COA clerk taking questions

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Anonymous User
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COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:30 pm

Happy to answer questions about clerkship applications, clerking, biglaw, etc.

Anonymous User
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:30 pm

too soon

LawClerk1234
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:40 pm

huh?

Anonymous User wrote:too soon

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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:53 pm

The above anon might be referring to the previous COA clerk, G.T.L. Rev, who had a q&a thread but recently decided to stop posting, leaving a pretty big hole in TLS for those with clerkship questions. It's great to have other clerks around willing to help, though.

My questions:

1) Is a writing sample below ten pages too short? (As in something in the range of 5 to 8 pages?) Is it more typical for writing samples to be single or double spaced?

2) Is it typical to include a list of references in one's application package? If so, I'm assuming the people listed are different than one's recommenders?

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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:55 pm

Stats?

How many applications did you send out vs. how many interviews and/or offers did you receive?

If you could go back and tell your past self anything about the interview(s), what would it be?

LawClerk1234
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:03 pm

1. I'd avoid a writing sample that is shorter than 10 pages. It's preferable to submit a student note or seminar paper. It really doesn't matter whether it's single-spaced or double-spaced.

2. I haven't seen many applications that contain reference lists. You just need to submit at least three letters of recommendation. If the judge wants to call a reference, he'll call one of your recommenders.

Anonymous User wrote:The above anon might be referring to the previous COA clerk, G.T.L. Rev, who had a q&a thread but recently decided to stop posting, leaving a pretty big hole in TLS for those with clerkship questions. It's great to have other clerks around willing to help, though.

My questions:

1) Is a writing sample below ten pages too short? (As in something in the range of 5 to 8 pages?) Is it more typical for writing samples to be single or double spaced?

2) Is it typical to include a list of references in one's application package? If so, I'm assuming the people listed are different than one's recommenders?

LawClerk1234
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:27 pm

Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:05 pm

Lower T14, top percentile of my class.

I only applied to one judge: the one I'm clerking for now. He's friends with one of my professors, and he interviews off-plan.
The interview was pretty easy. Judge and clerks barely asked any law-related questions. Most of the questions were about hobbies, my family, etc. Got the offer at the end of the interview.


Anonymous User wrote:Stats?

How many applications did you send out vs. how many interviews and/or offers did you receive?

If you could go back and tell your past self anything about the interview(s), what would it be?

Anonymous User
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:11 pm

Any advice for an incoming COA clerk on being most efficient, making the most of the clerkship experience, and anything else you know now that you wish you did when you started?

LawClerk1234
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:14 pm

Read every opinion that your judge has published in the past few years and get a sense of the writing style. Each judge has a very unique way of writing, and you will make things a lot easier for you and your judge if you learn that early on. Also, make sure to have fun. The pay is far lower than biglaw, but the tradeoff is that your work is far more interesting.

Anonymous User wrote:Any advice for an incoming COA clerk on being most efficient, making the most of the clerkship experience, and anything else you know now that you wish you did when you started?

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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:15 pm

I'm not sure how much info you have, but any ballpark idea what kinds of grades are necessary from HLS/SLS for the most selective CoA judges?

LawClerk1234
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:19 pm

I think it varies a lot. It's particularly hard to answer this question for HLS/SLS students because you are on that crazy H/P system. My judge has no idea how to evaluate applicants from these schools, so he just relies on professor recommendations.


Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure how much info you have, but any ballpark idea what kinds of grades are necessary from HLS/SLS for the most selective CoA judges?

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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:37 pm

When drafting bench memos, do you usually read the briefs and the record in their entirety and then start writing, or do you write as you go?

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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:38 pm

Like one of the above posters, also an incoming COA clerk.

Did you ever feel like the learning curve plateaued? Did things ever get repetitive or was the caseload fairly interesting?

Also, what's next for you?

LawClerk1234
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:43 pm

Yes, I read the entire record and all of the briefs before I start on the bench memo. I have enough time to do this, so I figure that I should. I know some clerks who just read the briefs, but I think we have a duty to thoroughly review the record.

Anonymous User wrote:When drafting bench memos, do you usually read the briefs and the record in their entirety and then start writing, or do you write as you go?

LawClerk1234
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Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:27 pm

Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:46 pm

The job has been pretty easy: write bench memos and opinions. So the learning curve wasn't very steep.

