2012 Clerkship Application Thread

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just got a D. Ct. clerkship for next year and contemplating not accepting my offer to my firm from this summer. Didn't love the experience and more importantly it doesn't have a great rep for my desired practice area. I have a couple questions and any advice or input would be greatly appreciated.

For those who went through a similar thought process, how did you decide whether or not to pull the trigger on switching firms? I know I didn't love my firm, but how bad does it have to be to go to another firm permanently w/o the benefit of a summer's worth of knowledge?

There are a lot of other considerations involved, but I'm also curious how much money that decision could cost me. Would a firm I didn't summer with still pay for bar prep, moving expenses, clerkship bonus, etc.? Also, is there a good source for comparing clerkship bonuses firm to firm?

Thanks.


The proper first step is to ask your judge how s/he prefers to handle firm offers. Some judges prefer that you ask the firm to close the offer and to re-extend the offer towards the end of your clerkship. Some judges allow you to have an open offer, but do not allow you to accept it. Some judges allow you to accept an offer, but not to accept any money or benefit from the firm. Finally, a some judges allow you to accept an offer and receive money from the firm prior to the clerkship, but the money cannot be a salary advance (these are considered loans).

The second step is to find out if your firm will allow you to accept/receive money, some will not.

If the firm will allow you to accept, then you need to decide whether or not you want to return there. If, as you say, you are sure that you do not want to return, then you should not accept the offer. You can ask them to leave the offer open. You can also consider trying to get a pre-clerkship SA if you want to try another firm.

I know this was asked in another thread, and to answer the question presented there - it is not ethical to accept an offer from a firm and receive money from them if you know that there is absolutely zero odds of you returning there. That's different, though, from changing your mind - this happens, and the most important thing to do if you accept and change your mind is to be honest with the prior firm and to talk to them well in advance of the start date.

-DoubleClerk



Not OP but thx for the very useful info. Any advice on how to approach other firms? Has anyone had the experience of having a firm they didn't summer w pay their bar expenses?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ClerkAnon » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP but thx for the very useful info. Any advice on how to approach other firms? Has anyone had the experience of having a firm they didn't summer w pay their bar expenses?


Hi all,

Sorry for being MIA - things have been busy. I'll get to other questions later, but I wanted to respond to this one quickly for now. I did a clerkship SA at my 2L summer firm. That firm agreed to hold open my offer during my district clerkship. Because I had not accepted their offer, they had not paid my moving or bar expenses. During February/March of my clerkship year, I interviewed with other firms, accepted a new offer, and declined my previous firm's offer.

My new firm reimbursed me for all of my bar expenses (BarBri + all fees associated with California bar admission), even though I was already admitted by the time I applied to them. I just had to sign a statement saying that no other firm had paid my bar expenses. The same was true for my clerkship bonus; they paid the $50,000 market rate once I signed a statement saying my previous firm had not paid it. Unfortunately, the firm did not pay for moving expenses, because they were located in the same area as my clerkship, so they considered my move (from clerkship city to firm city) local. They considered themselves once removed from the longer move I had made from law school --> clerkship.

Also, for the future DCt clerk who is worried about going to a firm without the experience of summering there: don't worry about that. For the rest of your career (assuming you do not stay at your first employer forever), you will have to accept job offers without a three month trial period. Firms tend to be great about putting you in touch with current associates/partners post-offer for you to have coffee/lunch/dinner and ask all your questions. Take advantage of this. Also, do your research beyond what the firm offers you, especially if you are local during your clerkship. E.g., go to local bar association events and talk to other attorneys about the firm you're considering - attorneys who used to work there and attorneys who have worked with that firm as co-counsel or opposing counsel are great sources of information.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:31 am

Advice on how to handle this situation?

Last week I had an interview with a Magistrate Judge (with a good docket, in a good district). Shortly thereafter, I got a call to schedule an interview with an AIII district judge in the same courthouse. That interview will be late this Wednesday.

I would much prefer to clerk for this district judge, but don't want to withdrawal from the Magistrate Judge because I honestly think he'd be great to work for and would prefer clerking for him to going straight to practice.

