state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273572
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:32 pm

2012 grad here, T30 school, top 10%, coif, law review ed board, moot court. Didn't start applying for clerkships until this summer (dumb/boring reasons). Offer from a state trial court in major market where I want to practice that starts next month but requires a 2 year commitment. Is it crazy to turn it down and try for fed. clerkships starting in 2013? Have lots of applications out and a prof who is willing to make calls for me, but otherwise no "in" or particular reason to think I'm likely to get any particular clerkship. Have to make a decision ASAP. Any thoughts/advice are appreciated.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273572
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:08 am

I would probably roll the dice but that's just me. Two years is a long time in a state trial court. What I would do if I were you is apply to district judges everywhere and magistrate judges within your school's market. Worst case scenario is obviously that you strike out with everything. More likely is that you at least land a magistrate clerkship for a year, which can often times be parlayed into a district clerkship within that district. And you probably have a decent shot at a district judge as things stand right now. Definitely make sure you get all the help you can from the prof

User avatar
Judge Philip Banks
Posts: 449
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:21 pm

Re: state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby Judge Philip Banks » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:09 am

Do you have another job (e.g., firm job) where they are deferring your start date so you can start your clerkship? You might piss off your state trial court judge, but if you don't have a firm job lined up, I'd go for the district court clerkship if you end up getting one. You gotta look out for yourself, and a federal clerkship will help you more than a state trial court clerkship.

Edit - Misread the OP somewhat. To clarify: I'd apply for federal clerkships, and if you get an offer, I'd take it.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11726
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby kalvano » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:55 am

What state, if you don't mind? Here or PM. I applied to a bunch, so I'm curious where offers might be going out.

Also, with those numbers, you shouldn't take a trial. At the least go for state appellate or supreme. You should go for federal, but getting everything together in time could be an issue.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273572
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:27 am

if you're willing to move elsewhere, applying off plan might actually help your chances

damno vitando
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:40 am

Re: state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby damno vitando » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:13 am

Current fed clerk with similar stats. I say "bird in hand".

User avatar
ggocat
Posts: 1663
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:51 pm

Re: state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby ggocat » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:38 am

kalvano wrote:Also, with those numbers, you shouldn't take a trial. At the least go for state appellate or supreme. You should go for federal, but getting everything together in time could be an issue.

I think OP's problem is that shooting for state appellate/supreme or federal = some period of unemployment while looking for a firm gig that he/she will stay at for less than a year (assuming another clerkship materializes).

What's the pay like for the state gig?

I say "bird in hand," as well. Taking the 2-year state gig doesn't preclude OP from going federal at a later time.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11726
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby kalvano » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:46 am

Most states seem to pay between $45K and $50K, with a few states more or less.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273572
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:54 am

OP Here, some additional things:

1. State trial is in major market (can't be more specific than that).

2. State clerkship pay is about 50k.

3. Yes, barring a miraculous late-materializing 2012 clerkship I'd probably spend the next year patching together doc review jobs or working for family friends at small/solo practices even if I managed to land a fed job for 2013.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby keg411 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP Here, some additional things:

1. State trial is in major market (can't be more specific than that).

2. State clerkship pay is about 50k.

3. Yes, barring a miraculous late-materializing 2012 clerkship I'd probably spend the next year patching together doc review jobs or working for family friends at small/solo practices even if I managed to land a fed job for 2013.


100% take the state trial.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273572
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: state trial clerkship or roll the dice on federal?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:20 pm

ggocat wrote:Taking the 2-year state gig doesn't preclude OP from going federal at a later time.

I'll just throw this out there: I had a professor once tell me to not do a two-year state clerkship if intending to follow-up with a federal clerkship because that would be too much clerking and looked upon negatively by firms (potentially four years of clerking considering many district judges ask for two-year commitments). I discounted this advice after realizing the prof was probably overestimating the students' abilities to get (decent) firm jobs. But I can't say if it was good or bad advice because I'm still clerking.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.