, you mean judges who send a clerk once in a while to the Court, then the answer is yes.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:24 pm

it would be stupid to not send apps to all COA feeder judges. not saying there's a great chance of getting one, but its certainly not 0 and maybe pretty decent if the OP can get a couple interviews and interviews well

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:it would be stupid to not send apps to all COA feeder judges. not saying there's a great chance of getting one, but its certainly not 0 and maybe pretty decent if the OP can get a couple interviews and interviews well

There is literally zero point to OP sending an app to Judge Wilkinson. Same for the other top flight feeders. The app would be a total waste of time, money, effort, and paper.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:56 pm

clarence thomas once hired a magna grad from GW. you never know. probably not a good shot with "top flight" feeders, but there are others that sometimes feed to scotus. my advice is just that the OP should apply broadly to COA feeders (and other non-feeders), which is pretty standard clerkship strategy in general

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:32 am

OP here.

I forgot to add that I struck out during OCI (probably expected due to my transfer status and a C). However, I also have gotten two law review articles published.

With that in mind, am I competitive for COA courts and feeder judges or still should primarily be focusing on District Court Judges?

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby dixon02 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

I forgot to add that I struck out during OCI (probably expected due to my transfer status and a C). However, I also have gotten two law review articles published.

With that in mind, am I competitive for COA courts and feeder judges or still should primarily be focusing on District Court Judges?


I'm sure there is a clerkship office at your school that can give you better data about past GULC candidates than any of us can. Based on my lay opinion as someone who's also interested in clerking and has followed most threads on the topic, my best guess is that the answer falls somewhere in the middle. I would think you would be competitive for plenty of COA positions, but not for feeders. As the above poster said, there really would not be any point in applying to the very top feeders (Garland, Kozinski, Cavanaugh, Wilkinson, Boudin, etc.) Essentially everything said above is correct: they are looking at the top of the class from higher ranked schools, with LR, and certainly no Cs.

Really, if you want to learn more about clerking, read through this thread: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=146252. The guy who started it also started a blog called the Clerkship Scramble that is worth reading as well. Among other things, he has the schools for the large majority of clerks on the COA over the last five years. Good luck.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

I forgot to add that I struck out during OCI (probably expected due to my transfer status and a C). However, I also have gotten two law review articles published.

With that in mind, am I competitive for COA courts and feeder judges or still should primarily be focusing on District Court Judges?

The articles will not materially change your feeder odds . Those odds are described above. Lack of 2L SA or SLIP hurts your odds with non-feeders. I think district courts are your best bet. Of the many aspects of your application, the only really strong ones are (1) one year of very good grades at GULC and (2) two published articles. Everything else is a liability.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:54 am

I think OP is definitely out at feeders--lack of LR hurts him there. I don't think he's out at COA. OP was top 4% at his old school, C or not. GTL has said that some judges scrutinize your transcript, but others really look at the top-line GPA.

That said, nobody is a lock for COA. Top students at T14+LR who didn't transfer regularly strike out at COA. OP needs to apply broadly, and seek out people to make calls for him.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby traydeuce » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you graduate #1 in your class at GULC and you really want to clerk, I'd suggest that you apply to feeder COA judges and then apply for a SCOTUS clerkship for afterwards.....


Virtually impossible without main journal.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby traydeuce » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you graduate #1 in your class at GULC and you really want to clerk, I'd suggest that you apply to feeder COA judges and then apply for a SCOTUS clerkship for afterwards.....


This is about the most useless advice I have read on TLS in quite awhile.



Oh really? because you don't think someone graduating with the highest cumulative GPA at a T14 school has a decent shot at a COA feeder judge?


Um, it wouldn't be the highest cumulative GPA because he'd only be there for two years. Beyond percentiles, the school doesn't rank #1, #2, #3, etc., and they only give summa to people who were there all three years, so he's ineligible for that. And it's understood that 1L is the hardest year, so even if he knew he were #1, judges would discount it.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby IAFG » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:05 pm

[quote=IAFG]Wow. NU gives latin honors to transfers (but not coif). Are you 100% sure?[/quote] I stand corrected on this point.
Last edited by IAFG on Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby traydeuce » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:09 pm

OP:

I had stats that were much like yours. I transferred to GULC from a t30, and finished my 2L year in the top 1% of the class. Secondary journal, connected profs who made a ton of calls, stellar recs, sample that everyone really loved. I thought things would go really well. I ended up only hearing from good, non-feeder judges on 3, 6, 8 and 10 (one judge who's sent a couple of clerks to scotus asked about my availability for 2013, but that was it as far as feeders went), and one judge on D.D.C. And, I should stress, all of the judges who gave me interviews were judges who I had recommenders call. Now, your 4.0 is better than what I had, but I think 1L at a T4 is going to hurt you, and given how things usually turn out for people at GULC on secondaries, I'd be surprised if your applications turned out much better than mine. Consider that, of the 17 people at UVA, a strong school for clerkships, who landed COA spots this year, 16 were on the Law Review. It's not much different at GULC, though ACLR, Legal Ethics, and Tax Lawyer probably combine for a couple COA clerks a year. You may hear from a slightly different mix of circuits, but I'm confident you won't get a whiff of interest from feeders or D.C. Circuit judges. The odd 9th or 2nd Circuit judge may call if you get a few recommenders to act in concert and call a couple of the more attainable judges on each. I largely ignored both, so I can't say what might have happened had I applied there.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby traydeuce » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:11 pm

IAFG wrote:Wow. NU gives latin honors to transfers (but not coif). Are you 100% sure?