The hope is that I won't hear from MJ until after my interview with DJ. He said he would be in touch "in a week or two" ... my interview with DJ is right between 1 and 2 weeks. Also, interestingly, he said "if you get an offer from anyone else in the meantime and need a quicker decision -- let me know" -- which seems to imply MJ doesn't think there's any impropriety to sitting on an offer for at least some short period of time to explore other options.

Ideally, I could clerk for two years and go MJ->DJ. Anyone have experience scheduling an interview, getting an offer from a different judge, and then calling to see if the judge will still interview you but for the following term?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:22 pm

Got a call from a judge in E.D. La this morning, but told my summer firm that I was coming back in 2013 last Friday. Figured that there were no more calls coming this late in the game. Damn.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby romothesavior » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Got a call from a judge in E.D. La this morning, but told my summer firm that I was coming back in 2013 last Friday. Figured that there were no more calls coming this late in the game. Damn.

If you want to clerk, I would call and explain the situation. I doubt anything has changed since Friday that would screw the firm over.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:41 pm

Call the firm and explain your situation. I received an interview and a clerkship at the COA level after accepting my job. I told them after the fact and they extended their offer of employment until 2014.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:23 pm

Hmm, it appears I am striking out for the second time. Looks like I am going to have to make a run at state court clerkships...I would have thought the CCN top 15% would have carried me, in view of the fact that I applied all over the country, oh well.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ClerkAnon » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Advice on how to handle this situation?

Last week I had an interview with a Magistrate Judge (with a good docket, in a good district). Shortly thereafter, I got a call to schedule an interview with an AIII district judge in the same courthouse. That interview will be late this Wednesday.

I would much prefer to clerk for this district judge, but don't want to withdrawal from the Magistrate Judge because I honestly think he'd be great to work for and would prefer clerking for him to going straight to practice.

The hope is that I won't hear from MJ until after my interview with DJ. He said he would be in touch "in a week or two" ... my interview with DJ is right between 1 and 2 weeks. Also, interestingly, he said "if you get an offer from anyone else in the meantime and need a quicker decision -- let me know" -- which seems to imply MJ doesn't think there's any impropriety to sitting on an offer for at least some short period of time to explore other options.

Ideally, I could clerk for two years and go MJ->DJ. Anyone have experience scheduling an interview, getting an offer from a different judge, and then calling to see if the judge will still interview you but for the following term?


Hopefully you hear from the magistrate judge after your district court interview, which might moot your concern (as would a rejection from the magistrate.) If you receive an offer from the magistrate judge ... in this case, I would consider telling the magistrate that you have an interview with Judge X scheduled. (Don't play up the fact that Judge X is AIII, although of course the magistrate will be aware of that.) You could explain to the magistrate that you would be delighted to do both clerkships if feasible, but that you would really like to complete the district court interview and explore that possibility, too. I think there is a very strong chance that the magistrate will consent, or might indicate that he is willing to consider you for 2014-15 if you get the DCt clerkship. You're asking for a short delay (24-48 hours); it's to interview with a district judge that he knows; the magistrate is not fast-moving (he makes offers in 1-2 weeks, whereas many exploding offer judges make their offers on the spot); and he's taken a reasonable tone with you to this point, telling you to let him know if you need a quicker decision.

I would then proceed to the DJ interview - but without asking up front to be considered only for 2014-15. At the very end of the interview, I would discuss timing with the judge; let the judge know that you really want to work for them and would accept an offer (if true). With that said, you have a magistrate clerkship in the same courthouse for 2013-14, and you are really interested in doing both, if s/he would be open to considering you for 2014-15. However, if not, you are still very interested and want to be considered for 2013-14, and you would like to know if the judge expects to be able to give you a decision by [date by which you have to respond to the magistrate judge.]

