Should I do a clerkship?

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Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:39 pm

Lower T14, below median grades, V50 summer, no plus factors. I applied for clerkships on OSCAR as part of worrying I wouldn't get an offer from the firm, but then I did get an offer. The firm won't hold the offer and I'm wondering if it's worth turning down the firm for a federal COA or a top-market federal DC clerkship? I don't have unrealistic expectations that I'll land something on the 6th Cir. or SDNY, but have had enough weird things happen and know that judges have short turnaround times. My CSO said I shouldn't turn down the firm because my grades are bad enough that it would be hard getting another firm, even after a federal clerkship. On the other hand, I feel like every federal clerk I know has had awesome options and I wouldn't busting my ass to interview again. Thoughts?

anon168
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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby anon168 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14, below median grades, V50 summer, no plus factors. I applied for clerkships on OSCAR as part of worrying I wouldn't get an offer from the firm, but then I did get an offer. The firm won't hold the offer and I'm wondering if it's worth turning down the firm for a federal COA or a top-market federal DC clerkship? I don't have unrealistic expectations that I'll land something on the 6th Cir. or SDNY, but have had enough weird things happen and know that judges have short turnaround times. My CSO said I shouldn't turn down the firm because my grades are bad enough that it would be hard getting another firm, even after a federal clerkship. On the other hand, I feel like every federal clerk I know has had awesome options and I wouldn't busting my ass to interview again. Thoughts?


Accept the offer, apply for clerkships. If you get a clerkship offer, then worry about what to do at that point.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:50 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14, below median grades, V50 summer, no plus factors. I applied for clerkships on OSCAR as part of worrying I wouldn't get an offer from the firm, but then I did get an offer. The firm won't hold the offer and I'm wondering if it's worth turning down the firm for a federal COA or a top-market federal DC clerkship? I don't have unrealistic expectations that I'll land something on the 6th Cir. or SDNY, but have had enough weird things happen and know that judges have short turnaround times. My CSO said I shouldn't turn down the firm because my grades are bad enough that it would be hard getting another firm, even after a federal clerkship. On the other hand, I feel like every federal clerk I know has had awesome options and I wouldn't busting my ass to interview again. Thoughts?


Accept the offer, apply for clerkships. If you get a clerkship offer, then worry about what to do at that point.


I would be reneging on the offer then and the firm deadline isn't until after I know about the clerkships. The question is how I should handle it if I have a clerkship offer to interview and a firm offer that I know won't be extended for a clerkship.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby anon168 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14, below median grades, V50 summer, no plus factors. I applied for clerkships on OSCAR as part of worrying I wouldn't get an offer from the firm, but then I did get an offer. The firm won't hold the offer and I'm wondering if it's worth turning down the firm for a federal COA or a top-market federal DC clerkship? I don't have unrealistic expectations that I'll land something on the 6th Cir. or SDNY, but have had enough weird things happen and know that judges have short turnaround times. My CSO said I shouldn't turn down the firm because my grades are bad enough that it would be hard getting another firm, even after a federal clerkship. On the other hand, I feel like every federal clerk I know has had awesome options and I wouldn't busting my ass to interview again. Thoughts?


Accept the offer, apply for clerkships. If you get a clerkship offer, then worry about what to do at that point.


I would be reneging on the offer then and the firm deadline isn't until after I know about the clerkships. The question is how I should handle it if I have a clerkship offer to interview and a firm offer that I know won't be extended for a clerkship.


Worry about it when you get to that point. If you want to clerk, apply. You may not even get a clerkship offer, so all this worrying about it now is not only premature, but a waste of time.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:54 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14, below median grades, V50 summer, no plus factors. I applied for clerkships on OSCAR as part of worrying I wouldn't get an offer from the firm, but then I did get an offer. The firm won't hold the offer and I'm wondering if it's worth turning down the firm for a federal COA or a top-market federal DC clerkship? I don't have unrealistic expectations that I'll land something on the 6th Cir. or SDNY, but have had enough weird things happen and know that judges have short turnaround times. My CSO said I shouldn't turn down the firm because my grades are bad enough that it would be hard getting another firm, even after a federal clerkship. On the other hand, I feel like every federal clerk I know has had awesome options and I wouldn't busting my ass to interview again. Thoughts?


