2L GPA Drop and Clerkships

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2L GPA Drop and Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:43 am

Rising 3L at a T10 here. So, 2L year was not kind to me. My GPA dropped around .13; I was at 3.95 and now at 3.82. I'm really looking at a COA clerkship, either for right after law school or for a year out. (I know some are done hiring already for 2013-2014.)

1) If I do a COA clerkship right out of law school, is that grade drop going to hurt me? that is, are they going to look at my transcript, see the big difference between 2L and 1L year, and think that I'm not a good candidate? I was looking at 2/9/4, but I don't know if my GPA hacks it in those circuits anymore.
2) If I do a district court clerkship first and then a COA after, is D.D.C. out with this GPA?

Thanks for any help.

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Re: 2L GPA Drop and Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:Rising 3L at a T10 here. So, 2L year was not kind to me. My GPA dropped around .13; I was at 3.95 and now at 3.82. I'm really looking at a COA clerkship, either for right after law school or for a year out. (I know some are done hiring already for 2013-2014.)

1) If I do a COA clerkship right out of law school, is that grade drop going to hurt me? that is, are they going to look at my transcript, see the big difference between 2L and 1L year, and think that I'm not a good candidate? I was looking at 2/9/4, but I don't know if my GPA hacks it in those circuits anymore.
2) If I do a district court clerkship first and then a COA after, is D.D.C. out with this GPA?

Thanks for any help.


(1) This thread is utterly useless without providing a rank. FYI - a 3.95 GPA after 2L at UVA would be #1 in the class and a 3.82 would be #8-#10 in the class; while at Northwestern, that might be top 5-10% (?) (I honestly don't understand Northwestern's curve, I just know that it is high). Thus, we can only really be helpful if you provide us with school and rank, or at least 3 school range and rank.

(2) Much of the 4th and 9th are already done. Indeed, much of the 4th was done before June 1st. Most of the 2d hires alumni rather than rising 3Ls.

(3) D.D.C. hires more alumni than rising 3Ls. Plus, DDC isn't really the best district - I would take SDNY, EDNY, NDCA, CDCA, EDVA (Alexandria at least) over DDC. That said, many district court judges hire alums only (especially SDNY).

(4) I'm assuming that there's no reason that you are only looking at 2/9/4 - it's an odd combo. You should be looking for good judges rather than making an arbitrary choice of circuits - you should apply to any COA judge with a reputation for being a good boss in a city that you're willing to live in. Even in the COA clerk world, 95% of applicants have 0 shot at SCOTUS - I would much rather spend a year working for a great boss who happens to be in the 5th or 11th rather than a not so great boss who happens to be in the 2d or 9th.

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Re: 2L GPA Drop and Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Rising 3L at a T10 here. So, 2L year was not kind to me. My GPA dropped around .13; I was at 3.95 and now at 3.82. I'm really looking at a COA clerkship, either for right after law school or for a year out. (I know some are done hiring already for 2013-2014.)

1) If I do a COA clerkship right out of law school, is that grade drop going to hurt me? that is, are they going to look at my transcript, see the big difference between 2L and 1L year, and think that I'm not a good candidate? I was looking at 2/9/4, but I don't know if my GPA hacks it in those circuits anymore.
2) If I do a district court clerkship first and then a COA after, is D.D.C. out with this GPA?

Thanks for any help.


(1) This thread is utterly useless without providing a rank. FYI - a 3.95 GPA after 2L at UVA would be #1 in the class and a 3.82 would be #8-#10 in the class; while at Northwestern, that might be top 5-10% (?) (I honestly don't understand Northwestern's curve, I just know that it is high). Thus, we can only really be helpful if you provide us with school and rank, or at least 3 school range and rank.

(2) Much of the 4th and 9th are already done. Indeed, much of the 4th was done before June 1st. Most of the 2d hires alumni rather than rising 3Ls.

(3) D.D.C. hires more alumni than rising 3Ls. Plus, DDC isn't really the best district - I would take SDNY, EDNY, NDCA, CDCA, EDVA (Alexandria at least) over DDC. That said, many district court judges hire alums only (especially SDNY).

