2012 Clerkship Application Thread

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romothesavior
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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby romothesavior » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:26 am

Everyone always says "Oh just apply next go-around," but I can't imagine that being realistic for a lot of people, assuming they had a good job and liked where they were at. I really want to clerk, but I can't imagine taking the pay cut, leaving my firm, and potentially moving hundreds of miles to do it.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:28 am

romothesavior wrote:Everyone always says "Oh just apply next go-around," but I can't imagine that being realistic for a lot of people, assuming they had a good job and liked where they were at. I really want to clerk, but I can't imagine taking the pay cut, leaving my firm, and potentially moving hundreds of miles to do it.


Word.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:51 am

romothesavior wrote:Everyone always says "Oh just apply next go-around," but I can't imagine that being realistic for a lot of people, assuming they had a good job and liked where they were at. I really want to clerk, but I can't imagine taking the pay cut, leaving my firm, and potentially moving hundreds of miles to do it.


That is valid, and it sounds like you have done your cost/benefit analysis. You want to clerk, but not enough to take the pay cut. Some people may be willing to. Also, it isn't like the money is horrible. It is still more than most and pays enough to live comfortably. If you aren't willing to leave the firm for a year or two, then it sounds like, although you want to clerk, there are other things that you want more.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby romothesavior » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Everyone always says "Oh just apply next go-around," but I can't imagine that being realistic for a lot of people, assuming they had a good job and liked where they were at. I really want to clerk, but I can't imagine taking the pay cut, leaving my firm, and potentially moving hundreds of miles to do it.


That is valid, and it sounds like you have done your cost/benefit analysis. You want to clerk, but not enough to take the pay cut. Some people may be willing to. Also, it isn't like the money is horrible. It is still more than most and pays enough to live comfortably. If you aren't willing to leave the firm for a year or two, then it sounds like, although you want to clerk, there are other things that you want more.

Honestly the money is a small part of it. My firm probably wouldn't like it (and this is a place I want to work at long-term), I'd be putting my career on hold for a year or two, and my SO would not want to move again after a year. The money issue is there, but it's more of a career concern than anything else.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:27 pm

Wow, just got out of an interview. Totally thrown off, nothing like I expected. The interview was maybe 25 mins long without any substantive questions. Judge asked me several very basic questions for about 5 mins, then asked if I had any.

Do not feel good heading out of that one. Was never able to feel like I was connecting with the judge. Oh well, on to the next one. This was my top pick though...

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:41 pm

romothesavior wrote:Everyone always says "Oh just apply next go-around," but I can't imagine that being realistic for a lot of people, assuming they had a good job and liked where they were at. I really want to clerk, but I can't imagine taking the pay cut, leaving my firm, and potentially moving hundreds of miles to do it.


I faced this same problem, with the additional consideration that recommendation letters are generally far easier to compile as a student.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:45 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Everyone always says "Oh just apply next go-around," but I can't imagine that being realistic for a lot of people, assuming they had a good job and liked where they were at. I really want to clerk, but I can't imagine taking the pay cut, leaving my firm, and potentially moving hundreds of miles to do it.


That is valid, and it sounds like you have done your cost/benefit analysis. You want to clerk, but not enough to take the pay cut. Some people may be willing to. Also, it isn't like the money is horrible. It is still more than most and pays enough to live comfortably. If you aren't willing to leave the firm for a year or two, then it sounds like, although you want to clerk, there are other things that you want more.

Honestly the money is a small part of it. My firm probably wouldn't like it (and this is a place I want to work at long-term), I'd be putting my career on hold for a year or two, and my SO would not want to move again after a year. The money issue is there, but it's more of a career concern than anything else.


I'm in the same boat - I really feel like this is my only shot at clerking. I want to do IP, and my offer is in a market that doesn't have a huge patent docket but is very close to family. I'm not sure that I'll be able to move if I start with the firm, especially after taking what amounts to a 50% paycut.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any word from SDNY Engelmayer?


+1

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:34 pm

Do we know of any DDC judges left for 2013? I have assumed that if I haven't heard anything by now, it's over, but I had heard that Contreras was a slow mover...

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:35 pm

Any word from S.D. Cal. Sammartino?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:49 pm

Leaving for my interview.


"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!"

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any word from S.D. Cal. Sammartino?


she's interviewing today and tomorrow

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Leaving for my interview.


"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!"


GET 'ER DONE

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am a 3L and was offered a clerkship for 2014-2015 verbally by Judge of which I accepted. There is no paperwork between us and since this is so far in the future I'm a little nervous s/he will forget...or is a verbal agreement sufficient for a clerkship 2 years into the future? I did write the Judge confirming our "agreement" and how excited I was.

For those of you that have had clerkship offers, for confirmation of the clerkship, is it verbal or is there paperwork I should be asking for?

What & when would be my next steps? June 2013, call chambers to reaffirm this?

Also Chambers said I need not reapply. Does this mean I don't have to worry about my 3L grades?

Thanks so much!