Accept the offer, apply for clerkships. If you get a clerkship offer, then worry about what to do at that point.


I would be reneging on the offer then and the firm deadline isn't until after I know about the clerkships. The question is how I should handle it if I have a clerkship offer to interview and a firm offer that I know won't be extended for a clerkship.


Worry about it when you get to that point. If you want to clerk, apply. You may not even get a clerkship offer, so all this worrying about it now is not only premature, but a waste of time.



Agreed. Worst case scenario is you turn down the clerkship offer. Best case scenario is the firm is open/encourages you to take the clerkship and then pays you more to come back afterwards.

I could definitely see some firms open to discussing taking the clerkship and then coming back to work for the firm.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:59 pm

I hate to be the buzzkill here, but below median lower T14 students are not getting COA or DDC/EDVa clerkships. My judge receives literally hundreds of applications with these stats, and they go in the trash. You could get lucky and snag one if you have a personal or professional connection to a judge or court, or if you have some truly outstanding "plus" factors, but you say you have none. I guess there's no harm in applying, but it would be a shocker if you landed something in a COA or DDC/EDVa. Not trying to be mean, just saying...

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14, below median grades, V50 summer, no plus factors. I applied for clerkships on OSCAR as part of worrying I wouldn't get an offer from the firm, but then I did get an offer. The firm won't hold the offer and I'm wondering if it's worth turning down the firm for a federal COA or a top-market federal DC clerkship? I don't have unrealistic expectations that I'll land something on the 6th Cir. or SDNY, but have had enough weird things happen and know that judges have short turnaround times. My CSO said I shouldn't turn down the firm because my grades are bad enough that it would be hard getting another firm, even after a federal clerkship. On the other hand, I feel like every federal clerk I know has had awesome options and I wouldn't busting my ass to interview again. Thoughts?


Odds of a federal COA or any sizeable market USDC clerkship are virtually 0. Further, odds at most magistrate judges or bankruptcy judges are virtually 0. I'm not aware of anyone in my courthouse who was median, let alone median. Further, I think that you would probably have problems applying for firms as a clerk. While every federal clerk you know has had awesome options, they probably had most of those options before clerking. Clerking is definitely a huge benefit, but those who get those awesome opportunities likely had them before the clerkship.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14, below median grades, V50 summer, no plus factors. I applied for clerkships on OSCAR as part of worrying I wouldn't get an offer from the firm, but then I did get an offer. The firm won't hold the offer and I'm wondering if it's worth turning down the firm for a federal COA or a top-market federal DC clerkship? I don't have unrealistic expectations that I'll land something on the 6th Cir. or SDNY, but have had enough weird things happen and know that judges have short turnaround times. My CSO said I shouldn't turn down the firm because my grades are bad enough that it would be hard getting another firm, even after a federal clerkship. On the other hand, I feel like every federal clerk I know has had awesome options and I wouldn't busting my ass to interview again. Thoughts?


I personally know students at Stanford who had above-median grades (where median is usually understood to be 1 "h" per quarter) who got turned down across the board for federal clerkships, extending beyond just COA and DC, but also to the Northern, Central, and Southern districts of CA (because who wants to work the Eastern district?). It's hard to believe, given their position, that someone with "below median" grades at a non-HYS institution is any kind of a "shoe in" for a COA or DC. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's certainly not something you should turn down an offer for.

If you were above median and published (are you? you didn't say), maybe risk it, but as it stands don't turn down a sure thing.