Biglaw is next for me (different firm from the place where I worked after 2L year).

Anonymous User wrote:Like one of the above posters, also an incoming COA clerk.

Did you ever feel like the learning curve plateaued? Did things ever get repetitive or was the caseload fairly interesting?

Also, what's next for you?

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

Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:57 pm

Have you stumbled into any major pitfalls/mistakes or know of other COA clerks who have? If so, how can those pitfalls be avoided?

LawClerk1234
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:01 pm

I haven't had any huge screw-ups or anything, but I'm pretty crazy about getting it right before I send the memo or opinion to my judge. I know some clerks who have had rough years. Often, it's due to having a bad judge. But sometimes it is because the clerks were careless. The best way to avoid these mistakes is to proofread a bench memo or opinion many times before sending it. Also, choose your judge carefully. I can't imagine what it would have been like to work for a difficult judge. A year is a long time.

Anonymous User wrote:Have you stumbled into any major pitfalls/mistakes or know of other COA clerks who have? If so, how can those pitfalls be avoided?

Anonymous User
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:03 pm

I know you only applied to one judge so you must have known it was a good Judge. But, what are some ways people can detect whether or not a judge is actually a good judge to work for?

LawClerk1234
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:06 pm

talk to former clerks. if you go to a T14, chances are that your school has at least one alumnus who clerked for the judge. former clerks probably won't trash the judge, but you can read into their comments. if they are lukewarm, consider avoiding the judge. also, you can tell a lot about a potential employer's personality from the job interview.

Anonymous User wrote:I know you only applied to one judge so you must have known it was a good Judge. But, what are some ways people can detect whether or not a judge is actually a good judge to work for?

Anonymous User
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:14 pm

LawClerk1234 wrote:
Biglaw is next for me (different firm from the place where I worked after 2L year).



Did you "trade up?" If so, did your 2L summer firm pay bar expenses, etc.? How does all that get worked out? Thanks for answering!

LawClerk1234
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:31 pm

I really liked my summer firm. But I wanted to be in a different city, so I didn't accept my offer.

Anonymous User wrote:
LawClerk1234 wrote:
Biglaw is next for me (different firm from the place where I worked after 2L year).



Did you "trade up?" If so, did your 2L summer firm pay bar expenses, etc.? How does all that get worked out? Thanks for answering!

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

Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:07 pm

Earlier anon: What do you think is the effect of recommendations? Especially at a HYS where grades are fuzzy, is that the bulk of the evaluation?

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Detrox
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Detrox » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Earlier anon: What do you think is the effect of recommendations? Especially at a HYS where grades are fuzzy, is that the bulk of the evaluation?


Try reading the thread...literally answer this question on this exact page:

LawClerk1234 wrote:I think it varies a lot. It's particularly hard to answer this question for HLS/SLS students because you are on that crazy H/P system. My judge has no idea how to evaluate applicants from these schools, so he just relies on professor recommendations.

Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure how much info you have, but any ballpark idea what kinds of grades are necessary from HLS/SLS for the most selective CoA judges?


For OP: Any special advice you'd give to people crafting their applications? Any common pitfalls you've seen in apps?

Anonymous User
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:15 pm

Fair enough. I was trying to ask a slightly different question but I see that it's answered there.

LawClerk1234
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Re: COA clerk taking questions

Postby LawClerk1234 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:19 pm

Typos are the most common pitfalls. I have seen a few applications get discarded because of typos. Also, don't get too cute in the cover letter. It should be a few sentences long.

The best advice is to have a professor who is willing to make calls for you. Even if the professor doesn't know the judge, this could be a big help. It probably will get your application in front of the judge.

Detrox wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Earlier anon: What do you think is the effect of recommendations? Especially at a HYS where grades are fuzzy, is that the bulk of the evaluation?


Try reading the thread...literally answer this question on this exact page:

LawClerk1234 wrote:I think it varies a lot. It's particularly hard to answer this question for HLS/SLS students because you are on that crazy H/P system. My judge has no idea how to evaluate applicants from these schools, so he just relies on professor recommendations.

Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure how much info you have, but any ballpark idea what kinds of grades are necessary from HLS/SLS for the most selective CoA judges?


For OP: Any special advice you'd give to people crafting their applications? Any common pitfalls you've seen in apps?




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