How many clerkships/fellowships is too many?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
fpgregg
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:54 am

How many clerkships/fellowships is too many?

Postby fpgregg » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:02 pm

I just graduated from a top-5 law school and have lined up a one-year fellowship then a one-year district court clerkship. Now considering a CoA clerkship to follow (my current offer is from a major circuit but not a feeder judge). That would take me to 3 years out of law school (summer of 2015) before I even start a real job. If I want to stay at my first real job for a few years before I move around laterally, that takes me to at least 5 or 6 years out of law school before I have flexibility in my career advancement.

How much is too much? Is that delay cost worth whatever prestige/credential benefit comes from a CoA clerkship?

Thanks all!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273386
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How many clerkships/fellowships is too many?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:57 pm

What are you trying to do in life?

User avatar
nshapkar
Posts: 2444
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 5:56 pm

Re: How many clerkships/fellowships is too many?

Postby nshapkar » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:16 pm

.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273386
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How many clerkships/fellowships is too many?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:35 pm

I've wondered the same thing with regard to number of years clerking. At a certain point, people wonder if you actually want to practice. I'm finishing up a COA clerkship, and desperately want to serve as a D.Ct. clerk. I think that one 1-2 year clership at each level is fine, but after that it'll be hard to explain. I imagine 2 COA clerkships moving up the food chain (e.g., if the second clerkship is on the DC Circuit), would be fine too.

I don't know much about fellowships, but if you can explain it to your next (hopefully long-term) employer as a positive experience that you think makes you better at performing the work the firm does, I think you're fine. I just wouldn't do any more "temporary" jobs past the COA clerkship (unless you land SCOTUS or Bristow), because then it might become difficult to explain away. I've certainly met attorneys that did 15 different things over 20 years, and it is really difficult for them to land jobs now.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273386
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How many clerkships/fellowships is too many?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:31 pm

If your district and appellate clerkships complement each other in terms of value added, then this makes long-term career sense. I'm almost certain it does not make sense from a purely financial standpoint, after you discount the probability of making partner. I don't know that there is any causal link between clerking and making partner, but I wouldn't be surprised if they bear a strong correlation.

For general commercial litigation, I don't quite understand the point of an appellate clerkship. The only exception appears to be clerking in a district court with a heavy patent docket (like N.D. Cal. or E.D. Tx.) followed by a Federal Circuit clerkship. Those two years would add good value for patent litigation. But even there, from a purely financial standpoint it doesn't make sense.

For academia, I'm not sure district court clerkships are valued very highly. The only scenario other than patent law where district and appellate complement each other is likely the AG's office or AUSA's office. For the AG's office, two federal clerkships hold value (even though its state @ AG versus federal @ clerkships) because often you do both trial and appellate work. Same with AUSAs office. Some people say appellate clerkships "look better." That's true. And that certainly appears to help for lateraling upward to a better firm. But I'm not so sure that doing two clerkships in scenarios other than what I've touched on makes much sense.

And this is reflected in the market. Firms don't give double bonuses or enhanced bonuses for double clerkships. Your original post sounds like you're trying to hide from the real world as much as possible and attempt to come in as the KING. I don't think it works that way.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273386
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How many clerkships/fellowships is too many?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:09 pm

Might not make sense from a purely financial standpoint, but there's something to be said for a having a high quality of life for a couple extra years during your mid-20s rather than burning through them working 90 hr weeks... and the clerkships obviously don't make you less-employable. fims arent going to hold 2 federal clerkships and a fellowship against you.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.