2012 Clerkship Application Thread

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 5:17 pm

romothesavior wrote:I wouldn't say its over yet, but I feel like I'm down two scores in the fourth quarter.

Anybody got any movement in the flyover districts in the past few days?


I know someone who got a call from S.D. Tex. this morning, so it's not completely over.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby tommytahoe » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:16 pm

I write to get some insights (either from personal experience, word of mouth, or informed speculation) into the Alaska Supreme Court. I am one of those true clerkship hopefuls saddled with a lousy 1L GPA and, hence, overall GPA (a shade below 50% at a top 25 school in CA). I have considerable work experience and school extras (journal, moot court board, e.g.), but was shocked that a judge granted me an interview b/c of the grades factor.

So, my question is this: How competitive are AK Sup. Ct. clerkships? How are they viewed, generally, in the zeitgeist of employer-land (I'm looking for a qualitative answer, not hard and fast state rankings)? I know they are not as esteemed as CA, NY, NJ, etc. But I have also heard that they stand out in some ways, not the least of which is the many unique issues they hear on appeal, as well as the questions of first impression they hear as a result of their being only a 40-year-old court of last resort.

if anyone has a sense of what it is like to work there, or really any insights into the Court, I'd love to hear it. I have no other interviews, so it's not like beggars can be choosers. But as someone very interested in appellate law, I'd like this prospect even more if the Court had a very good name, etc.

tx!

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Interview with a d. ct. last Thursday and still haven't heard. Is it ok to email chambers asking for status update or estimated date of decision or do I just have to bear the wait and pray that all hope isn't lost yet?


Unless something has changed (you have another offer, etc.) I would avoid this. The waiting sucks, but I don't think it would be worth it to risk calling and upsetting them. Also, it has only been like 3 days.


Did this today since the judge told me before leaving that it would be ok to email to check if I hadn't heard within a day or two. I quickly received a very kind rejection letter . . .

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think the thing about people without offers getting clerkships is more of a self selecting thing. The people at my school who have clerkships/at least getting interviews calls are those that applied all over the map bc they didn't have anything else lined up. All of those were people who struck out with the elite biglaw jobs 2L and need something or didn't want to go back to their 2L firm. Same happened last year. Only one person I know currently clerking will be returning to their 2L firm.

I think until you get into the really competitive level--2nd, 9th, DC, etc.-- why would you choose a clerkship over a top firm? Clerking is unquestionably great, but after working in biglaw for a summer I don't completely buy that a not so prestigious clerkship in the middle of nowhere is necessarily better.

With all the emphasis on work experience, I'd rather get a better clerkship after working for [biglaw firm Y] in [biglaw city X] first instead of living in a small town.


While I understand what you're saying, I think you've exaggerated the circumstances from my original post.

First, I get the self-selection thing (makes perfect sense), but I'm wondering if the job/no job thing makes a difference when two candidates are already being evaluated by a judge. Would the judge feel better about hiring someone with no job, than hiring someone who is already set?

Second, I never said I work in a big city at a big firm. I said I work at a market-paying firm in a secondary legal market. Likewise, the clerking positions are not in the middle of nowhere -- they're in the same market as my current job. Under those circumstances, it's easy to see why someone would delay private practice for a year in order to clerk with a not-so-prestigious judge. It's a great opportunity to build relationships, refine legal skills, and add a great line to the resume.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Jonwx » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:13 pm

For those who are keeping track of bankruptcy judges. Judge Dalis, southern district of Georgia, is filled. Received the email this afternoon. I probably didn't show enough of a connection to the area as he expressly wanted to know "why this court." Also, Judge Kendig, Norther District of Ohio, is also filled per OSCAR. Two down, the other twelve I still haven't heard from.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:54 pm

Does anyone out there know if judges generally email or snail mail their post interview rejections? I am sure it varies, but I just wanted to get a sense.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ClerkAnon » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:59 pm

A mix of answers to a few people's questions:

1. I have known both magistrate clerks and Alaska Supreme Court clerks who really enjoyed their experiences. Re: the AKSC clerks, I've heard that the clerks (at least in some years) have formed a very closeknit group and have had a great time exploring the Anchorage area in addition to doing worthwhile work. The hours were supposedly manageable, too. I'm not sure exactly how competitive that clerkship is.

None of the people whom I know have expressed any regrets about a magistrate or AKSC clerkship. And - albeit with a small sample size - the ones I've known universally leveraged those clerkships into federal district and/or circuit clerkships. While that's good news for them, it means that I can't tell you how much the magistrate/AKSC clerkships alone increased their desirability on the job market, although they ended up being very desirable candidates once they'd completed their 2-3 clerkships. Unless you are hoping to practice in Alaska afterwards, I imagine you'd market it like any other appellate/court of last resort clerkship, re: the improvement to your writing skills, exposure to complex constitutional and statutory issues, etc.