(4) I'm assuming that there's no reason that you are only looking at 2/9/4 - it's an odd combo. You should be looking for good judges rather than making an arbitrary choice of circuits - you should apply to any COA judge with a reputation for being a good boss in a city that you're willing to live in. Even in the COA clerk world, 95% of applicants have 0 shot at SCOTUS - I would much rather spend a year working for a great boss who happens to be in the 5th or 11th rather than a not so great boss who happens to be in the 2d or 9th.


I appreciate the response. In answer --

(1) From what I can tell, I'm somewhere around 10-15th in the class based on my GPA now at MVP.
(2) Basically, I was looking at the 4th, 9th, 2nd, and DDC because I'd like to live/get a job in NYC, DC, or San Francisco after clerkships. I guess I thought it'd be beneficial to get a clerkship in a city where I'd like to live; I assume judges have contacts in those cities and could help me in my job search. DC is my first choice, which is why I was going to focus on DDC and 4th, although I think those two might be too competitive for my GPA and rank.
(3) Uninformed question -- why is DDC not a good circuit?
(4) That's good advice -- thanks. I'm guessing the best way to find out who's a great boss/"good judge" is just by finding out who clerked for that judge in the past from my school and asking if I can talk to them about it. Other than that, are there any good resources I don't know about for that kind of information?

Again, thanks for the advice.

dixon02
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Re: 2L GPA Drop and Clerkships

Postby dixon02 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Rising 3L at a T10 here. So, 2L year was not kind to me. My GPA dropped around .13; I was at 3.95 and now at 3.82. I'm really looking at a COA clerkship, either for right after law school or for a year out. (I know some are done hiring already for 2013-2014.)

1) If I do a COA clerkship right out of law school, is that grade drop going to hurt me? that is, are they going to look at my transcript, see the big difference between 2L and 1L year, and think that I'm not a good candidate? I was looking at 2/9/4, but I don't know if my GPA hacks it in those circuits anymore.
2) If I do a district court clerkship first and then a COA after, is D.D.C. out with this GPA?

Thanks for any help.


(1) This thread is utterly useless without providing a rank. FYI - a 3.95 GPA after 2L at UVA would be #1 in the class and a 3.82 would be #8-#10 in the class; while at Northwestern, that might be top 5-10% (?) (I honestly don't understand Northwestern's curve, I just know that it is high). Thus, we can only really be helpful if you provide us with school and rank, or at least 3 school range and rank.

(2) Much of the 4th and 9th are already done. Indeed, much of the 4th was done before June 1st. Most of the 2d hires alumni rather than rising 3Ls.

(3) D.D.C. hires more alumni than rising 3Ls. Plus, DDC isn't really the best district - I would take SDNY, EDNY, NDCA, CDCA, EDVA (Alexandria at least) over DDC. That said, many district court judges hire alums only (especially SDNY).

(4) I'm assuming that there's no reason that you are only looking at 2/9/4 - it's an odd combo. You should be looking for good judges rather than making an arbitrary choice of circuits - you should apply to any COA judge with a reputation for being a good boss in a city that you're willing to live in. Even in the COA clerk world, 95% of applicants have 0 shot at SCOTUS - I would much rather spend a year working for a great boss who happens to be in the 5th or 11th rather than a not so great boss who happens to be in the 2d or 9th.


I appreciate the response. In answer --

(1) From what I can tell, I'm somewhere around 10-15th in the class based on my GPA now at MVP.
(2) Basically, I was looking at the 4th, 9th, 2nd, and DDC because I'd like to live/get a job in NYC, DC, or San Francisco after clerkships. I guess I thought it'd be beneficial to get a clerkship in a city where I'd like to live; I assume judges have contacts in those cities and could help me in my job search. DC is my first choice, which is why I was going to focus on DDC and 4th, although I think those two might be too competitive for my GPA and rank.
(3) Uninformed question -- why is DDC not a good circuit?
(4) That's good advice -- thanks. I'm guessing the best way to find out who's a great boss/"good judge" is just by finding out who clerked for that judge in the past from my school and asking if I can talk to them about it. Other than that, are there any good resources I don't know about for that kind of information?

Again, thanks for the advice.