Additionally, if you were seriously willing to clerk in like, Kansas, I'd say go for it if that's what you really want, but it sounds like you want something super-prestigious and I just find it hard to believe that's going to happen.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:18 pm

Lower T14. I spoke with my CSO about clerking, and for federal appellate (2nd, 9th, 7th Cir.) and SDNY, students here need top 15%. Not sure about 6th Cir., but I expect that it's extremely tough to get as well.

You'd be taking a huge risk to turn down that offer with below median grades.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14. I spoke with my CSO about clerking, and for federal appellate (2nd, 9th, 7th Cir.) and SDNY, students here need top 15%. Not sure about 6th Cir., but I expect that it's extremely tough to get as well.

You'd be taking a huge risk to turn down that offer with below median grades.


I wouldn't turn down the firm unless I had a clerkship offer in hand. I've already gotten some competitive SSC and bankruptcy interviews from paper mailings, so I know my odds of COA are zero, but it's weird with the success I've had so far and I want to be ready to make a quick decision if an opportunity presents.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14. I spoke with my CSO about clerking, and for federal appellate (2nd, 9th, 7th Cir.) and SDNY, students here need top 15%. Not sure about 6th Cir., but I expect that it's extremely tough to get as well.

You'd be taking a huge risk to turn down that offer with below median grades.

Even this is incredibly optimistic. It would be surprising for a lower T14, Top 15% student to get a 2d or 7th Cir. clerkship without outstanding "plus" factors (EIC of LR, PhD, full-length publications, etc.).

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby thisbigolclub » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:31 pm

I know this is purely anecdotal, but I know someone who snagged a bankruptcy clerkship in a region to which he/she had zero ties and, to my knowledge, no personal connections, with the following stats: T30, outside top third of class, zero work experience, and no journal.

Moral of the story: doesn't hurt to give it a shot!

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:36 pm

thisbigolclub wrote:I know this is purely anecdotal, but I know someone who snagged a bankruptcy clerkship in a region to which he/she had zero ties and, to my knowledge, no personal connections, with the following stats: T30, outside top third of class, zero work experience, and no journal.

Moral of the story: doesn't hurt to give it a shot!


Right, but it does hurt to turn down your V50 offer for the extremely small chance you'll land a federal clerkship with below-median grades, which is what OP is considering.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
thisbigolclub wrote:I know this is purely anecdotal, but I know someone who snagged a bankruptcy clerkship in a region to which he/she had zero ties and, to my knowledge, no personal connections, with the following stats: T30, outside top third of class, zero work experience, and no journal.

Moral of the story: doesn't hurt to give it a shot!


Right, but it does hurt to turn down your V50 offer for the extremely small chance you'll land a federal clerkship with below-median grades, which is what OP is considering.


OP here. I wouldn't be turning down the V50 for the chance at a clerkship, I'd be turning it down AFTER I get the clerkship with the knowledge that the V50 wouldn't keep the offer open for me post-clerkship.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14. I spoke with my CSO about clerking, and for federal appellate (2nd, 9th, 7th Cir.) and SDNY, students here need top 15%. Not sure about 6th Cir., but I expect that it's extremely tough to get as well.

You'd be taking a huge risk to turn down that offer with below median grades.

Even this is incredibly optimistic. It would be surprising for a lower T14, Top 15% student to get a 2d or 7th Cir. clerkship without outstanding "plus" factors (EIC of LR, PhD, full-length publications, etc.).


Honestly, top 15% lower T14 is going to be an uphill battle for a major district even with 'plus factors.' The vast majority of COA clerks these days from the lower T14 are top 5%. At least at my lower T14, I can only think of 2 non-top 5% students getting a COA, and one of them was solidly top 10%.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
thisbigolclub wrote:I know this is purely anecdotal, but I know someone who snagged a bankruptcy clerkship in a region to which he/she had zero ties and, to my knowledge, no personal connections, with the following stats: T30, outside top third of class, zero work experience, and no journal.

Moral of the story: doesn't hurt to give it a shot!


