State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

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wormhole
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State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby wormhole » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:24 pm

I'm thinking of applying to state court clerkships on the West Coast (CA, OR, WA, AK) and select East Coast states (MA, NY, NJ, CT, PA) --- either trial or appellate. How competitive are state court clerkships in general? Do local ties make a big difference, especially in OR, WA, or AK? What about previous chambers experiences? What rank do most clerks need to have for each state?

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reasonable_man
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:38 pm

wormhole wrote:I'm thinking of applying to state court clerkships on the West Coast (CA, OR, WA, AK) and select East Coast states (MA, NY, NJ, CT, PA) --- either trial or appellate. How competitive are state court clerkships in general? Do local ties make a big difference, especially in OR, WA, or AK? What about previous chambers experiences? What rank do most clerks need to have for each state?


In NY, State clerkships at the trial level are somewhat rare (in that they are generally filled by "law secretaries" that work in a permanent capacity. A 1 year clerkship in one of the Appellate Departments (there are 4 in NY - all equal in level - just broken down by location), is competitive, but not insane (and certainly far easier to obtain than a Fed District Court Clerkship). A TTT grad at the top of their class can probably swing a third or Fourth Dept spot (First and Second Dept are probably much harder). Court of Appeals (NY'S highest Court), is going to be pretty difficult (though I do not know form experience, nor do I know anyone who has served as a clerk on the Court).

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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:42 pm

wormhole wrote:I'm thinking of applying to state court clerkships on the West Coast (CA, OR, WA, AK) and select East Coast states (MA, NY, NJ, CT, PA) --- either trial or appellate. How competitive are state court clerkships in general? Do local ties make a big difference, especially in OR, WA, or AK? What about previous chambers experiences? What rank do most clerks need to have for each state?


In NJ, most of the clerks are from Rutgers or SHU... or the clerk went to the same school as the judge and is from NJ. In terms of clerkships, NJ can be pretty parochial. But keep in mind there is a reason for that... state court is extremely different from Federal Court, and wherever you clerk is going to 100% be where you practice. These are stepping stones for the local midsized and small firms -- they're not for people who want national options. Which is why they mostly hire out of state schools or state residents.

But if you're in-state in NJ, I'm pretty sure they'll hire all the way down to at least median if not lower (trial courts, not appellate courts).

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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:44 pm

I'm a NY COA clerk- top 1/3 @ CN. I lucked into the job out of law school- my co-clerks were at least 2 years out of LS (both from biglaw) when they got the clerkship. Mostly they are looking for people a few years out.

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SuperCerealBrah
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:46 pm

This thread is relevant to my interests. I would also be interested to hear from any people who have a state court clerkship experience themselves...

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kalvano
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby kalvano » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:51 am

wormhole wrote:I'm thinking of applying to state court clerkships on the West Coast (CA, OR, WA, AK) and select East Coast states (MA, NY, NJ, CT, PA) --- either trial or appellate. How competitive are state court clerkships in general? Do local ties make a big difference, especially in OR, WA, or AK? What about previous chambers experiences? What rank do most clerks need to have for each state?


You're too late for OR.

State supreme will be competitive like federal, state appellate not so much. Ties will matter far more.

Also, I'm not sure CA really has state clerkships. Check out the Vermont Guide, it will be very helpful.

wormhole
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby wormhole » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:04 am

kalvano wrote:
wormhole wrote:I'm thinking of applying to state court clerkships on the West Coast (CA, OR, WA, AK) and select East Coast states (MA, NY, NJ, CT, PA) --- either trial or appellate. How competitive are state court clerkships in general? Do local ties make a big difference, especially in OR, WA, or AK? What about previous chambers experiences? What rank do most clerks need to have for each state?


You're too late for OR.

State supreme will be competitive like federal, state appellate not so much. Ties will matter far more.

Also, I'm not sure CA really has state clerkships. Check out the Vermont Guide, it will be very helpful.


I'm a 2L starting this Fall, so I'm not applying in OR until January. Does anyone know about WA? The Vermont Guide says to apply "sometime during 2L" --does that mean Fall or Spring of 2L?

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kalvano
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby kalvano » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:08 am

wormhole wrote:
kalvano wrote:
wormhole wrote:I'm thinking of applying to state court clerkships on the West Coast (CA, OR, WA, AK) and select East Coast states (MA, NY, NJ, CT, PA) --- either trial or appellate. How competitive are state court clerkships in general? Do local ties make a big difference, especially in OR, WA, or AK? What about previous chambers experiences? What rank do most clerks need to have for each state?


You're too late for OR.

State supreme will be competitive like federal, state appellate not so much. Ties will matter far more.

Also, I'm not sure CA really has state clerkships. Check out the Vermont Guide, it will be very helpful.


