reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

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Anonymous User
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reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:57 pm

comment on potential downsides of above. being very minimalist because don't want to out self by explaining circumstances, etc.

JusticeJackson
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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby JusticeJackson » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:14 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

vegeta
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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby vegeta » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:59 pm

Don't do it.

JusticeJackson
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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby JusticeJackson » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:10 am

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:35 am

this is pretty unethical.

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fenix916
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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby fenix916 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:57 am

yo I found a solution: renege on the job, but tell him you already lined me up as a replacement. I graduated with honors from a T14, what more could he want?

PROBLEM=SOLVED

Anonymous User
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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:58 am

If the judge is anywhere near the same market or connected in any conceivable way, don't do it.

Otherwise, if you think you can get away with it, then do it. You owe nothing to anyone, even if it's an oh so estimable judge.

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yuzu
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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby yuzu » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:comment on potential downsides of above. being very minimalist because don't want to out self by explaining circumstances, etc.


Law, and especially the federal judiciary, is a small world. Word can spread. If you want to practice in the federal courts it could really hurt your reputation among the judge's colleagues and clerks.

If you don't care about litigation and you want to do corporate/patent prosecution/whatever then maybe the risk is smaller. But there are still possible consequences. The judge could find out where you're working instead and call to complain. Your new offer might be rescinded - nobody wants to anger the judge.

Of course under certain circumstances (say, you got cancer, or you decide not to practice law) I think reneging is unquestionably OK.

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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:29 am

I think if you are leaving the market, there is little chance this follows you.

Being a judge is a solitary job, and the ones I worked for didn't interact with other judges or attorneys outside of the courtroom all that often. When they did, they never talked about 26 year old attorneys that backed out of commitments. They talked about major legal issues or golf or how their wives were doing.

When I was a clerk, a month or so before the end of one of my clerkships two 3Ls came to chambers to meet the judge, and talked about their upcoming clerkships (with another judge). The judge misunderstood them, and thought these 3Ls were his incoming clerks. That's how much judges think about incoming clerks. They hire you a year out, and then forget about you until you start (my sample size is the two fed. judges I clerked for along with the fed. judge I externed for).

However, my ultimate stance is that unless you have an incredibly compelling reason (e.g., dying family member in another city; offer to work at the US soliciter general's office; $1 mil/year salary working for your uncle's hedge fund, etc) this is a mistake.

No matter what, you shouldn't tell him you're backing out because you got something better. You gotta play up other factors. Wife's family. Sick family member. Don't lie, but if you tell him you have something better, that's an insult and you'll give the guy reason to ruin your career.

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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:44 am

just do it. even if you're staying in that market, i think this whole "risk to reputation" argument is a bunch of crap. circumstances change and people get that. you ruin your reputation by being a shitty lawyer, not by reneging on a job. i would tell him sooner rather than later so he can find a replacement tho

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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:23 am

Does anyone know of ANYONE who has done this? I know one person and it was a non-event.

Judges can replace clerks in about 30 seconds if they tried.

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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone know of ANYONE who has done this? I know one person and it was a non-event.

Judges can replace clerks in about 30 seconds if they tried.


This is really bad advice. First, judges don't like having to worry about hiring clerks except for once a year. For judges who care about things like school, grades, and resume, it can be quite difficult to find someone last minute. I have heard stories about chambers having to scramble to get a clerk at the last minute because of serious illness. It's difficult for these judges because often the sorts of people they are looking for have either: (a) obtained a clerkship or (b) have purposely chosen not to clerk.

While there may be some judges who simply don't care about their clerks, this is probably a minority. Many judges care about their clerks and can tell you what every single former clerk is doing at the moment. If you get that sort of judge, they can certainly hold a grudge.

More importantly though, why would anyone reneg on a federal judge? Assuming this is an AIII judge, why would you be reneging? And, if for some reason you have some sort of special, irreplaceable job practicing unicorn law, why were you applying for jobs after already having accepted a job? Imagine if a judge kept interviewing candidates for your clerkship spot after already hiring you?

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IAFG
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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby IAFG » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:42 pm

I have twice heard of this happening. Both times, I heard about it from the judges themselves (District Court). Both times, the judges said there were pressing personal issues that were incompatible with clerking. Not sure on the details, but if there's a real, legitimate reason, I would just call the judge and have an honest talk about it.

madame defarge
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Re: reneging on accepted federal clerkship offer

Postby madame defarge » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:11 pm

If you have some kind of personal issues that would potentially interfere with your clerkship, you should talk to the judge about it and see if you can work out alternative arrangements, such as postponing your clerkship to a different term. My judge has had clerks leave early/postpone terms for health reasons, and finding a replacement was never a problem. There were usually prior interviewees who had just missed the cut the first time around, or local attorneys who were experienced clerks who could pick up the reins with little difficulty.

Reputational damage will, of course, depend on your reasons for reneging and how you go about handling the situation. Some judges will hold a grudge because, frankly, they are not used to having anyone say "no" to them. Some judges will barely have their incoming clerks on their radar. Regardless of your judge's level of involvement with the clerks, the clerks themselves love gossip and talk to clerks in other chambers and friends working at firms. I caution you to tread very carefully...




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