Disclaimer: rising 2L. Have a good chance to clerk, so I've read a lot/talked to folks at my school, but still just a rising 2L who hasn't gone through the process. I'm therefore not going to comment on chances, quality of courts/judges, etc.

As for resources, however, your school should have a clerkships office. If you're at UVA, the director of clerkships is supposed to be very strong. Don't know about Michigan or Penn. Go talk to them, and they should be able to tell you which courts someone with your GPA can shoot for and/or reasonably expect. They should also be able to put you in touch with alumni so you can get their thoughts on specific courts/judges.

Also, read through this thread: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=146252. The guy who started it now also has a blog called Clerkship Scramble which is really useful. Check that out as well.

Finally, what you'll read pretty much everywhere is that recs matter as much as grades, resume, or writing sample (more than the writing sample, probably more than the resume, maybe more than the grades depending on the judge). Hopefully you've already talked to some profs about recs (if not, need to do so asap). You should also do whatever you can to build those relationships over the coming months. From what I gather, a phone call from a prof who has a relationship with a given judge trumps any other asset you can offer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 2L GPA Drop and Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Rising 3L at a T10 here. So, 2L year was not kind to me. My GPA dropped around .13; I was at 3.95 and now at 3.82. I'm really looking at a COA clerkship, either for right after law school or for a year out. (I know some are done hiring already for 2013-2014.)

1) If I do a COA clerkship right out of law school, is that grade drop going to hurt me? that is, are they going to look at my transcript, see the big difference between 2L and 1L year, and think that I'm not a good candidate? I was looking at 2/9/4, but I don't know if my GPA hacks it in those circuits anymore.
2) If I do a district court clerkship first and then a COA after, is D.D.C. out with this GPA?

Thanks for any help.


(1) This thread is utterly useless without providing a rank. FYI - a 3.95 GPA after 2L at UVA would be #1 in the class and a 3.82 would be #8-#10 in the class; while at Northwestern, that might be top 5-10% (?) (I honestly don't understand Northwestern's curve, I just know that it is high). Thus, we can only really be helpful if you provide us with school and rank, or at least 3 school range and rank.

(2) Much of the 4th and 9th are already done. Indeed, much of the 4th was done before June 1st. Most of the 2d hires alumni rather than rising 3Ls.

(3) D.D.C. hires more alumni than rising 3Ls. Plus, DDC isn't really the best district - I would take SDNY, EDNY, NDCA, CDCA, EDVA (Alexandria at least) over DDC. That said, many district court judges hire alums only (especially SDNY).

(4) I'm assuming that there's no reason that you are only looking at 2/9/4 - it's an odd combo. You should be looking for good judges rather than making an arbitrary choice of circuits - you should apply to any COA judge with a reputation for being a good boss in a city that you're willing to live in. Even in the COA clerk world, 95% of applicants have 0 shot at SCOTUS - I would much rather spend a year working for a great boss who happens to be in the 5th or 11th rather than a not so great boss who happens to be in the 2d or 9th.


I appreciate the response. In answer --

(1) From what I can tell, I'm somewhere around 10-15th in the class based on my GPA now at MVP.
(2) Basically, I was looking at the 4th, 9th, 2nd, and DDC because I'd like to live/get a job in NYC, DC, or San Francisco after clerkships. I guess I thought it'd be beneficial to get a clerkship in a city where I'd like to live; I assume judges have contacts in those cities and could help me in my job search. DC is my first choice, which is why I was going to focus on DDC and 4th, although I think those two might be too competitive for my GPA and rank.
(3) Uninformed question -- why is DDC not a good circuit?
(4) That's good advice -- thanks. I'm guessing the best way to find out who's a great boss/"good judge" is just by finding out who clerked for that judge in the past from my school and asking if I can talk to them about it. Other than that, are there any good resources I don't know about for that kind of information?

Again, thanks for the advice.

These clarifications are helpful. I am a different anon than the one quoted above, but agree with most of the points s/he made.

As to (1), you are a good COA candidate but not a lock. If you are diligent about recs, networking, application timing, and everything else then you should be in good shape. But you need to apply more broadly than just 2, 4, and 9 for the reasons given above. Don't give up on those courts, though.