In other words: my advice is to work to keep the magistrate offer (if you receive it) open until you know what's happening with the district clerkship, but not to foreclose the possibility of a 2013-14 district clerkship based on the magistrate offer - especially when you may not know whether the district judge is even open to hiring for a year out. Again, this is one where reasonable people could disagree, and I'll be curious to see if you get different advice from others in this thread.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:15 pm

Thanks for helping me think through this. I think your advice is good, but would be anxious to hear if anyone thinks differently.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just got a D. Ct. clerkship for next year and contemplating not accepting my offer to my firm from this summer. Didn't love the experience and more importantly it doesn't have a great rep for my desired practice area. I have a couple questions and any advice or input would be greatly appreciated.

For those who went through a similar thought process, how did you decide whether or not to pull the trigger on switching firms? I know I didn't love my firm, but how bad does it have to be to go to another firm permanently w/o the benefit of a summer's worth of knowledge?

There are a lot of other considerations involved, but I'm also curious how much money that decision could cost me. Would a firm I didn't summer with still pay for bar prep, moving expenses, clerkship bonus, etc.? Also, is there a good source for comparing clerkship bonuses firm to firm?

Thanks.


The proper first step is to ask your judge how s/he prefers to handle firm offers. Some judges prefer that you ask the firm to close the offer and to re-extend the offer towards the end of your clerkship. Some judges allow you to have an open offer, but do not allow you to accept it. Some judges allow you to accept an offer, but not to accept any money or benefit from the firm. Finally, a some judges allow you to accept an offer and receive money from the firm prior to the clerkship, but the money cannot be a salary advance (these are considered loans).

The second step is to find out if your firm will allow you to accept/receive money, some will not.

If the firm will allow you to accept, then you need to decide whether or not you want to return there. If, as you say, you are sure that you do not want to return, then you should not accept the offer. You can ask them to leave the offer open. You can also consider trying to get a pre-clerkship SA if you want to try another firm.

I know this was asked in another thread, and to answer the question presented there - it is not ethical to accept an offer from a firm and receive money from them if you know that there is absolutely zero odds of you returning there. That's different, though, from changing your mind - this happens, and the most important thing to do if you accept and change your mind is to be honest with the prior firm and to talk to them well in advance of the start date.

-DoubleClerk



Not OP but thx for the very useful info. Any advice on how to approach other firms? Has anyone had the experience of having a firm they didn't summer w pay their bar expenses?


I'm considering a pre-clerkship summer associate position (shorter than a usual summer, approx. 5-6 weeks). For those of you who have taken the bar, would you recommend doing the summer program in May-June, or would that be too hard with the bar prep classes and everything?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hmm, it appears I am striking out for the second time. Looks like I am going to have to make a run at state court clerkships...I would have thought the CCN top 15% would have carried me, in view of the fact that I applied all over the country, oh well.
Sorry to hear that. I'm in the same position right now and I just struck out for the first time.

On a somewhat related note, what is the consensus on how important it is to have at least one publication to your name? Is being published a significant boost?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hmm, it appears I am striking out for the second time. Looks like I am going to have to make a run at state court clerkships...I would have thought the CCN top 15% would have carried me, in view of the fact that I applied all over the country, oh well.
Sorry to hear that. I'm in the same position right now and I just struck out for the first time.

On a somewhat related note, what is the consensus on how important it is to have at least one publication to your name? Is being published a significant boost?

scary... top 15% at ccn and you couldnt land any d. ct? did you have no faculty recs or journal experience?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hmm, it appears I am striking out for the second time. Looks like I am going to have to make a run at state court clerkships...I would have thought the CCN top 15% would have carried me, in view of the fact that I applied all over the country, oh well.
Sorry to hear that. I'm in the same position right now and I just struck out for the first time.

On a somewhat related note, what is the consensus on how important it is to have at least one publication to your name? Is being published a significant boost?

scary... top 15% at ccn and you couldnt land any d. ct? did you have no faculty recs or journal experience?


