raising competitiveness from a TTT

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Anonymous User
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raising competitiveness from a TTT

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:14 pm

I graduated top 1% at a TTT(T). I'm fortunate enough to not have any debt from law school (scholarship and grandparents paid the rest), and I have a job next year clerking in the federal district court (magistrate judge). I don't really have a desire to work for BigLaw right away for the obvious reason that hours are brutal for an associate and I don't really need the huge salary to pay off student loans. Ideally I'd like to work federal government, but there are so few openings these days and I think I'm pretty in touch with the realities that no matter how well I did at school, its still a TTT and I won't be very competitive against even people who graduated middle-low end of their class at a T14.

I'm looking for a way to raise my competitiveness. Options I am considering:
-LLM from Columbia or NYU
-trying to clerk for a district judge (still a long shot) or appeals judge (an even longer shot)
-PhD in law from Yale (teaching sounds like an easy lifestyle and I wouldn't mind working at a lower ranked school)
-DOJ honors program?

Advice is welcome!

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rayiner
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Re: raising competitiveness from a TTT

Postby rayiner » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:19 pm

Where is your school? I don't think a district judge in your region is out of the question, especially if you can work your professors for recommendations.

Have you contemplated private practice at a smaller firm? I think you'd have a very decent shot at a ~50 attorney firm in your region that wouldn't work you big law hours, but where you'd still make pretty good money.

I don't think an LLM from CLS or NYU would help unless you want to try your hand again at big law. But you'll coming off a clerkship so you'll have an opportunity to try for big law again anyway. And it might not be a bad idea to suck it up and put two years in at a big firm, then try for government jobs with some experience under your belt.

In my opinion what's holding you back isn't your school, but just the type of job you're trying to get. DOJ honors, etc, is worth a shot, but it's insanely competitive even for people from top schools who have top grades.

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

Re: raising competitiveness from a TTT

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:24 pm

Congrats on doing well in school. Have you done anything to show interest in a career with the federal government? I graduated in the top 2-3% from a TT, and clerked for a Fed COA. I was able to land interviews (but not a job) through DOJ Honors because I externed with the DOJ during law school, thereby showing interest in public service. Co-clerks of mine that were top 10% at HYS that applied to the Honors Program were shut out. I presume that was because they had never done anything indicating an actual desire to work for the government. I would call up an AUSA involved with hiring in the district you're working in, and express your interest. He'll probably tell you they aren't hiring now, but perhaps it will help down the road, and perhaps he'll have some advice.

I don't think you're competitive for teaching, but I might be wrong. It seems like schools put a lot of weight on JD-school prestige, leaving you and I SOL there.

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

Re: raising competitiveness from a TTT

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:42 pm

OP here:

1. I went to school in a big metropolitan city and my clerkship next year is in a different (but perhaps more prestigious) big city.

2. in law school, I spent a summer working for a small firm, and a little more than a year working as an intern to a fed. magistrate judge. So, not entirely "public service," but I did spend some time during school doing volunteer 'equal opportunity and diversity' type stuff through the school's diversity office so I don't know if that counts.

Anonymous User
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Re: raising competitiveness from a TTT

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here:

1. I went to school in a big metropolitan city and my clerkship next year is in a different (but perhaps more prestigious) big city.

2. in law school, I spent a summer working for a small firm, and a little more than a year working as an intern to a fed. magistrate judge. So, not entirely "public service," but I did spend some time during school doing volunteer 'equal opportunity and diversity' type stuff through the school's diversity office so I don't know if that counts.


This probably doesn't bode well for you. There's lots of competition for AUSA slots in big cities. When I spoke with the hiring AUSA in my home city (a smaller one), he told me he receives applications from SCOTUS clerks every time they post an opening. I spoke with some people at the USAO in the biggest city in the circuit I clerked in, and I was told that I was probably never going to get in the door there given the credentials of the other applicants. If I were you and I wanted to get into the DOJ/a USAO, I would go to a firm or to the local DAs office and do everything I could to get in to court, take depositions, etc., and apply to the feds every time there is an opening.

I also wonder why you wouldn't want to do the DA's office. At least in my home city, they make more than the AUSAs and get in to court more.

I would definitely apply to 200+ district and corcuit judges. You really never know what will catch a judge's eye. If you have any professors that clerked for an AIII judge, you might hit them up for recs to the judge they clerked for.




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