Point (2) is accurate, but not all that important. A strong record plus a decent clerkship in another city will be fine for biglaw in the markets you mention. A little investment now in identifying judges you would *enjoy* clerking for will go a long way later. Point (4) notes one way to do that research, but don't limit yourself to people who clerked for a judge on your list. Anyone who clerked on the same court will have useful insight.

As for (3), it comes down to docket preference. Each of the courts mentioned has different strengths and weaknesses.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273121
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 2L GPA Drop and Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Rising 3L at a T10 here. So, 2L year was not kind to me. My GPA dropped around .13; I was at 3.95 and now at 3.82. I'm really looking at a COA clerkship, either for right after law school or for a year out. (I know some are done hiring already for 2013-2014.)

1) If I do a COA clerkship right out of law school, is that grade drop going to hurt me? that is, are they going to look at my transcript, see the big difference between 2L and 1L year, and think that I'm not a good candidate? I was looking at 2/9/4, but I don't know if my GPA hacks it in those circuits anymore.
2) If I do a district court clerkship first and then a COA after, is D.D.C. out with this GPA?

Thanks for any help.


(1) This thread is utterly useless without providing a rank. FYI - a 3.95 GPA after 2L at UVA would be #1 in the class and a 3.82 would be #8-#10 in the class; while at Northwestern, that might be top 5-10% (?) (I honestly don't understand Northwestern's curve, I just know that it is high). Thus, we can only really be helpful if you provide us with school and rank, or at least 3 school range and rank.

(2) Much of the 4th and 9th are already done. Indeed, much of the 4th was done before June 1st. Most of the 2d hires alumni rather than rising 3Ls.

(3) D.D.C. hires more alumni than rising 3Ls. Plus, DDC isn't really the best district - I would take SDNY, EDNY, NDCA, CDCA, EDVA (Alexandria at least) over DDC. That said, many district court judges hire alums only (especially SDNY).

(4) I'm assuming that there's no reason that you are only looking at 2/9/4 - it's an odd combo. You should be looking for good judges rather than making an arbitrary choice of circuits - you should apply to any COA judge with a reputation for being a good boss in a city that you're willing to live in. Even in the COA clerk world, 95% of applicants have 0 shot at SCOTUS - I would much rather spend a year working for a great boss who happens to be in the 5th or 11th rather than a not so great boss who happens to be in the 2d or 9th.


I appreciate the response. In answer --

(1) From what I can tell, I'm somewhere around 10-15th in the class based on my GPA now at MVP.
(2) Basically, I was looking at the 4th, 9th, 2nd, and DDC because I'd like to live/get a job in NYC, DC, or San Francisco after clerkships. I guess I thought it'd be beneficial to get a clerkship in a city where I'd like to live; I assume judges have contacts in those cities and could help me in my job search. DC is my first choice, which is why I was going to focus on DDC and 4th, although I think those two might be too competitive for my GPA and rank.
(3) Uninformed question -- why is DDC not a good circuit?
(4) That's good advice -- thanks. I'm guessing the best way to find out who's a great boss/"good judge" is just by finding out who clerked for that judge in the past from my school and asking if I can talk to them about it. Other than that, are there any good resources I don't know about for that kind of information?

Again, thanks for the advice.

These clarifications are helpful. I am a different anon than the one quoted above, but agree with most of the points s/he made.

As to (1), you are a good COA candidate but not a lock. If you are diligent about recs, networking, application timing, and everything else then you should be in good shape. But you need to apply more broadly than just 2, 4, and 9 for the reasons given above. Don't give up on those courts, though.

Point (2) is accurate, but not all that important. A strong record plus a decent clerkship in another city will be fine for biglaw in the markets you mention. A little investment now in identifying judges you would *enjoy* clerking for will go a long way later. Point (4) notes one way to do that research, but don't limit yourself to people who clerked for a judge on your list. Anyone who clerked on the same court will have useful insight.

As for (3), it comes down to docket preference. Each of the courts mentioned has different strengths and weaknesses.


Great, thanks! That's really helpful. I'm actually not sure if I'm aiming for biglaw (I'd kind of like gov/PI, although the hiring freeze isn't helping matters), which is why I thought a judge in the specific city I want to work might be more useful.




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