2. Whether judges email or snail mail post-interview rejections varies widely. I've gotten both kinds of rejections.

3. To the person who missed getting a clerkship offer after three interviews: sorry to hear that. I'm not sure that anyone can really answer your question about whether your reduced need for an offer ended up hurting you. It would depend on the particular judge's mindset. When I am interviewing candidates, it almost always crosses my mind whether a promising candidate "really needs" the position based on their current employment status - but that does not affect my hiring recommendation, which is based on which candidate is the best fit for my employer. I feel good if we are in a position to hire a really talented candidate who otherwise would be (un/under)employed, but I can't imagine rejecting someone who is a better fit on the grounds that they don't need the job as much. I suspect that many judges feel similarly.

And for the person who speculated that many judges might prefer to hire students who are pursuing public interest: I found this was true of a minority of judges, many of whom publicized their preference for public interest. I don't think that a biglaw offer forecloses most clerkship possibilities, though.

4. To the person who questioned why to choose a clerkship over a top firm, it was interesting to hear your perspective. When I first applied for clerkships as a 3L, we were in a very strong economy. AFAIK, everyone at my school who wanted a biglaw offer had one. We didn't really consider there to be "elite biglaw firms" in the plural - except *maybe* Wachtell. (People who wanted Cravath, S&C, DPW, etc. found them pretty attainable, barring serious issues with grades.) So for us there were two things in play. Clerkships seemed more prestigious than biglaw offers just because they were harder to obtain: many solid 3Ls who wanted a clerkship struck out, then as now. But more than that, most of my classmates who sought clerkships (to whom I talked) were genuinely interested in the experience of clerking. Fed courts was exciting because we were looking forward to wrestling with the issues taught in that class during our clerkships.

Now I don't care if there's been a change in what is viewed as "prestigious," because as I've said here before, I find the legal profession's obsession with elitism and prestige to be somewhat tiresome. But I would really regret it if people started to view clerkships as a consolation prize for those who did not get biglaw offers, OR a credential to be obtained solely for the prestige value ... because it would mean that law students are perhaps no longer appreciating what a special opportunity it is to be allowed to work, immediately after graduating from law school, with a federal judge (or panel of judges) to decide cases. The opportunity to write the first draft of an opinion or order that will end up in F.3d or F. Supp. 2d; to walk into an oral argument filled with media and be one of the few people privy to an en banc court's concerns in a high-profile case; to spar Socratically with a judge on whether the court should recognize a private right of action or permit a suit for violation of constitutional rights ... it's pretty damn exhilarating. Once you're a few years out of practice, you learn that the "THIS is why I went to law school" moments don't come along every day. If you get one or two a year, you're really lucky - a big win in a case close to your heart where you feel that your client truly received justice, for instance. In contrast to practice, I found the entirety of each of my clerkships to be a "THIS is why I went to law school" experience. I'm sure people's experiences will vary widely, but I think a lot of future litigators will find the experience of clerking to be truly exhilarating. I hope that people will continue to base their decision to clerk on factors beyond speculation about the relative prestige of a clerkship (especially based on geographic hierarchies that seem to have been created online on this board and its predecessors.)

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:33 pm

Hi ClerkAnon,

How is clerking with a magistrate judge different from clerking with other judges? Are there any questions you suggest asking a magistrate at the interview? Thanks!

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anon5125 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:40 pm

I have a magistrate interview in a competitive market, and also have a big law firm offer in that same market. I went in to the clerkship application process just wanting to clerk for the experience, and not caring where or for which judge. The more I learn about the judge with whom I'm interviewing (more so the working environment in chambers rather than the actual judge), however, the less appealing the clerkship seems. I'm wondering, if offered a position, if I'd be crazy to turn down a mag clerkship in a competitive market, especially when my firm will allow me to come back afterwards, or, if I'd be crazy to turn down a big law job for a mag clerkship, and I should just start out at the firm, and hope i can get an Article III clerkship in the same market in a few years. I see the value in clerking for a magistrate judge, and am not sold on the supposed lack of prestige issue, but I am nervous that doing primarily discovery could get monotonous and that the value of doing that might not be any more valuable than the skills I would learn as a first year associate. Any advice is much appreciated.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:53 pm

Anybody have suggestions about steps to take if a judge tells you they'll be interviewing other candidates for the next few weeks?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:54 pm

Current clerks got a request today to complete an Administrative Office survey on whether OSCAR is really working. Maybe change is on the way...

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:16 pm

Found out the only clerkship I interviewed for so far is filled via OSCAR.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi ClerkAnon,

How is clerking with a magistrate judge different from clerking with other judges? Are there any questions you suggest asking a magistrate at the interview? Thanks!


