Fed District Court Clerkship Chances

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Anonymous User
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Fed District Court Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:14 pm

Top 10-15% at one of the better T30s (if that's a thing), LR (not managing board), interned with a Circuit COA judge. Struck out during OCI last year and had to take a gov job this summer (my grades improved 2L mostly from some fluffy classes, but I did book the highest grade in my Evidence class). What are my chances of getting a district court clerkship? Planning on applying literally everywhere. After another weekend day spent preparing early app stuff, I can't help but feel like I may be wasting my time. :(

Anonymous User
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Re: Fed District Court Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:58 pm

I'm kind of in the same boat. You just have to approach it this way: if you don't try you'll never know. Apply to alums of the school, and less competitive districts.

Anonymous User
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Re: Fed District Court Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm kind of in the same boat. You just have to approach it this way: if you don't try you'll never know. Apply to alums of the school, and less competitive districts.


True that. Those two were part of my plan, but my school only has like 6 current District Court judges or something ridiculous, and it seems like even the less-competitive districts are still competitive if you have no connections to the area. Are you applying to magistrates, too?

Good luck, brother.

lolwat
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Re: Fed District Court Clerkship Chances

Postby lolwat » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:43 am

They're still competitive, yes.

You're already probably doing this, but:

1) Target judges that have hired from your school in the past (not just ones that graduated from your school). Unless the previous clerk totally bombed the clerkship or something, this usually means the judge (a) considers people from your school instead of auto-dinging the application based on school, and (b) is more likely to hire again from your school because s/he has had a clerk from there before that, hopefully, met his/her expectations.

2) Talk to professors that have clerked, and see if you can get some connection to a judge that way. Even if you haven't taken a class with them, if you email and ask if they have some time to talk about clerkships, etc., profs are generally pretty receptive to that.

Anonymous User
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Re: Fed District Court Clerkship Chances

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:23 pm

Definitely doing the first, but:

lolwat wrote:2) Talk to professors that have clerked, and see if you can get some connection to a judge that way. Even if you haven't taken a class with them, if you email and ask if they have some time to talk about clerkships, etc., profs are generally pretty receptive to that.


Seems like profs at my school have only done SC clerkships. My Evidence prof, who's writing one of my letters, clerked for a D.D.C. judge. But he died a few years ago. :(

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: Fed District Court Clerkship Chances

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:00 am

I think AIII clerkship chances applying as a 3L from a non-T14 school and not in the top 10% are pretty miniscule. The fact of the matter is that judges are getting hundreds of applications per spot these days. For example, I applied as an alum last summer. One (hires students on plan, alums off plan) chambers I talked to said 700+ for two spots. Per another chambers I interviewed with, a non-OSCAR, flyover, alumni-only clerkship opening got 150+ for one spot. I interviewed with roughly a half dozen judges, and many (including my ultimate boss) were pretty apologetic up front and said something along the lines of "just so you know, we had tons of really impressive applicants, so we're interviewing a lot more than we usually do, and your odds aren't great."

So, long story short, applying as a 3L, there are probably going to be dozens -- if not hundreds -- of people applying for the same clerkship spots with better grades from better schools. Yes, a lot of them will be applying for a lot of other clerkships as well, but not all of them will take a job elsewhere by any stretch. (Incidentally, I think you'd have a much better chance -- maybe better than even --applying as an alum if you can bust your butt 3L year and get into the top 10%. Alumni-only judges just get tons fewer apps these days, and the "top 10%" is an easy cut-off for a lot of judges). That's the only reason I was successful!)

By the way, I've found a good estimator of chances is to go on lawschooltransparency.com. Look at the percentage of grads a particular law school has placed in an AIII clerkship. Multiply that by 1.5. That's the rough class rank you need to secure an AIII clerkship absent some unique circumstance (the judge is your uncle, you were the RA for his favorite clerk, etc.).




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