Right, but it does hurt to turn down your V50 offer for the extremely small chance you'll land a federal clerkship with below-median grades, which is what OP is considering.


OP here. I wouldn't be turning down the V50 for the chance at a clerkship, I'd be turning it down AFTER I get the clerkship with the knowledge that the V50 wouldn't keep the offer open for me post-clerkship.


I'm not sure that this is a good idea. Usually, I'd recommend clerking to anyone who's interested in litigation, but I'm not sure if it'd be the best thing for you. If your V50 doesn't give you an offer post-clerkship, you might have an uphill battle getting a biglaw gig. While a clerkship is a huge plus, it's a bit of a stretch for firms that don't otherwise dip below median at your school to hire from below median, even after a clerkship. You would probably be better served going to your firm for 2-3 years and then applying for clerkships. You would have far higher odds at success (though they would still be slim) and you would be in a better position for finding a job post clerkship.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14. I spoke with my CSO about clerking, and for federal appellate (2nd, 9th, 7th Cir.) and SDNY, students here need top 15%. Not sure about 6th Cir., but I expect that it's extremely tough to get as well.

You'd be taking a huge risk to turn down that offer with below median grades.

Even this is incredibly optimistic. It would be surprising for a lower T14, Top 15% student to get a 2d or 7th Cir. clerkship without outstanding "plus" factors (EIC of LR, PhD, full-length publications, etc.).


NOT OP. Does a PhD help much with applications? I'm applying next cycle with District Ct. level grades (for my HYS school) but I have a PhD + some items that come along with it.

My guess was that judges will vary on how/whether they credit the degree so I should apply widely. If you know of any PhDs who seemed to get a boost I'd be interested in hearing about it.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14. I spoke with my CSO about clerking, and for federal appellate (2nd, 9th, 7th Cir.) and SDNY, students here need top 15%. Not sure about 6th Cir., but I expect that it's extremely tough to get as well.

You'd be taking a huge risk to turn down that offer with below median grades.

Even this is incredibly optimistic. It would be surprising for a lower T14, Top 15% student to get a 2d or 7th Cir. clerkship without outstanding "plus" factors (EIC of LR, PhD, full-length publications, etc.).


NOT OP. Does a PhD help much with applications? I'm applying next cycle with District Ct. level grades (for my HYS school) but I have a PhD + some items that come along with it.

My guess was that judges will vary on how/whether they credit the degree so I should apply widely. If you know of any PhDs who seemed to get a boost I'd be interested in hearing about it.

The boost for PhDs is idiosyncratic and based largely on the interests of the individual judges. There are a group of judges who love clerks who intend to become academics, so if your PhD is in an interdisciplinary "law & X" field it would help with them. There are lots of (particularly D.Ct.) judges who look for clerks with science backgrounds to help on patent cases, etc. It's hard to say that it will get you a boost among judge Y or judge Z, or that it will even be a boost across the board, but it will certainly get you some looks that you wouldn't otherwise get.

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Re: Should I do a clerkship?

Postby anon168 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Lower T14. I spoke with my CSO about clerking, and for federal appellate (2nd, 9th, 7th Cir.) and SDNY, students here need top 15%. Not sure about 6th Cir., but I expect that it's extremely tough to get as well.

You'd be taking a huge risk to turn down that offer with below median grades.

Even this is incredibly optimistic. It would be surprising for a lower T14, Top 15% student to get a 2d or 7th Cir. clerkship without outstanding "plus" factors (EIC of LR, PhD, full-length publications, etc.).


NOT OP. Does a PhD help much with applications? I'm applying next cycle with District Ct. level grades (for my HYS school) but I have a PhD + some items that come along with it.

My guess was that judges will vary on how/whether they credit the degree so I should apply widely. If you know of any PhDs who seemed to get a boost I'd be interested in hearing about it.


One of my judges sort of cared. The other one not all. So it just depends. It certainly can't hurt.




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