It is my understanding that you will deal primarily with discovery disputes. I think you have to really be interested in litigation in order to reap the benefits of a clerkship with a magistrate judge (i understand most aspiring clerks are interested in litigation, but everyone has their own reasons for wanting to clerk, so just thought I'd throw that out there). However, I disagree with previous posters on here that a clerkship with a magistrate judge is vastly different than one with a district court judge. I think it depends entirely upon the jurisdiction, and how busy it is. A few pros are that the hours will usually be better with a magistrate judge, and in some chambers you may actually get to participate in settlement conferences. I've been told that a clerkship with a magistrate judge in a large urban market is just as good as a clerkship with an Art. III district court judge, although I have no way of backing that up. As for questions to ask, I think they would be the same as for a regular district court judge, but you may perhaps want to do some research and run some west law searches on your judge to see what types of cases/disputes they primarily preside over to get a better sense of what the clerkship might be like.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:38 am

I've heard of some people spending the summer before their clerkship (or several weeks of it at least) with a new firm they hadn't summered with before. Anyone here thinking of doing that?/how does that work in general?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:13 pm

tommytahoe wrote:I write to get some insights (either from personal experience, word of mouth, or informed speculation) into the Alaska Supreme Court. I am one of those true clerkship hopefuls saddled with a lousy 1L GPA and, hence, overall GPA (a shade below 50% at a top 25 school in CA). I have considerable work experience and school extras (journal, moot court board, e.g.), but was shocked that a judge granted me an interview b/c of the grades factor.

So, my question is this: How competitive are AK Sup. Ct. clerkships? How are they viewed, generally, in the zeitgeist of employer-land (I'm looking for a qualitative answer, not hard and fast state rankings)? I know they are not as esteemed as CA, NY, NJ, etc. But I have also heard that they stand out in some ways, not the least of which is the many unique issues they hear on appeal, as well as the questions of first impression they hear as a result of their being only a 40-year-old court of last resort.

if anyone has a sense of what it is like to work there, or really any insights into the Court, I'd love to hear it. I have no other interviews, so it's not like beggars can be choosers. But as someone very interested in appellate law, I'd like this prospect even more if the Court had a very good name, etc.

tx!


Source: I know several people currently clerking for the AK Supreme Court, and a few going through the application process right now.

From what I can tell, it's quite competitive to actually get an offer, since they interview at almost 15 schools and only have 15 spots. Last term's class had (I think) 6 people from HYS, with the rest coming from the T14, UW, Davis, and maybe one other school. Those I know clerking there right now from HYS had median or above grades, and one was EIC of a secondary, so they were well-credentialed, and probably could've snagged good AIII clerkships.

From talking with professors and lawyers, it seems like the court is very well-respected, and I would disagree with your assertion that it's not held to the same standard as the other state Supremes you named.

Best of luck with your interview!

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby tommytahoe » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:22 pm

Great information, thanks!

Well, notwithstanding the competition (expected, really), I was already picked from a sizable pile, so the rest is up to me and my interview skills. Thanks.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:56 pm

I was told by the judge that he would make his decision by Monday. Is it too early to email and ask when his decision will be made, and/or if his decision has already been made and I am not getting an offer?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:13 pm

I received two calls this week after hearing nothing beforehand, so judges are still calling and there's still hope

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I received two calls this week after hearing nothing beforehand, so judges are still calling and there's still hope


I received my first one today. I almost peed myself.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby tommytahoe » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I received my first one today. I almost peed myself.


I would make sure to tell the judge that in the interview.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:52 pm

tommytahoe wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I received my first one today. I almost peed myself.


I would make sure to tell the judge that in the interview.


Of course! Do you think that would effectively express my interest in the position?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:59 pm

Was feeling quite down after not hearing anything from OSCAR apps yet.

However, I did a rough calculation based on the information I - somewhat obsessedly - scraped together and found that only 1/2 of the judges I've applied to* have contacted people so far. This made me feel a lot better. I hope it helps others feel the same.


*I avoided NYC completely, so this will skew many people's numbers. Also, I'm sure some have made contact that I haven't heard about, but I've gotta work with the information I can scrounge up (Since it's not all on a convenient, centralized website. Now there's an idea....)

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby procrastinator » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Was feeling quite down after not hearing anything from OSCAR apps yet.

However, I did a rough calculation based on the information I - somewhat obsessedly - scraped together and found that only 1/2 of the judges I've applied to* have contacted people so far. This made me feel a lot better. I hope it helps others feel the same.


*I avoided NYC completely, so this will skew many people's numbers. Also, I'm sure some have made contact that I haven't heard about, but I've gotta work with the information I can scrounge up (Since it's not all on a convenient, centralized website. Now there's an idea....)

there's something in the works. PM me w/ email if you're interested in being involved.

Mind saying which states these silent judges are in?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
romothesavior wrote:I wouldn't say its over yet, but I feel like I'm down two scores in the fourth quarter.

Anybody got any movement in the flyover districts in the past few days?


I know someone who got a call from S.D. Tex. this morning, so it's not completely over.


Mind saying which judge for S.D. Tex? Or at least if it was an OSCAR or paper application?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:22 pm

Does anyone actually know whether all of the 3rd COA spots are gone? I know they probably are, but I'm looking for more than speculation.




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