This happened to me too. Same stats, good faculty recs and journal. Applied only to competitive districts, and pretty much all CoA. The experience has shown me that this process is far harder than it appears. I know people with better stats than mine in a similar situation.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:44 pm

Any word on whether Nguyen (9th Cir.) has hired for 2013 or 2014?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ndirish2010 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:46 pm

For competitive districts, everyone is going to have stats like that so it really depends on whether the right profs called or the judge particularly liked something about your app. With those stats if you apply very broadly, you should get something. Though a lot of flyover judges don't like to hire people who have never been there before.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:12 pm

I am the CCN 15 above, I was on the board of a secondary and all my recommenders know me pretty well, so I doubt that was the problem. My plan going forward is to try yo snag an appellate level state clerkship in one of the states I have ties to and go from there.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby ClerkAnon » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm considering a pre-clerkship summer associate position (shorter than a usual summer, approx. 5-6 weeks). For those of you who have taken the bar, would you recommend doing the summer program in May-June, or would that be too hard with the bar prep classes and everything?


I worked (biglaw SA) throughout my pre-clerkship summer, except for two weeks for full-time California bar study. My firm expected me to work full-time days while I summered - not the "at least one hour of work per day" experience that someone else mentioned in this thread.

This was an excellent move financially. It increased my clerkship QOL and removed the stress from making my substantial loan payments on a JSP-11/1 salary. It was a punishing summer lifestyle, though, especially following a grueling final 3L semester that included an intense version of fed courts. On weekdays, I was working 8:30 or 9-5:30, taking Barbri from 6-10, and studying after that until between midnight-2 AM, depending on how long I could stay awake. On that schedule, I could only manage a small fraction of the Barbri paced program, and I went into the bar convinced I was going to need to retake it. Fortunately, that did not happen, but I went through a very stressful period waiting for results. In the years since, I've met other people who worked full-time and passed the California bar, and I've realized that it's objectively much more feasible to do than it felt to me during that summer.

For people in California: I'd recommend the experience to people who have a lot of energy and a lot of financial need; are comfortable with some degree of risk re: retaking; and have the stamina to put up with a more-stressful-than-average wait for results (you won't feel comfortable falling back on your school's high pass rate if you know you studied much less than most of your classmates.) It's doable, but very painful. I'd be more willing to recommend a clerkship summer to people in states with easier and shorter bar exams, or whose firms are willing to pay them to generate little work product and study close to full-time.

One other thing to consider: some firms will let their 2L summers return for three weeks or so after the bar, but before most clerkships start. (I did this, too.) For people who could benefit from an extra < 10K, but want to study for the bar uninterrupted, this is an option worth investigating.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:28 pm

When trying to switch firms, is it ideal to begin contacting firms now (clerkship secured) or to wait until you're nearing the end of the clerkship term? If contacting firms pre-clerkship, did firms ask you to wait until the clerkship was over? Do you just cold contact recruiters or did you focus on firms that you had interviewed w in the past? What is the pt for firms to "hire" you now without being able to evaluate your work when you won't begin for at least one year out?

Any advice appreciated.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:33 pm

ClerkAnon wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm considering a pre-clerkship summer associate position (shorter than a usual summer, approx. 5-6 weeks). For those of you who have taken the bar, would you recommend doing the summer program in May-June, or would that be too hard with the bar prep classes and everything?


I worked (biglaw SA) throughout my pre-clerkship summer, except for two weeks for full-time California bar study. My firm expected me to work full-time days while I summered - not the "at least one hour of work per day" experience that someone else mentioned in this thread.

This was an excellent move financially. It increased my clerkship QOL and removed the stress from making my substantial loan payments on a JSP-11/1 salary. It was a punishing summer lifestyle, though, especially following a grueling final 3L semester that included an intense version of fed courts. On weekdays, I was working 8:30 or 9-5:30, taking Barbri from 6-10, and studying after that until between midnight-2 AM, depending on how long I could stay awake. On that schedule, I could only manage a small fraction of the Barbri paced program, and I went into the bar convinced I was going to need to retake it. Fortunately, that did not happen, but I went through a very stressful period waiting for results. In the years since, I've met other people who worked full-time and passed the California bar, and I've realized that it's objectively much more feasible to do than it felt to me during that summer.

For people in California: I'd recommend the experience to people who have a lot of energy and a lot of financial need; are comfortable with some degree of risk re: retaking; and have the stamina to put up with a more-stressful-than-average wait for results (you won't feel comfortable falling back on your school's high pass rate if you know you studied much less than most of your classmates.) It's doable, but very painful. I'd be more willing to recommend a clerkship summer to people in states with easier and shorter bar exams, or whose firms are willing to pay them to generate little work product and study close to full-time.