I'm a 2L starting this Fall, so I'm not applying in OR until January. Does anyone know about WA? The Vermont Guide says to apply "sometime during 2L" --does that mean Fall or Spring of 2L?



Oh, OK. WA, apply mid-May to beginning of June, whenever you get grades.

hiima3L
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby hiima3L » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:03 am

kalvano wrote:
wormhole wrote:I'm thinking of applying to state court clerkships on the West Coast (CA, OR, WA, AK) and select East Coast states (MA, NY, NJ, CT, PA) --- either trial or appellate. How competitive are state court clerkships in general? Do local ties make a big difference, especially in OR, WA, or AK? What about previous chambers experiences? What rank do most clerks need to have for each state?


Also, I'm not sure CA really has state clerkships.


Only at the state level, and even then, I think it's only SF and LA. Justice Liu apparently is now taking clerks, but I don't think any others at the Sup. Ct. are. I know from personal experience even the SF Superior clerkships are very competitive because they have hundreds of applicants.

Almost all others CA judges have career staff attorneys.

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quiver
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby quiver » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a NY COA clerk- top 1/3 @ CN. I lucked into the job out of law school- my co-clerks were at least 2 years out of LS (both from biglaw) when they got the clerkship. Mostly they are looking for people a few years out.
Could you elaborate on this? What are the chances of obtaining a NY COA clerkship straight out of law school? Do all the judges prefer work experience? What kind of stats (GPA/rank, journal, etc.) would one need to be competitive from C/N?

Feel free to PM.

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spleenworship
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby spleenworship » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:21 pm

Small southwest state (think east of Cali, west of Texas). State Clerkships here at COA or Supreme requires top 1/3 with LR or 2ndary journal, or contacts.

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ggocat
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby ggocat » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:52 pm

I clerked at a state intermediate COA. Recent clerks have been from all ranges of schools (T14 through TTTT). TTT and TTTT generally have top 5% or so, law review, etc. Generic T1 and T2 is a little more generous but not by much (e.g., top 10-15%, law review, has been the norm). Top-school applicants can have lower grades, no law review, etc. Having a good writing sample and recs are important.

How competitive to get
1. It is about as competitive as biglaw, defined broadly as market-paying or near-market-paying firms. Having the the grades/creds to get biglaw interviews (pre-select) or callbacks (bidding) probably means you have the grades/creds to get interviews at this court. It's common for clerks to have biglaw SAs or paid federal government for 2L summer.
2. It is less competitive than most federal judges/courts.
3. It is more competitive than most ADA/PD positions.

Local ties
Local ties matter, but you don't have to go to school there. It's good to have a compelling reason for why you want to work at that court versus some other court. That's where "ties" come into play; but this is generally good advice for any employer.

Previous chambers experience
Almost all clerks have previous judicial internships, some with the same court or similar courts. This will of course depend on the judge/court. Some don't care at all.

Advice to OP...

Check the VT guide to state clerkships, but of course visit each court's website for clerkship information; some info in the VT guide is incorrect. Watch the sites throughout 2L year and summer because some states hire before the feds.

Also, avoid MA -- http://abovethelaw.com/2009/05/massachu ... ip-offers/ ; http://abovethelaw.com/2009/06/deferred ... achusetts/
Last edited by ggocat on Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:11 pm

quiver wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a NY COA clerk- top 1/3 @ CN. I lucked into the job out of law school- my co-clerks were at least 2 years out of LS (both from biglaw) when they got the clerkship. Mostly they are looking for people a few years out.
Could you elaborate on this? What are the chances of obtaining a NY COA clerkship straight out of law school? Do all the judges prefer work experience? What kind of stats (GPA/rank, journal, etc.) would one need to be competitive from C/N?

Feel free to PM.


Quoted poster here. According to my clerkship office NY COA is about as competitive as most federal district courts (obviously excepting SDNY, EDNY, Cal., DDC, etc). At CN you need to be competitive for a V10 callback to get interviews. However, from what I hear more of the clerks have prior experience usually in NYC biglaw. However, 2 of my co-clerks are from non-T14 schools.

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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:18 pm

How do you even go about applying for state court clerkships? Is there a time of year where it's too late to apply? Do state court judges hire every year?

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ggocat
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Re: State Court Clerkships - How competitive?

Postby ggocat » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How do you even go about applying for state court clerkships? Is there a time of year where it's too late to apply? Do state court judges hire every year?

Look at the Vermont guide to state court clerkships as a start. Then go to websites of states you're interested in. If you need more info, call the court.

Of course different states / courts /judges will do things differently. Some courts hire early (WA comes to mind). Others hire around the time or after feds.

Some hire every year. Others don't. Some hire only permanent staff.




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