I was worried about this prior to both of my clerkships, as neither judge initially offered me a written offer letter. In both cases, we had informal email correspondence that mentioned our understanding that I was going to clerk during the term in question. E.g., after I accepted, my second judge and I exchanged emails on which HR was copied that discussed my place on the JSP scale. A few months before my first clerkship, I asked my first judge for an offer letter that I could show to my firm in order for them to hold my offer open, and he provided me with one. While I felt slightly awkward quitting my BigLaw job and moving cities to go to my second clerkship based on an oral offer and informal emails, that is what I ended up doing, and nothing bad happened. I wish that all judges extended formal offer letters as a matter of course to give their future law clerks peace of mind, but my perception is that many judges expect that their word should be sufficient. And generally, it is: I haven't heard any horror stories about someone receiving an oral offer that has not been honored. Nor have I heard about a judge or clerk misunderstanding the terms of the offer (e.g., later disputing the start date or length of term.) I'd be curious to know if anyone else has been harmed by the lack of a written offer letter. Otherwise, try not to worry; your situation is not unusual.

I don't know what "need not reapply" means. The district judge for whom I clerked immediately after law school did not ask to see my 3L grades. However, it's good practice to "worry about" them, in case you want to clerk again for a different level of court or apply for other competitive positions within your first five years out of law school. (After five years, fewer employers ask for your transcript, but some still do.) For what little it's worth, I have not personally heard of a judge revoking an offer based on 3L grades, and most of my clerk-friends were not asked to resubmit their transcripts at the start of their clerkships.

ClerkAnon

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:58 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Everyone always says "Oh just apply next go-around," but I can't imagine that being realistic for a lot of people, assuming they had a good job and liked where they were at. I really want to clerk, but I can't imagine taking the pay cut, leaving my firm, and potentially moving hundreds of miles to do it.


That is valid, and it sounds like you have done your cost/benefit analysis. You want to clerk, but not enough to take the pay cut. Some people may be willing to. Also, it isn't like the money is horrible. It is still more than most and pays enough to live comfortably. If you aren't willing to leave the firm for a year or two, then it sounds like, although you want to clerk, there are other things that you want more.

Honestly the money is a small part of it. My firm probably wouldn't like it (and this is a place I want to work at long-term), I'd be putting my career on hold for a year or two, and my SO would not want to move again after a year. The money issue is there, but it's more of a career concern than anything else.


If the money is a small part of it, a few considerations:

1. Many firms are supportive of associates who want to clerk, even if it's not the firm's first preference. My V25 firm fell into this category. They actually encourage IP litigation associates to go to the Federal Circuit and come back, but they prefer that other associates clerk before starting at the firm. Despite their preference, they have supported and welcomed back (with clerkship bonuses) litigation associates who took a year to go to a federal district or circuit court. To our pleasant surprise, this was true (although not publicized for obvious reasons) EVEN during the recession year in which they laid off other attorneys.

2. Respectfully, a clerkship is not putting your career on hold: it's actively developing your career for a year or two. Over 95 percent of the work I did in both my clerkships was substantive, and I've found that it was highly valued by both public and private sector employers. The fact of my clerkship and the reference calls that my judges have made on my behalf have done more for my career than any other entry on my resume.

3. The geographic concern is very legitimate, especially with a SO. I've known some candidates with SOs who restricted their search to the city (or general region, within 50 miles) in which they lived, with some very successful results. If you really want to clerk and strike out this time around, you might consider conducting a geographically-restricted search in your region.

ClerkAnon


(edit to correct typos)
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Everyone always says "Oh just apply next go-around," but I can't imagine that being realistic for a lot of people, assuming they had a good job and liked where they were at. I really want to clerk, but I can't imagine taking the pay cut, leaving my firm, and potentially moving hundreds of miles to do it.


I faced this same problem, with the additional consideration that recommendation letters are generally far easier to compile as a student.


For this reason, I recommend that everyone who is considering clerking make sure that their professors prepare their LoRs in law school at some point during the 3L year, even if you intend to use them for the first time as an alum. (If necessary to have your professors prepare letters, submit an obligatory clerkship application or two at some point during your 3L year.) These will be the LoRs you use as an alum applicant.

When I applied to the Ninth Circuit as an alum, my two professor recommenders were able to pull up and modify slightly the cover letters that they had written years earlier during my district court clerkship application process. (My third recommender was my district judge.) The academic letters were very detailed re: my performance in class and writing abilities, and the professors definitely would not have been able to supply such specific comments for the first time years after I'd been in their classes. I've seen other alum would-be clerks have to abandon their clerkship applications because they simply could not get academic recommendations 2-4 years after graduation; their professors had forgotten too much about them.

ClerkAnon
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:39 pm

So. Any on-the-spot and/or exploding offers? I've interviewed with four judges this week, and all of them indicated that they would probably be extending offers Friday or early next week. Two more tomorrow, including my top choice so I'm not exactly hoping to get an offer quite yet.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:17 pm

Thank you ClerkAnon! Taking off where GTL left off.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:42 pm

Clerkship landed. District court from flyover, yet, major city. From an off-plan app and early Sept interview.

I'm peeing myself as we speak.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:02 pm

Can confirm that Engelmayer has started interviewing.