One other thing to consider: some firms will let their 2L summers return for three weeks or so after the bar, but before most clerkships start. (I did this, too.) For people who could benefit from an extra < 10K, but want to study for the bar uninterrupted, this is an option worth investigating.

Did you receiver an offer at the end of your pre-clerkship SA? I posted a page or two back in this thread about this, but I'm beginning a two-year term in a D.Ct. next year and didn't have a 2L SA. So, while the money would be nice too, I'm mostly concerned about 1) finding a firm willing to do this, and 2) locking something up post-clerkship.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:30 am

So how would a clerkship in a weird place be viewed? Like Samoa? I think it would be cool to do for a year, but what does it do to job prospects? Help, hurt, neither?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:51 am

Any thought on the whether completing a bankruptcy clerkship makes someone more marketable for a district or circuit court clerkship the following year?

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any thought on the whether completing a bankruptcy clerkship makes someone more marketable for a district or circuit court clerkship the following year?


It might help marginally, but if you don't have the stats for a district court (decent grades HYS/good grades T14/amazing grades for the rest + LR and publication, ideally), you aren't going to magically jump to the top of the super competitive pile because you have a BK court clerkship. Now, if the bankruptcy judge knows a district court judge and is willing to make calls for you, that could get less-than-stellar stats overlooked. So I guess the answer is that it depends on the BK judge's connections and his/her willingness to make calls on your behalf. If your interest in getting a district court clerkship is to pursue big law, I think the same things apply....it is unlikely that you could jump into big law if your original stats put you way out of contention. The bankruptcy court clerkship could get mediocre stats overlooked if you were looking at a BK firm, though, like Hahn & Hessen.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:00 am

Following up on my question about whether a bankruptcy clerkship could help get a district court or circuit court clerkship the follwing year.

Stats are:

Top 50 school
Top 7%
Law Review but not published
Two Federal Judicial Externships (one district court, one Circuit)
Tons of public service pre-law school

Applied to about 250 judges, only one interview with bankruptcy so far. Was hoping that applying off plan with my credentials (hoping to crack into top 5% during 3L) and a bankruptcy clerkship could get the eye of a judge.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:13 am

Maybe we should create a template similar to the OCI one to post results from clerkship hiring.

Year: (3L, alumni, etc..)
School/Tier:
Grades:
LR?:
Published?:
SA position?:
Anything else we should know:
Number of Magistrate Applications:
Number of D. Ct. Applications:
Number of Circuit Applications:
Number of Specialty Court Applications:
Total interviews: (specify which type of court, general prestige level of districts)
Offer(s): Specify which type of court

I'll start


Year: 3L
School/Tier: T25
Grades: ~15%
LR?: Yes
Published?: Yes
SA position?: No
Anything else we should know: Had judicial internship 1L summer with state appellate judge.
Number of Magistrate Applications: ~50
Number of D. Ct. Applications: ~175
Number of Circuit Applications: ~ 25
Number of Specialty Court Applications: 0
Total interviews: 3 District interviews, one in flyover country, one in secondary western market, one in eastern non-flyover state, no super competitive districts and none that I had ties in
Offer(s): Took first District offer after my first interview, canceled the other 2.

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Re: 2012 Clerkship Application Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:02 pm

Year: 3L
School/Tier: 60s
Grades: Top 5%
LR?: Secondary Journal, E-Board
Published?: Yes
SA position?: DOJ SLIP
Anything else we should know: Second career student, significant public service background and a resume super-focused on immigration, an area of law that district courts very very very rarely see (only a few districts may have a case pending in that area). Circuit courts see immigration cases all the time.
Number of Magistrate Applications: 15
Number of D. Ct. Applications: 50
Number of Circuit Applications: 15
Number of Specialty Court Applications: 0 (unless you count federal administrative courts)
Total interviews: 1 magistrate court in city I want (larger mid-western city, not Chicago)
Offer(s): Do not have interview for another week or so




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