Well, technically I'm wrong; there's a minimum credit requirement commensurate with having been there three years. If, for some reason, a transfer took three years worth of credits in two years, they could get summa. Transfers at GULC are eligible for Latin honors below summa.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:09 pm

OP here.

So the general consensus seems to be that I am competitive for COA and District Court, but still pretty much out of the running for the feeder judges, but I do have a long shot at some judges on the 2nd Circuit or the 9th? This seems to be in line with what Career Services has told me as well.

On the subject of latin honors....I will only get Magna, but I didn't really think that was too big of a deal because I do still have a 4.0 and the fact that I was a transfer is obvious so I just assumed judges will take my 4.0 with a grain of salt. Hopefully, still not discounting it entirely though...

Finally:

1. I have heard that a few of the District Court judges are more "prestigious" than some COA clerkships. True?
2. Would my chances there be very good?
3. Would the best advice (for general career options) be to do the District Court and then a more prestigious COA or just one or the other?
4. Other (at least semi-constructive) thoughts are welcome.

Thanks again guys for the advice so far.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:16 am

1. Definitely true. Rakoff (SDNY) and Weinstein (EDNY) come to mind. Either is easily more competitive than a large number of random COA judges out there.
2. Not necessarily. Rakoff, for instance, might be considered a "feeder" district court judge, as his clerks very often go on to clerk for Katzmann. To give you an idea of the caliber of Rakoff clerks, one of his 2010-11 clerks graduated SUMMA from HLS.
3. I don't think it makes a difference.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

So the general consensus seems to be that I am competitive for COA and District Court, but still pretty much out of the running for the feeder judges, but I do have a long shot at some judges on the 2nd Circuit or the 9th? This seems to be in line with what Career Services has told me as well.

On the subject of latin honors....I will only get Magna, but I didn't really think that was too big of a deal because I do still have a 4.0 and the fact that I was a transfer is obvious so I just assumed judges will take my 4.0 with a grain of salt. Hopefully, still not discounting it entirely though...

Finally:

1. I have heard that a few of the District Court judges are more "prestigious" than some COA clerkships. True?
2. Would my chances there be very good?
3. Would the best advice (for general career options) be to do the District Court and then a more prestigious COA or just one or the other?
4. Other (at least semi-constructive) thoughts are welcome.

Thanks again guys for the advice so far.


(1) Your odds would probably be mixed at some of the more prestigious district court judges. They often have quirky hiring (i.e., one of the well-known EDVA Alexandria judges finished hiring in March for 2013) and often require faculty connections.

(3) You probably aren't going to get a more prestigious COA just because of a district court clerkship. There are some COA judges who require a district court clerkship or a year or two at a firm; but, the district court clerkship only opens up the door - if you didn't have the stats for that caliber of COA judge beforehand, the district court clerkship won't give it to you. But, a district court clerkship won't hurt you and (assuming your 3L grades stay the same) you won't be in a worse position for having clerked on a district court.

(4) I don't understand your focus on 2/9? If you're looking at NYC/Coastal CA cities, you have low odds. Especially considering that much of the 2d has switched to alumni hiring. Rather than focusing on the circuit, focus on the quality of judge/quality of boss/quality of clerkship experience. I'd take a great boss/clerkship experience in the 5th any day of the week over some random judge in rural Washington/Idaho/Whatever. Outside of feeders, only law students really seem to make prestige distinctions between judges.

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Re: Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

So the general consensus seems to be that I am competitive for COA and District Court, but still pretty much out of the running for the feeder judges, but I do have a long shot at some judges on the 2nd Circuit or the 9th? This seems to be in line with what Career Services has told me as well.

On the subject of latin honors....I will only get Magna, but I didn't really think that was too big of a deal because I do still have a 4.0 and the fact that I was a transfer is obvious so I just assumed judges will take my 4.0 with a grain of salt. Hopefully, still not discounting it entirely though...

Finally:

1. I have heard that a few of the District Court judges are more "prestigious" than some COA clerkships. True?
2. Would my chances there be very good?
3. Would the best advice (for general career options) be to do the District Court and then a more prestigious COA or just one or the other?
4. Other (at least semi-constructive) thoughts are welcome.

Thanks again guys for the advice so far.

Different anon. The post above seems pretty accurate to me.

(0) The focus on and discussion of feeders in this thread is a really good example of how over-optimistic most clerkship applicants are. Think for a moment about the matter. Multiple class years of students are gunning for those clerkships. The people who get them have great grades from great schools with great recs, great resumes, great writing samples, LR, and so on. OP has exactly two bankable assets: a two-semester 4.0 at GULC and a few publications. S/he loses the "and" battle on multiple fronts -- i.e., nearly everyone who snags a feeder clerkship will have everything OP has "and" lots more. The trick is not in assessing your own credentials in a vacuum: do not look at your GPA and say "wow, this is a really great GPA." Certainly, a 4.0 at GULC is that. But these days, for clerkships, the more relevant question is "great in comparison to what?" You need to be realistic about who the competition is. OP seems to be coming around to this, so credit to him or her for doing so.

(1) Sure, though query how much prestige matters when unconnected to some very concrete goal, like landing a particular type of firm job, government position, etc. Prestige for its own sake is a fool's errand. It would be more useful if you said why you wanted a highly-rated clerkship. A very prestigious district judge in NY might not help you out much if your end goal is to work in Dallas.

(2) Probably not, for the reasons given above.

(3) If you want to do both, the order generally does not matter. Get whatever you can first and then get the other one. Having a clerkship on your resume will help you get the second one, but not by a huge amount. Might be a nice tiebreaker when you are head-to-head with a few applicants who have similar credentials.

(4) Check out what traydeuce said above. Faculty support was huge for him -- probably dispositive. Do whatever you can go build and use faculty connections.




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