Question: Are clerkships in competitive districts viewed the same way (prestigewise) regardless of where the judge sits (i.e. White Plains vs. NYC, Brooklyn vs. Central Islip, etc.)? I know a lot of consideration comes down to what judge it is, but assuming you are comparing two particularly not-unique judges.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:18 pm

Should we send a thank you letter? If so, by email, letter? My interview was today and judge said we should hear by Friday. I don't even know where I would send it if by email. Mail won't arrive in time.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:29 pm

Received exploding offer from district court judge and accepted. I'm excited and happy with this, but it means I had to cancel three interviews with COA judges. I'd prefer to do a COA clerkship immediately following my dist. When should I start reapplying for 2014? Will I offend my dist judge? I know that some of the more competitive COA judges have already hired some clerks for 2014 and I don't want to miss out.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:36 pm

I emailed thank you notes. Looked up the judge's email address in the Yellow Book.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Received exploding offer from district court judge and accepted. I'm excited and happy with this, but it means I had to cancel three interviews with COA judges. I'd prefer to do a COA clerkship immediately following my dist. When should I start reapplying for 2014? Will I offend my dist judge? I know that some of the more competitive COA judges have already hired some clerks for 2014 and I don't want to miss out.


I doubt you're going to offend your district court judge by applying to COAs immediately. I interviewed with a judge whose current clerk (who just started within the past few weeks) had already interviewed for and accepted a post-district court COA clerkship. Of course, I suggest asking your judge since they all vary.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:46 pm

Thank you ClerkAnon! Taking off where GTL left off.


I'm glad to (try to) help. The clerkship application process is mystifying, stressful, and frustrating. I benefited greatly a few years ago from former clerks who took the time to make very helpful posts on the old Greedy Clerks board. I'm happy to try to pay that forward a bit.

Question: Are clerkships in competitive districts viewed the same way (prestigewise) regardless of where the judge sits (i.e. White Plains vs. NYC, Brooklyn vs. Central Islip, etc.)? I know a lot of consideration comes down to what judge it is, but assuming you are comparing two particularly not-unique judges.


Viewed the same way by whom? To take off my clerk hat and speak as an attorney with experience in hiring: it is completely irrelevant to me where within a particular district a candidate has clerked. The three things that I care about when evaluating a former clerk, in descending order of importance, are:

1 - the substantive experience they got from their clerkship. I.e., I expect them to bring very strong writing experience to the position. This is an unmitigated good, and all DCt/COA (and IMO, state supreme court) clerks get this checkmark presumptively - unless they do something to lose it, like submitting a subpar writing sample.
2 - whether the type of clerkship (district vs. circuit) will be relevant to the work of my employer. In-district/in-circuit experience is especially valuable from my perspective.
3 - the "signaling" value/prestige of the clerkship. This is the least important of the three factors to me, and I evaluate this based on the district/circuit, not based on the city. I.e., I can't imagine weighing a California-based Ninth Circuit clerk more highly than an Idaho or Montana-based Ninth Circuit clerk, particularly where the judges are similar (as in your question.) Ranking, say, Los Angeles clerkships in CDCA above Santa Ana or Riverside seems even more strange to me, for this reason: perhaps you could argue that substantially more candidates are likely to apply for a California circuit clerkship than a Montana circuit clerkship (though I doubt that anyone outside the chambers involved has the data to verify this.) But it's much more common for people who have decided to apply to a particular district to apply throughout the district, so I suspect there is less variance in the number of applicants (though there are probably a few Manhattan/Brooklyn-or-bust people, most would-be clerks seem to be a bit more flexible than that.)

Also, it's relatively rare that the two top candidates competing for a particular position are (for instance) a Los Angeles CDCA clerk vs. a Santa Ana CDCA clerk. Even in this very rare situation, the candidates will typically distinguish themselves by something more important than their clerkship city. Setting aside my personal views, I have never heard another attorney praise or denigrate a candidate's clerkship based on the city of clerkship (within a given district).

Should we send a thank you letter? If so, by email, letter? My interview was today and judge said we should hear by Friday. I don't even know where I would send it if by email. Mail won't arrive in time.


This is a tough one. I did not send thank you notes for clerkship applications, although that was as much a product of my inexperience in interviewing as a strategic decision. These days, I write thank you letters to employers by snail mail immediately after the interview in question and mail them the same day within the same city, so that they will almost certainly arrive the next day. This is one possible approach for people who are going to attempt thank you letters, with the caveat that it will possibly still be too late in some cases, like yours. Otherwise: if you have received an email invitation to interview from the judge, the JA, or a law clerk - or are provided during the interview with anyone's cards that contain their uscourts.gov email addresses - you could send it to that email address. (While most federal judiciary email addresses use a fairly standard format, and you could probably figure out the judge's email address, you are taking a risk in sending an unsolicited thank you email to a "deciphered" email address with which the chambers did not provide you.) If you don't have an email address by the end of your interview and you know that the decision will be made before you could possibly send a snail mail thank you, it is probably fine not to send - and probably will not be expected.

ClerkAnon
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.




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