State Appellate vs. Federal Magistrate Clerkships

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augusta1985
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State Appellate vs. Federal Magistrate Clerkships

Postby augusta1985 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:53 pm

Just received offers from a Cal. Court of Appeals judge and a federal magistrate. Which would be better for long-term career prospects? It seems like the mag clerks do a lot of discovery / pre-trial stuff, which would be great for developing litigation skills. The appellate clerks seem to do more substantive writing. Both are in the same city, so it's just a matter of choosing the best opportunity.

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ggocat
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Re: State Appellate vs. Federal Magistrate Clerkships

Postby ggocat » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:29 pm

Federal magistrate is probably more prestigious. I think state appellate is more interesting and perhaps will provide you better skills. Do either have the potential for permanent placement? Are both judges cool with the fact you are shoppin g around (ok with being turned down)? How much do they pay? Both one year? If so perhaps you could accept one now and ask the other to be hired the following year.

vegeta
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Re: State Appellate vs. Federal Magistrate Clerkships

Postby vegeta » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:06 am

You got two offers and both judges gave you time to think about it? And you're going to be saying no to one of them? Isn't there some rule against doing this? I heard it's bad taste and bad for your school to turn down a judge, no matter what level.

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Br3v
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Re: State Appellate vs. Federal Magistrate Clerkships

Postby Br3v » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:15 am

vegeta wrote:You got two offers and both judges gave you time to think about it? And you're going to be saying no to one of them? Isn't there some rule against doing this? I heard it's bad taste and bad for your school to turn down a judge, no matter what level.


Wouldn't you say this is irrelevant considering OP isn't two people so this has to happen regardless

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Re: State Appellate vs. Federal Magistrate Clerkships

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:10 am

vegeta wrote:You got two offers and both judges gave you time to think about it? And you're going to be saying no to one of them? Isn't there some rule against doing this? I heard it's bad taste and bad for your school to turn down a judge, no matter what level.


Not really. There are plenty of judges who do not make exploding offers. And, many people end up interviewing with several judges within a short time window. As a result, its not all that uncommon to end up with more than one clerkship offer. In that situation, its fine to turn down one of the offers. What schools and others tend to frown on is when someone gets an offer, sits on it, and then turns it down while holding out for something different.

augusta1985
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Re: State Appellate vs. Federal Magistrate Clerkships

Postby augusta1985 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:51 am

OP here. They each pay about the same ($65-70k), and are each for 1 year. The magistrate left me a phone message on Monday evening, and the appellate judge called me yesterday morning. I told both of them that I need a couple of days to talk with my wife and make the decision. I'm leaning toward the magistrate, since that would give me the best shot at applying for a District Judge position when I finish. Plus, it seems like the work at that level would be more exciting - they see a lot of settlement conferences, and are seeing the litigation happen in "real time."

Any thoughts?

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ggocat
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Re: State Appellate vs. Federal Magistrate Clerkships

Postby ggocat » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:22 pm

Also, what do you want to do long-term? (Seems like any litigation without appellate preference?)

I think this is a tough call and largely impossible to determine which is better for long-term career prospects. I lean toward saying the magistrate just because it's federal.

FWIW, I'm a state appellate clerk but did some federal judicial internships. My two co-clerks who applied to U.S. district judges while clerking both got interviews but no offers.

I don't have much exposure to what magistrates do on a regular basis, though I knowit varies from district to district (e.g., social security, habeas, prisoner litigation, discovery disputes, some dispositive pre-trial motions, criminal arraignments, pretrial conferences). You may get some exposure to pre-trial practice, additional familiarity with the federal rules, and learn about some discovery strategy. To me, pre-trial hearings and conferences are not very exciting. I think you will see (i.e., read) plenty of "litigation" at the appellate court. Frequently you would be reading the record, which will include an entire trial or significant portions thereof, or lots of deposition testimony. You will be able to glean similar "real world" knowledge from that, I think (e.g., recognizing good/poor examinations, understanding some strategy for discovery and how to avoid / win summary judgment). Most important, you will learn all about error preservation at the appellate court -- this is incredibly important for any litigator, and I'm not sure you would get that experience with a magistrate judge.

Congrats on having two offers. You probably can't go wrong at this point.

augusta1985
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Re: State Appellate vs. Federal Magistrate Clerkships

Postby augusta1985 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:33 pm

Ggocat: Thanks for your insight:) I definitely want to do litigation after I'm done. How long is your term? Do you have a post-clerkship gig lined up yet?

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ggocat
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Re: State Appellate vs. Federal Magistrate Clerkships

Postby ggocat » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:10 pm

augusta1985 wrote:Ggocat: Thanks for your insight:) I definitely want to do litigation after I'm done. How long is your term? Do you have a post-clerkship gig lined up yet?

PMed ya.




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